|Professor in the Department of Anthropology||+44 (0) 191 33 41631|
|Member of the Durham Cultural Evolution Research Centre|
|Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing||+44 (0) 191 33 41631|
My research focuses on how culture evolves as it gets transmitted from person to person and from generation to generation. I am interested in understanding what makes some things catch on, others die out, and how these processes shape patterns of cultural diversity within and across populations. I was trained in social anthropology at the London School of Economics and gained a Master's degree in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College London. I remained at UCL to study for a PhD in Anthropology (2005), writing my thesis on the transmission of craft traditions in Iranian tribal groups. In 2006 I took up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD) at University College London, before joining Durham in 2007 as a RCUK Fellow. I was appointed as a Lecturer in Anthropology at Durham in 2012 and made a Chair in 2020. My current work focuses mainly on the transmission of popular narratives, such as traditional folktales, urban legends and modern day conspiracy theories.
- Cultural evolution
- Phylogenetic analysis of culture
- Social learning
- Cognitive anthropology
- Oral traditions
- Fairy tales
Available for media contact about:
- Anthropology: The evolution of cultural diversity
- Anthropology: Cultural transmission
- Anthropology: The evolution of fairy tales and folk stories
- Anthropology: History of anthropological thought
- Tehrani, J. J. & Carrithers, M. (2015). Perspectives on the intersection of biology and society. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 21(2): 470–472.
Chapter in book
- Tehrani, Jamshid J. (2020). Descent with Imagination: Oral Traditions as Evolutionary Lineages. In Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture. Carroll, J., Clasen, M. & Jonsson, E. Springer. 273-289.
- Tehrani, J. J. & d'Huy, J. (2017). Phylogenetics meets folklore: bioinformatics approaches to the study of international folktales. In Maths Meets Myths: Quantitative Approaches to Ancient Narratives. Kenna, R., McCarron, M. & McCarron, P. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. 91-114.
- Tehrani, J. & Collard, M. (2013). Do Transmission Isolating Mechanisms (TRIMS) influence cultural evolution? Evidence from patterns of textile diversity within and between Iranian tribal groups. In Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology: A Critical Synthesis. Ellen, R., Lycett, S. & Johns, S. Berghahn. 26: 148-164.
- Tehrani, J. (2011). Missing links: species, artefacts and the cladistic reconstruction of prehistory. In Evolutionary and Interpretive Archaeologies - A Dialogue. Cochrane, E. & Gardner, A. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. 245 - 263.
- Tehrani, J. & Layton, R. (2009). Genes versus culture. In Thinking About Almost Everything. Amin, A. & O'Neill, M. Profile Books. 54 - 57.
- Tehrani, J. & Collard, M. (2009). The evolution of material culture diversity among Iranian tribal populations. In Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution. Shennan, S. University of California Press. 99-111.
- Collard, M., Shennan, S. & Tehrani, J. (2006). Branching versus blending in macroscale cultural evolution: a comparative study. In Mapping Our Ancestors. Lipo, C., O'Brien, M., Collard, M. & Shennan, S. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction. 53-63.
- Collard, M. & Tehrani, J. (2005). Phylogenesis versus ethnogenesis in Turkmen cultural evolution. In The Evolution of Cultural Diversity: A Phylogenetic Approach. Mace, R., Holden, C. & Shennan, S. London: UCL Press. 109-132.
- Tehrani, J.J. (2018). Cultural Evolution Research Collection. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.
- Kendal, J., Tehrani, J. & Odling-Smee, J. (2011). Human Niche Construction. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 366 (1566).
- Matthews, L. J., Sarah Nowak, S., Gidengil, C., Chen, C., Stubbersfield, J., Tehrani, J. J. & Parker, A. M. (2022). Belief correlations with parental vaccine hesitancy: results from a national survey. American Anthropologist
- Stubbersfield, Joseph M., Widger, Tom, Russell, Andrew J. & Tehrani, Jamshid J. (2021). The HCT Index: a typology and index of health conspiracy theories with examples of use. Wellcome Open Research 6: 196.
- Sykes, Naomi, Beirne, Piers, Horowitz, Alexandra, Jones, Ione, Kalof, Linda, Karlsson, Elinor, King, Tammie, Litwak, Howard, McDonald, Robbie A., Murphy, Luke John, Pemberton, Neil, Promislow, Daniel, Rowan, Andrew, Stahl, Peter W., Tehrani, Jamshid, Tourigny, Eric, Wynne, Clive D. L., Strauss, Eric & Larson, Greger (2020). Humanity’s Best Friend: A Dog-Centric Approach to Addressing Global Challenges. Animals 10(3): 502.
- Jiménez, Ángel V. Mesoudi, Alex & Tehrani, Jamshid J. (2020). No Evidence that Omission and Confirmation Biases Affect the Perception and Recall of Vaccine-related Information. PLoS ONE 15(3): e0228898.
- Scanlon, Lauren, Lobb, Andrew, Tehrani, Jamshid J. & Kendal, Jeremy R. (2019). Unknotting the interactive effects of learning processes on cultural evolutionary dynamics. Evolutionary Human Sciences 1: e17.
- Granito, C., Tehrani, J., Kendal, J. & Scott-Phillips, T. (2019). Style of pictorial representation is shaped by intergroup contact. Evolutionary Human Sciences 1: e8.
- Stubbersfield, Joseph, Tehrani, Jamshid & Flynn, Emma (2018). Faking the News: Intentional Guided Variation Reflects Cognitive Biases in Transmission Chains Without Recall. Cultural Science Journal 10(1): 54-65.
- Jiménez, Ángel V., Stubbersfield, Joseph M. & Tehrani, Jamshid J. (2018). An experimental investigation into the transmission of antivax attitudes using a fictional health controversy. Social Science & Medicine 215: 23-27.
- Acerbi, A. & Tehrani, J. (2018). Did Einstein Really Say that? Testing Content Versus Context in the Cultural Selection of Quotations. Journal of Cognition and Culture 18(3-4): 293-311.
- Bortolini, Eugenio, Pagani, Luca, Crema, Enrico R., Sarno, Stefania, Barbieri, Chiara, Boattini, Alessio, Sazzini, Marco, da Silva, Sara Graça, Martini, Gessica, Metspalu, Mait, Pettener, Davide, Luiselli, Donata & Tehrani, Jamshid J. (2017). Inferring patterns of folktale diffusion using genomic data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(34): 9140-9145.
- Stubbersfield, J., Flynn, E. & Tehrani, J. (2017). Cognitive Evolution and the Transmission of Popular Narratives: A Literature Review and Application to Urban Legends. Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture 1(1): 121-136.
- Acerbi, A., Kendal, J. & Tehrani, J.J. (2017). Cultural complexity and demography: The case of folktales. Evolution and Human Behavior 38(4): 474-480.
- Stubbersfield, J., Tehrani, J. & Flynn, E. (2017). Chicken tumours and fishy revenge: Evidence for emotional content bias in the cumulative recall of urban legends. Journal of Cognition and Culture 17(1-2): 12-26.
- Graça da Silva, S. & Tehrani, J. J. (2016). Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales. Royal Society Open Science 3(1): 150645.
- Tehrani, J. J., Nguyen, Q. & Roos, T. (2016). Oral Fairy Tale or Literary Fake? Investigating the Origins of Little Red Riding Hood Using Phylogenetic Network Analysis. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 31(3): 611-636.
- Stubbersfield, J.M., Tehrani, J.J. & Flynn, E.G. (2015). Serial killers, spiders and cybersex social and survival information bias in the transmission of urban legends. British Journal of Psychology 106(2): 288-307.
- Stubbersfield, J. & Tehrani, J. (2013). Expect the Unexpected? Testing for Minimally Counterintuitive (MCI) Bias in the Transmission of Contemporary Legends: A Computational Phylogenetic Approach. Social Science Computer Review 31(1): 90-102.
- Tehrani, J.J. (2013). The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood. PLoS ONE 8(11): e78871.
- Larson, G., Stephens, P.A., Tehrani, J. & Layton, R.H. (2013). Exapting exaptation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28(9): 497-498.
- Layton, R., Tehrani, J., Tian, Y., Du, X. & Yi, G. (2012). The transmission of culture in weaving and woodblock printing, Shandong Province. Humanities and Social Sciences Journal of Jiangnan University 5: 93-99.
- Matthews, L. J., Tehrani, J. J., Jordan, F. M., Collard, M. & Nunn, C.L. (2011). Testing for divergent transmission histories among cultural characters: a study using Bayesian phylogenetic methods and Iranian tribal textile data. PLoS One 6(4): e14810.
- Kendal, J.R., Tehrani, J.J. & Odling-Smee, J. (2011). Human Niche Construction in Interdisciplinary Focus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences 366(1566): 785-792.
- Tehrani, J. (2011). Patterns of evolution in Iranian tribal textiles. Evolution: Education and Outreach 4(3): 390-396.
- Tehrani, J.J., Collard, M. & Shennan, S.J. (2010). The cophylogeny of populations and cultures: reconstructing the evolution of Iranian tribal craft traditions using trees and jungles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365(1559): 3865-3874.
- Tehrani, J. J. (2010). The past and future of the evolutionary taxonomy of cultures. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 8(2): 169-182.
- Bentley, R.A., R.L. Layton & J. Tehrani (2009). Kinship, marriage, and the genetics of past human dispersals. Human Biology 81(2-3): 159-179.
- Tehrani, J. & Collard, M. (2009). On the relationship between interindividual cultural transmission and population-level cultural diversity: a case study of weaving in Iranian tribal populations. Evolution and Human Behavior 30(4): 286–300.e2.
- Tehrani, J. J., Bentley, R. A. & O'Brien, M. J. (2008). Language is nothing special: Response to "Across the curious parallel of language and species evolution" by J. Whitfield. PLoS Biology 6(e186).
- Tehrani, J. & Riede, F. (2008). Towards an archaeology of pedagogy: learning, teaching and the generation of material culture traditions. World Archaeology 40(3): 316-331.
- Collard, M, Shennan, SJ & Tehrani, JJ (2006). Branching, blending, and the evolution of cultural similarities and differences among human populations. Evolution And Human Behavior 27(3): 169-184.
- Tehrani, J. (2006). The role of ethnography in the science of cultural evolution (Comment on Mesoudi, Whiten and Laland). Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29: 363-364.
- Tehrani, J. & Collard, M. (2002). Investigating cultural evolution through biological phylogenetic analyses of Turkmen textiles. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 21(4): 443-463.
- Tehrani, J. (2013). Viewpoint: Did our brains evolve to foolishly follow celebrities? BBC News Magazine
- Tehrani, J.J. (2013). As they spread, folktales evolve like biological species. The Conversation