|Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology||+44 (0) 191 33 41630|
|DRMC Co-Director (Research & Professional Development) in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health|
|Co-Director (Research & Professional Development) in the Durham Research Methods Centre|
|Member of the Durham Cultural Evolution Research Centre|
|Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study|
BSc (Hons) in Biology, University of Nottingham (1997)
MSc in Biological Computation, University of York (1998).
PhD entitled Social Learning: Mechanisms, Functions and Evolutionary Consequences (2003), Sub-Dept. of Animal Behaviour, Dept. of Zoology, University of Cambridge, supervised by Kevin Laland.
Postdoc, Feldman lab, Stanford University (2003-5), developing mathematical models of cultural evolution in humans.
Postdoc, Laland Lab, University of St. Andrews (2005-7), using behaviour experiments and mathematical models to investigate the evolution of social learning strategies.
RCUK Research Fellowship, Durham University (2007-12).
Assistant Prof. (2012-14) then Associate Prof. (2014-).
My research concerns the development of cultural evolutionary theory and social science research methods. Most of my research involves cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Details of recent and new research projects will be added here soon!
I teach modules concerning: evolutionary approaches to the study of culture; scientific methods; statistics. I supervise a wide range of final-year research dissertations, most relating to the field of cultural evolution.
In 2022-23, I'll be running a new module, Simulating Data in R.
I supervise projects that relate data science methods to cultural evolution theory. The following is an indicative list of topics that can be tailored to the student's interests - contact me if you'd like to find out more:
- Examining cultural etymology and over/under-specificity of assumptions used in machine learning algorithms
- The cultural evolution of problem solving and causal understanding in variable environments: a comparison of human and machine learning systems.
- The effects of antibiotic prescribing practices (published data) on resistant strain evolution.
- The coevolution of machine-learned and human-learned classification of objects and people: implications for social inequality and the construction of group identity
- Scraping online text and examining the coevolution of conceptual metaphor and zeitgeist
- The evolution of online symbols and slang
- Using citation data to examine the ecology and evolution of academic disciplines
- The evolution of social norms in gaming communities
- The online proliferation of misinformation
- Identifying factors affecting human disease emergence by training machine learning algorithms on published texts.
In 2022-23, I'm offering the following research projects. These projects can also be developed as part of a PhD proposal. Prospective students are welcome to contact me to discuss these ideas.
The Cultural Evolution of Training Strategies among Elite Athletes
Athletics/track-and-field is typically an individual-based sport with only one race winner, yet training to race is often a collective activity involving cooperation between potential race competitors. The stakes for winning and loosing are particularly high for elite athletes from low-income countries capable of running close to the current limits of human performance. Serving as a case study to examine the evolution of cooperative norms, this project will integrate ethnographic reports of training strategies among groups of Ethiopian elite athletes with game theory and cultural evolution modelling to explore how normative training roles evolve. The student does not necessarily require computer programming or mathematical modelling experience, but they must have quantitative methods training and be motivated to learn how to write computer simulations and conduct qualitative text analysis. This project will suit a student who is keen to engage in interdisciplinary research, engaging with literature from social and evolutionary anthropology as well as sport science.
Supervisors: Jeremy Kendal & Mike Crawley
The Cultural Evolution of Climbing Grades
Following the recent summer Olympics, climbing is undergoing a massive increase in popularity and commercialisationthat will likely lead to homogenization of practices and standards. Over the past century, climbing as a past-time or sport has evolved independently across different regions of the world, including a wide range of climbing styles, carried out on a variety of surfaces and using distinct local grading systems that indicate properties of the climb such as difficulty. Grading a climb is typically a subjective and iterative process that often involves consensus being reached within the climbing community. Serving as a case study to examine the evolution of quantitative scales, this project will examine how grading systems and perceptions of climbing grades evolve within the socio-material environments inhabited by climbers. The project can combine a range of methods from interviews to experiments and simulation modelling. Prior experience in all these areas is not expected, but some background in quantitative analysis is essential as well as enthusiasm to learn new methods and conduct research in an interdisciplinary context.
Supervisors: Jeremy Kendal & Amanda Tan
Evolving Memory Representations
Following the cross-disciplinary Representing Memory project at the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham, this project will take up one line of enquiry investigating the cultural evolution of memory representations. The project concerns 4E cognition (embodied, embedded, enacted, extended cognition) and will use transmission chain experiments developed in the field of cultural evolution to investigate how graphical, oral and embodied forms of memory representation for navigation tasks co-evolve over cycles of social transmission. The experiments will be conducted in the field, locally in the Durham area, and will be analysed using both qualitative and statistical techniques. The student must be competent at statistical analysis and be keen to learn both quantitative and qualitative methods.
- Social transmission and population dynamics
Available for media contact about:
- Evolution: Social Learning - examining how animals and humans learn from one another.
- Evolution: niche construction - examining the evolutionary consequences of organisms modifying their environment
- Evolution: gene-culture coevolution - examining the interaction between the evolution of genetic traits and cultural traits.
- Evolution: Cultural evolution - examining the spread of cultural traits.
Chapter in book
- Kendal, Jeremy (2017). Foreword. In The Evolution of Human Wisdom. Deane-Drummond, Celia & Fuentes, Agustín Lanham: Lexington Books. vii.
- Kendal, J.R. & Walters, C. (2015). Cultural Evolution, Gene–Culture Coevolution, and Human Health: an Introduction to Modelling Approaches. In Tipping Points: Modelling Social Problems and Health. Bissell, J., Caiado, C., Curtis, S., Goldstein, M. & Straughan, B. Wiley. 146-167.
- Kendal, J.R. (2015). Gene-Culture Coevolution. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Wright, J.D. Oxford: Elsevier. 9: 813-818.
- Kendal, J.R. (2013). Gene-culture Coevolution. In Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. McGee, J. & Warms, R. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. 7: 316-319.
- Kendal, J.R. (2011). Interactions between cognition and culture. In Evolutionary Psychology: a critical introduction. Swami, V. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 311-342.
- Laland, K.N., Kendal, J.R. & Kendal, R.L. (2009). Animal culture: problems and solutions. In The Question of Animal Culture. Laland, K.N. & Galef, B.G. Jr. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
- Laland, K.N. & Kendal, J.R. (2003). What the models say about animal social learning. In The Biology of Traditions. Fragaszy, D.M. & Perry, S. Chicago University Press. 33-55.
- Street, Sally, Eerola, Tuomas & Kendal, Jeremy (2022). The role of population size in folk tune complexity. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9: 152.
- Watson, Robin, Morgan, Thomas J. H., Kendal, Rachel L., Van de Vyver, Julie & Kendal, Jeremy (2021). Social learning strategies and cooperative behaviour: Evidence of payoff bias, but not prestige or conformity, in a social dilemma game. Games 12(4): 89.
- 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.
- Offord, M., Gill, R. & Kendal, J. (2019). The Effects of Prestige on Collective Performance and Information Flow in a Strictly Hierarchical Institution. Palgrave Communications 5(1): 4.
- Vale, Gillian, Flynn, Emma G., Kendal Jeremy R., Rawlings, Bruce, Hopper Lydia M., Schapiro Steven J., Lambeth Susan P. & Kendal Rachel L. (2017). Testing differential use of payoff-biased social learning strategies in children and chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1868): 20171751.
- Rudman, H., Bailey-Ross, C., Kendal, J., Mursic, Z., Lloyd, A., Ross, B. & Kendal, R.L. (2018). Multidisciplinary exhibit design in a Science Centre: a participatory action research approach. Educational Action Research 26(4): 567-588.
- Acerbi, A., Kendal, J. & Tehrani, J.J. (2017). Cultural complexity and demography: The case of folktales. Evolution and Human Behavior 38(4): 474-480.
- Skrebyte, A., Garnett, P. & Kendal, J.R. (2016). Temporal Relationships Between Individualism–Collectivism and the Economy in Soviet Russia: A Word Frequency Analysis Using the Google Ngram Corpus. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 47(9): 1217-1235.
- Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Mursic, Z., Bailey-Ross, C., Rudman, H., Lloyd, A. & Ross, B. (2016). Designing for creativity and innovation in informal science learning. Informal Learning Review (137): 20-24.
- Offord, M., Gill, R. & Kendal, J.R. (2016). Leadership between decks: a synthesis and development of engagement and resistance theories of leadership based on evidence from practice in Royal Navy warships. Leadership & Organization Development Journal 37(2): 289-304.
- Attwell, L., Kovarovic, K. & Kendal, J.R. (2015). Fire in the Plio-Pleistocene: The functions of hominin fire use, and the mechanistic, developmental and evolutionary consequences. Journal of Anthropological Sciences 93: 1-20.
- Walters, C.E., Straughan, B. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). Modelling alcohol problems: Total recovery. Ricerche di Matematica 62(1): 33-53.
- Flynn, E.G., Laland, K.N., Kendal, R.L. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). Developmental niche construction. Developmental Science 16(2): 296-313.
- Walters, C.E. & Kendal, J.R. (2013). An SIS model for cultural trait transmission with conformity bias. Theoretical Population Biology 90: 56-63.
- Kendal, J.R. (2012). Comment concerning cumulative cultural evolution, on M. O'Brien and K.N. Laland 'Genes, culture and agriculture: an example of human niche construction'. Current Anthropology 53(4): 434-470.
- 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.
- Setchell, J.M., Kendal, J.R. & Tyniec, P. (2011). Do non-human primates synchronise their menstrual cycles? A test in mandrills. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36(1): 51-59.
- Kendal, J.R. (2011). Cultural niche construction and human learning environments: investigating socio-cultural perspectives. Biological Theory 6(3): 241-250.
- Hoppitt, W.J.E., Kandler, A., Kendal J.R. & Laland K.N. (2010). The effect of task structure on diffusion dynamics: Implications for diffusion curve and network-based analyses. Learning and Behavior 38(3): 243-251.
- Pike, T.W., Kendal, J.R., Rendell, L.E. & Laland, K.N. (2010). Learning by proportional observation in a species of fish. Behavioral Ecology 21: 570-575.
- Kendal, R.L., Custance, D., Kendal, J.R., Vale, G., Stoinski, T., Rakotomalala, N.I. & Rasaminanana, H. (2010). Evidence for social learning in wild lemurs (Lemur catta). Learning & Behavior 38(3): 220-234.
- Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Hoppitt, W. & Laland, K.N. (2009). Identifying Social Learning in Animal Populations: A New ‘Option-Bias’ Method. PLoS ONE 4(8): e6541.
- Tanaka, M.M., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2009). From Traditional Medicine to Witchcraft: Why Medical Treatments Are Not Always Efficacious. PLoS ONE 4(4): e5192, 1-9.
- Kendal, J.R., Rendell, L., Pike, T.W. & Laland, K.N. (2009). Nine-spined sticklebacks deploy a hill-climbing social learning strategy. Behavioral Ecology 20(2): 238-244.
- Kendal, J.R., Giraldeau, L-A. & Laland, K.N. (2009). The evolution of social learning rules: Payoff-biased and frequency-dependent biased transmission. Journal of Theoretical Biology 260(2): 210-219.
- Kendal, J.R. (2008). Modelling social learning in monkeys. Behavioral Analyst Today 9(1): 50-56.
- Rendell, L., Hoppitt, W. & Kendal, J.R. (2008). Commentary: Is all learning innovation? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30(4): 421-422.
- Stanley, E.L., Kendal, R.L., Kendal, J.R., Grounds, S. & Laland, K.N. (2008). Factors affecting the stability of foraging traditions in fishes. Animal Behaviour 75: 565-572.
- Laland, K.N., Odling-Smee, J., Feldman, M.W. & Kendal, J.R. (2008). Conceptual Barriers to Progress Within Evolutionary Biology. Foundations of Science
- Kendal, J.R., Kendal, R.L. & Laland, K.N. (2007). Erratum to Quantifying and modelling social learning processes in Monkey Populations. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy 8(1).
- Day, R.L., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2001). Validating cultural transmission in Cetaceans. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24(2): 330-331.
- Laland, K.N. Kendal, J.R. & Brown, G. (2007). The niche construction perspective: implications for human behaviour. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 5(1-4): 51-66.
- Kendal, J.R., Kendal, R.L. & Laland, K.N. (2007). Quantifying and modeling social learning processes in monkey populations. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy 7(2): 123-138.
- Kendal, J.R. (2006). Review of "Social Learning and Imitation": Volume 32(1), 2004, of Learning and Behavior. Interaction Studies 7: 273-288.
- Borenstein, E., Kendal, J. & Feldman, M. (2006). Cultural Niche Construction in a metapopulation. Theoretical Population Biology 70(1): 92-104.
- Kendal, J., Feldman, M.W. & Aoki, K. (2006). Cultural coevolution of norm adoption and enforcement when punishers are rewarded or non-punishers are punished. Theoretical Population Biology 70(1): 10-25.
- Day, R.L., Coe, R.L., Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2003). Neophilia, innovation and social learning: A study of intergeneric differences in Callitrichid monkeys. Animal Behaviour 65: 559-571.
- Reader, S.M. Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2003). Social learning through local enhancement in wild guppy fish in Trinidad. Animal Behaviour 66: 729-739.
- Swaney, W. Kendal, J.R. Capon, H. Brown, C. & Laland, K.N. (2001). Familiarity facilitates social learning of foraging behaviour in the guppy. Animal Behaviour 62: 591-598.
- Kendal, J.R. & Laland, K.N. (2000). Mathematical models for memetics. Journal of Memetics 4: 0.
- Kendal, J.R., Tehrani, J.J. & Kendal, R.L. (2009). The Evolution of Human Behaviour. Learning and Skills Network.