Miss Elena Miu

Postgraduate Student

Harold Mitchell Top Floor
tel. 01334 463500

My main interests include social learning, cultural transmission, and cumulative cultural evolution. I have a background in linguistics and artificial intelligence, and I am currently part of a large collaborative project between the School of Biology and the School of Psychology, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. I am working on my PhD project on cumulative culture in humans.

More specifically, I am looking at a large-scale dataset collected over a 15 year period as part of a collaborative programming competition organised by MathWorks. Once an entry is submitted it becomes public and available for use by any other participant, so participants could submit a novel solution, modify an existing one, or submit any combination thereof. Each contest produces a collection of code artefacts that evolve over time through gradual modifications by multiple individuals. These are microcosms of cumulative culture and present a wonderful opportunity to study such an elaborate phenomenon in a dataset that allows for objective quantification, while capturing most of the real-life complexities of cumulative culture.



Miu, E, Gulley, N, Laland, KN & Rendell, L 2018, 'Innovation and cumulative culture through tweaks and leaps in online programming contests' Nature Communications, vol. 9, 2321. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04494-0
Miss Elena Miu
Harold Mitchell Building
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9TH

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