The lecture by Helena Miton, CEU, SFI will take place at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna.
If you are interested in participating, please email to email@example.com
A cultural evolution framework can be used to understand the spread of medical beliefs and practices and open new avenues of research on those topics. Integrating knowledge from cognitive science to cultural evolutionary models can be used to understand the spread and evolution of health-related practices. I illustrate this point through two examples: bloodletting and resistance to pro-vaccination beliefs. Those two cases illustrate what can go wrong with medical beliefs, and public health. Bloodletting is an inefficient, even dangerous, practice, which nevertheless enjoyed an impressive cultural success. We investigated bloodletting’s success using a combination of anthropological, experimental and modeling data. Vaccination is an efficient practice that faces hostile reactions, as a result of which why vaccination rates are not as high as they should be. These reactions are best understood as the combination of several cognitive mechanisms rendering pro-vaccination beliefs counter-intuitive.