Susan Blackmore on Memes and Temes (Video)

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is probably the best idea that anybody has ever had.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is probably the best idea that anybody has ever had. Darwin’s idea is not just applicable to biology, though, it also applies to culture.

The application of natural selection to culture has been called ‘memetics’. This is the theory that, like living things, ideas – or ‘memes’ – naturally vary and that (generally) the ‘fittest’ ideas survive and are replicated across generations.


Neuroscientist Susan Blackmore, who has studied memetics, introduces a new type of meme which she calls the ‘teme’: the technological meme. Technology, through temes, she argues, is now driving us forward, whether we like it or not.

In this talk Blackmore uses the idea of the ‘teme’ to pose some interesting questions. She asks whether there are other lifeforms out there in the universe and also whether humanity will survive the arrival of the ‘temes’.


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Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

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Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.