Smartness without Insight: Cultural Intelligence Hypothesis and Its Limits

Petr Matějíček



Humans are remarkably adaptable, and therefore a successful species. There are many speculative answers to the question of why this is so. One of them represents the cultural intelligence hypothesis, which consid-ers cultural learning skills as the key to human success. This work aims to present the hypothesis of cultural intelligence as a viable alternative to more conventional approaches within the debate about the origin of human intelligence, such as the hypothesis of general and improvisational intelligence. Theirmutual comparison shows that cultural intelligence hypothesis must necessarily work with flexible social learning strategies to describe cultural transmission, thus losing part of its explanatory power. As the theory of metacognitive strategies of social learning by cognitive psychologist Cecilia Heyes shows, there is a way to combine the flexibility of human reasoning with the “stupid” process of cultural selection.


culture; intelligence; evolution; social learning; innovation; collective brain; Cecilia Heyes

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