My research is on the foundations of cultural evolution. Theories in cultural evolution seek to explain behaviors that we learn from others. Examples include social norms, natural languages, moral codes, religions, scientific practices, technological innovations, and other behaviors central to human societies. Although this is a vast and thriving field, many conceptual, theoretical, and methodological questions in cultural evolution remain open. The primary goal of my research is thus to address these issues, with a special focus on the behavior of epistemic communities [4], the evolution of communication [3, 6, 7], and the evolution of cooperative behaviors [5, 8]. I approach these questions with an interdisciplinary set of methods, ranging from conceptual analysis and mathematical models to computer simulations and data-driven techniques. In a previous life, I worked at a mycology lab and thought hard about the philosophy of microbiology [1, 2]. 

Publications:

[8] Ventura, R. & Akçay, E. (forthcoming). A Cognitive-Evolutionary Model for the Evolution of Teaching. Journal of Theoretical Biology. [herepreprint]

[7] Ventura, R., Plotkin, J. B., & Roberts, G. (2021). Regularization of nouns due to drift, not selection: An artificial-language experiment. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society 43. [herepreprint]

 

[6] Ventura, R. (2021). Signaling in an Unknown World. Erkenntnis, 1-21. [here]

 

[5] Ventura, R. (2019). The Evolution of Cooperation in Finite Populations with Synergistic Payoffs. Biology & Philosophy, 34(4): 43. [here]

 

[4] Ventura, R. (2019). Quantitative Methods in Philosophy of Language. Philosophy Compass, 14: e12609.  [here]

 

[3] Ventura, R. (2019). Ambiguous Signals, Partial Beliefs, and Propositional Content. Synthese, 196(7): 2803-2820. [here]

 

[2] Ventura, R. (2019). Multicellular Individuality: The Case of Bacteria. Biological Theory, 14(2): 131-140. [here]

 

[1] Bonito, G., Hameed, K., Krishnan, J., Ventura, R., Schadt, C., and Vilgalys, R. (2016). Isolating a functionally relevant guild of fungi from the root microbiome of Populus. Fungal Ecology, 22: 35-42. [here]