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2. A Brief History of Wayfinding > 2.7. The Baldwin Effect

The Baldwin Effect

At the dawn of the 20th century, James Mark Baldwin, a pioneering developmental psychologist, began a line of inquiry into the coevolution of genes and culture that continues to this day. Baldwin asserted that organisms could survive ecological challenges by relying on acquired knowledge and skills, often learned from others, and that this may then channel natural selection to favor unlearned versions of the same behavior. This mechanism, now known as the Baldwin effect, suggests that organisms can learn to shape their environment and consequently alter the path of evolution. For example, we know dairy farming emerged before the spread of lactose absorption genes and created the selection pressures that....


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