Denis Failly - “Susan Blackmore, could you remind us shortly the basics of Memetics and the Meme concept?”
Susan Blackmore - “The term ‘meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. Memes are habits, skills, songs, stories, or any kind of behaviour that is passed from person to person by imitation. Like genes, memes are replicators. That is, they are information that is copied with variation and selection. While genes compete to get copied when plants and animals reproduce, memes compete to get stored in our memories (or in our computeres or phones) and passed on again to someone else.
On this view our minds and culture are designed by the competition between memes, just as the biological world has been designed by natural selection acting on genes. Familiar memes include words, stories, TV and radio programmes, chess, Soduko and computer games, glorious symphonies and mindless jingles, the habit of driving on the left (or the right), eating with a knife and fork, wearing clothes, and shaking hands. These are all information that has successfully been copied from person to person.