Science of Memes
We conduct in-depth meme analysis of the cultural ecosystems around ideas and social behaviors. This enables us to see how memes spread through the minds of people to influence their attitudes, values, thoughts, and behaviors.
Meme science is the scientific study of cultural evolution.
It can also be thought of as the epidemiology of ideas. It is the deconstruction of thoughts and behaviors to reveal the aspects of culture that live in the minds of people and replicate themselves by spreading from one brain to another in the shared stories, common practices, and widely held beliefs that constitute a particular community.
This new science has been around for a few decades in nascent form, with all the necessary elements developed and tested across a number of research fields. Basically, you can think of meme science as the combination of:
- Capturing of ideas, stories, and experiences that have real meaning in people’s lives;
- Statistically analyzing the emotional and semantic content of the “cultural units” to reveal how they relate to each other;
- Constructing a meme landscape that maps out the social ecosystem of ideas and their interrelationships;
- Revealing the social networks that connect people and ideas through their various conversation channels;
- Gathering insights about what people are thinking and how they feel in order to provide communication and engagement guidance that resonates with them and leads to actual changes in behavior.
Meme science is comprised of inputs from complexity theory, network science, social psychology, statistical mathematics, and neuroscience. When these building blocks are brought together, it becomes possible to treat cultural dynamics as a pattern language that behaves like a full-fledged ecosystem. There are aspects of culture that nurture the spread of some ideas alongside other aspects of culture that limit or prey upon them.
We study these meme dimensions for specific themes to measure their spreading power and tailor strategies that make thematic memes more potent — both by strengthening the networks they spread across and by crafting new memes that create synergies between existing memes to help them spread farther across existing social networks.