Meme

A unit of cultural replication. The concept was introduced by Richard Dawkins in his “The Selfish Gene” 1976 in analogy with the concept of a gene, the unit of biological replication. Memes, such as tunes, fashions, traditions, moral rules or theories, are transmitted from one generation to another culturally (by social influences on the individual), in contrast to genes, which are transmitted biologically; but memes are similar to genes in being subject to processes of mutation and selection. By extension, a meme can function in a mind the same way a virus functions in the body. And an infectious idea (call it a “viral meme”) may leap from mind to mind, much as viruses leap from body to body.
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