Sociofact is a term coined by biologist Julian Huxley, used together with the related terms "mentifact" (sometimes called a psychofact[1]) and "artifact" to describe how cultural traits take on a life of their own, spanning over generations.[2] For Huxley, the concept of culture contemplates artifacts, mentifacts, and sociofacts.[3] A definition also explains that shared mentifacts, through artifacts, are called sociofacts.[4] Sociofact also describes interpersonal interactions and social structures.[5] This idea has been related to memetics[6] or the memetic concept of culture.[4]


The idea of the sociofact was developed extensively by David Bidney in his textbook Theoretical Anthropology. He used the term to refer to objects which consist of interactions between members of a social group.[7] Bidney's sociofact includes norms that "serve to regulate the conduct of the individual within society".[8]

The concept has been used by philosophers and social scientists in their analyses of varying kinds of social groups. For instance, semiotician of music Charles Boilès, in a discussion of the semiotics of the tune "Taps", claims that although it is a single piece of music, it can be seen as three distinct musical sociofacts: as a "last call" signal in taverns frequented by soldiers, as an "end of day" signal on military bases, and hence symbolically as a component of military funerals.[1] The claim has been made that sociofactual analysis can play a decisive role for the performance of, and collaboration within, organizations.[9]


  1. Boilès, Charles L. (1982). "Processes of Musical Semiosis". Yearbook for Traditional Music. 14: 24–44.
  2. Huxley, J. S. 1955. Guest Editorial: Evolution, Cultural and Biological. Yearbook of Anthropology, 2–25.
  3. Sriraman, Bharath; Goodchild, Simon (2009). Relatively and Philosophically Earnest: Festschrift in honor of Paul Ernest's 65th Birthday. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. p. 135. ISBN 9781607522416.
  4. Pim, Joám Evans (2009). Toward a Nonkilling Paradigm. Center for Global Nonkilling. p. 260. ISBN 9780982298312.
  5. Hayler, M. (2015-05-07). Challenging the Phenomena of Technology. Springer. ISBN 9781137377869.
  6. Bribiesca, Luis B. (2001). "Memetics: a dangerous idea". Interciencia. 26 (1): 29–31.
  7. Bidney, David (1967). Theoretical Anthropology (2nd ed.). New York: Schocken.
  8. Ingold, Tim (2016). Evolution and Social Life. Oxon: Routledge. p. 283. ISBN 9781138675858.
  9. Uwe V. Riss; Johannes Magenheim; Wolfgang Reinhardt; Tobias Nelkner; Knut Hinkelmann (March 2011). "Added Value of Sociofact Analysis for Business Agility". AAAI Publications, 2011 AAAI Spring Symposium Series. Retrieved 5 August 2011.

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