Modelling the evolution and diversity of cumulative culture
2011 (English)In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8436, Vol. 366, no 1563, 412-423 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Previous work on mathematical models of cultural evolution has mainly focused on the diffusion of simple cultural elements. However, a characteristic feature of human cultural evolution is the seemingly limitless appearance of new and increasingly complex cultural elements. Here, we develop a general modelling framework to study such cumulative processes, in which we assume that the appearance and disappearance of cultural elements are stochastic events that depend on the current state of culture. Five scenarios are explored: evolution of independent cultural elements, stepwise modification of elements, differentiation or combination of elements and systems of cultural elements. As one application of our framework, we study the evolution of cultural diversity (in time as well as between groups).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 366, no 1563, 412-423 p.
cultural evolution, cumulative culture, mathematical model, cultural diversity, cultural systems
Humanities Other Humanities
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13329DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0132ISI: 000285793800010ScopusID: 2-s2.0-79951834833OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13329DiVA: diva2:458799
FunderSwedish Research Council, 2009-2390