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The logic of fashion cycles
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2012 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 7, no 3, e32541- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many cultural traits exhibit volatile dynamics, commonly dubbed fashions or fads. Here we show that realistic fashion-like dynamics emerge spontaneously if individuals can copy others' preferences for cultural traits as well as traits themselves. We demonstrate this dynamics in simple mathematical models of the diffusion, and subsequent abandonment, of a single cultural trait which individuals may or may not prefer. We then simulate the coevolution between many cultural traits and the associated preferences, reproducing power-law frequency distributions of cultural traits (most traits are adopted by few individuals for a short time, and very few by many for a long time), as well as correlations between the rate of increase and the rate of decrease of traits (traits that increase rapidly in popularity are also abandoned quickly and vice versa). We also establish that alternative theories, that fashions result from individuals signaling their social status, or from individuals randomly copying each other, do not satisfactorily reproduce these empirical observations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, no 3, e32541- p.
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80155DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032541ISI: 000303060800028OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-80155DiVA: diva2:552314
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2012-09-13 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Acerbi, AlbertoGhirlanda, StefanoEnquist, Magnus
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