The Effects of Dual Inheritance Mechanisms of Cultural Evolution on Emergent Social Networks




Revay, Peter

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Understanding cultural dynamics in human societies is the first step towards solving many complex social issues. In this dissertation I focus on the drivers of diffusion and adoption of cultural traits, such as values, beliefs, and behaviors. I adopt an evolutionary view of cultural dynamics. Particularly, I use concepts from dual inheritance theories of cultural evolution to develop and test an agent-based model capable of simulating the changing distributions of cultural traits in a large population of actors over the course of prolonged periods of time. Particularly, I pay close attention to the mechanisms of indirectly biased transmission of traits and guided variation, which are both hypothesized to be significant drivers of cultural dynamics. Indirectly biased transmission consists of the adoption of specific trait variants on the basis of possession of initially unrelated external markers. Guided variation is then individual adaptation driven by self-exploration.



Sociology, Agent-based modeling, Culture, Evolution, Simulation, Social networks