Unknotting the interactive effects of learning processes on cultural evolutionary dynamics

Published on Jan 1, 2019
· DOI :10.1017/EHS.2019.17
Lauren A. Scanlon , Lauren A. Scanlon1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Durham University)
+ 1 AuthorsJeremy R. Kendal20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Durham University)
Forms of non-random copying error provide sources of inherited variation yet their effects on cultural evolutionary dynamics are poorly understood. Focusing on variation in granny and reef knot forms, we present a mathematical model that specifies how these variant frequencies are affected by non-linear interactions between copying fidelity, mirroring, handedness and repetition biases. Experiments on adult humans allowed these effects to be estimated using approximate Bayesian computation and the model is iterated to explain the prevalence of granny over reef knots in the wild. Our study system also serves to show conditions under which copying fidelity drives heterogeneity in cultural variants at equilibrium, and that interaction between unbiased forms of copying error can skew cultural variation.
  • References (20)
  • Citations (0)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
62 Citations
5 Citations
1 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Paul E. Smaldino (UCM: University of California, Merced)H-Index: 15
#2Lucy M. Aplin (Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology)H-Index: 18
Last. Damien R. Farine (Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology)H-Index: 32
view all 3 authors...
The potential for behaviours to spread via cultural transmission has profound implications for our understanding of social dynamics and evolution. Several studies have provided empirical evidence that local traditions can be maintained in animal populations via conformist learning (i.e. copying the majority). A conformist bias can be characterized by a sigmoidal relationship between a behavior’s prevalence in the population and an individual’s propensity to adopt that behavior. For this reason, ...
3 CitationsSource
#1Alberto Acerbi (TU/e: Eindhoven University of Technology)H-Index: 15
#2Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen (St And: University of St Andrews)H-Index: 12
Last. Claudio Tennie (University of Tübingen)H-Index: 20
view all 4 authors...
In the Smaldino et al. study ‘Sigmoidal Acquisition Curves are Good Indicators of Conformist Transmission’, our original findings regarding the conditional validity of using population-level sigmoidal acquisition curves as means to evidence individual-level conformity are contested. We acknowledge the identification of useful nuances, yet conclude that our original findings remain relevant for the study of conformist learning mechanisms. Replying to: Smaldino, P. E., Aplin, L. M. & Farine, D. R....
#1Anne Kandler (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 14
#2Adam Powell (MPG: Max Planck Society)H-Index: 15
One of the major challenges in cultural evolution is to understand why and how various forms of social learning are used in human populations, both now and in the past. To date, much of the theoretical work on social learning has been done in isolation of data, and consequently many insights focus on revealing the learning processes or the distributions of cultural variants that are expected to have evolved in human populations. In population genetics, recent methodological advances have allowed...
8 CitationsSource
#1Christopher A. Daily-Diamond (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 2
#2Christine Gregg (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 4
Last. Oliver M. O’Reilly (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 20
view all 3 authors...
The accidental untying of a shoelace while walking often occurs without warning. In this paper, we discuss the series of events that lead to a shoelace knot becoming untied. First, the repeated impact of the shoe on the floor during walking serves to loosen the knot. Then, the whipping motions of the free ends of the laces caused by the leg swing produce slipping of the laces. This leads to eventual runaway untangling of the knot. As demonstrated using slow-motion video footage and a series of e...
3 CitationsSource
#1Alberto Acerbi (TU/e: Eindhoven University of Technology)H-Index: 15
#2Eduard Johannes Cornelis van Leeuwen (St And: University of St Andrews)H-Index: 1
Last. Claudio Tennie (University of Birmingham)H-Index: 20
view all 4 authors...
Conformist transmission, defined as a disproportionate likelihood to copy the majority, is considered a potent mechanism underlying the emergence and stabilization of cultural diversity. However, ambiguity within and across disciplines remains as to how to identify conformist transmission empirically. In most studies, a population level outcome has been taken as the benchmark to evidence conformist transmission: a sigmoidal relation between individuals’ probability to copy the majority and the p...
17 CitationsSource
In this paper we will discuss knots in material culture, giving an overview of their importance and range of usage. We will then discuss a method of characterization for these knots and a method to study these knots through cultural evolution. We then give some preliminary results and ideas for further study.
Abstract It has becoming increasingly common for archaeologists to draw on evolutionary theory and methods to analyze artifactual variation over time and space. The term “evolution” and its traditionally biological connotations, however, can provide a source of confusion, which might cause hindrance to those trying to understand the growing array of case studies that utilize these methods. Given this, a brief review of the current theoretical basis for cultural evolutionary approaches is given, ...
45 CitationsSource
#1Nicolas ClaidièreH-Index: 17
#2Thomas C. Scott-Phillips (Durham University)H-Index: 16
Last. Sperber Dan (EHESS: School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences)H-Index: 54
view all 3 authors...
Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population of items of different types, whose relative frequencies may change over time. Three nested subtypes of populational models can be distinguished: evolutionary, selectional and replicative. Substantial progress has been made in the study of cultural evolution by modelling it within the selectional frame. This progress has involved idealizing away from phenomena that may be critical to an adequate understanding of cult...
73 CitationsSource
#1Mikael Sunnåker (ETH Zurich)H-Index: 9
#2Alberto Giovanni Busetto (ETH Zurich)H-Index: 11
Last. Christophe Dessimoz (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics)H-Index: 38
view all 6 authors...
Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) constitutes a class of computational methods rooted in Bayesian statistics. In all model-based statistical inference, the likelihood function is of central importance, since it expresses the probability of the observed data under a particular statistical model, and thus quantifies the support data lend to particular values of parameters and to choices among different models. For simple models, an analytical formula for the likelihood function can typically ...
251 CitationsSource
#1Marius Kempe (QMUL: Queen Mary University of London)H-Index: 5
#2Stephen J. Lycett (UKC: University of Kent)H-Index: 27
Last. Alex Mesoudi (QMUL: Queen Mary University of London)H-Index: 33
view all 3 authors...
Archaeologists interested in explaining changes in artifact morphology over long time periods have found it useful to create models in which the only source of change is random and unintentional copying error, or ‘cultural mutation’. These models can be used as null hypotheses against which to detect non-random processes such as cultural selection or biased transmission. One proposed cultural mutation model is the accumulated copying error model, where individuals attempt to copy the size of ano...
49 CitationsSource
Cited By0