Behavioral Modernity and the Cultural Transmission of Structured Information: The Semantic Axelrod Model

Part of the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series book series (RNMH)

Abstract

Cultural transmission models are coming to the fore in explaining increases in the Paleolithic toolkit richness and diversity. During the later Paleolithic, technologies increase not only in terms of diversity but also in their complexity and interdependence. As Mesoudi and O’Brien (Biolog Theory 3:63–72, 2008) have shown, selection broadly favors social learning of information that is hierarchical and structured. We believe that teaching provides the necessary scaffolding for transmission of more complex cultural traits. Here, we introduce an extension of the Axelrod (J Confl Resolut 41:203–226, 1997) model of cultural differentiation in which traits have prerequisite relationships, and where social learning is dependent upon the ordering of those prerequisites. We examine the resulting structure of cultural repertoires as learning environments range from largely unstructured imitation, to structured teaching of necessary prerequisites, and we find that in combination with individual learning and innovation, high probabilities of teaching prerequisites leads to richer cultural repertoires. Our results point to ways in which we can build more comprehensive explanations of the archaeological record of the Paleolithic as well as other cases of technological change.

Keywords

Structured trait model Axelrod model Unbiased transmission Knowledge prerequisites Cumulative cultural transmission 

References

  1. Aoki K (2013) Determinants of cultural evolutionary rates. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 199–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aoki K, Lehmann L, Feldman MW (2011) Rates of cultural change and patterns of cultural accumulation in stochastic models of social transmission. Theor Popul Biol 79:192–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Axelrod R (1997) The dissemination of culture: a model with local convergence and global polarization. J Confl Resolut 41:203–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bamforth DB, Finlay N (2008) Introduction: archaeological approaches to lithic production skill and craft learning. J Archaeol Method Theory 15:1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bar-Yosef O (2002) The upper paleolithic revolution. Ann Rev Anthropol 31:363–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bleed P (2001) Trees or chains, links or branches: conceptual alternatives for consideration of stone tool production and other sequential activities. J Archaeol Method Theory 8:101–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bleed P (2002) Obviously sequential, but continuous or staged? Refits and cognition in three late paleolithic assemblages from Japan. J Anthropol Archaeol 21:329–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bleed P (2008) Skill matters. J Archaeol Method Theory 15:154–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bouzouggar A, Barton N, Vanhaeren M, d’Errico F, Collcutt S, Higham T, Hodge E, Parfitt S, Rhodes E, Schwenninger JL et al (2007) 82,000-year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:9964–9969CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Castellano C, Fortunato S, Loreto V (2009) Statistical physics of social dynamics. Rev Modern Phys 81:591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castellano C, Marsili M, Vespignani A (2000) Nonequilibrium phase transition in a model for social influence. Phys Rev Lett 85:3536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Castro L, Toro MA (2014) Cumulative cultural evolution: the role of teaching. J Theor Biol 347:74–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collard M, Buchanan B, Morin J, Costopoulos A (2011) What drives the evolution of hunter-gatherer subsistence technology? A reanalysis of the risk hypothesis with data from the Pacific Northwest. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 366:1129–1138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Collard M, Buchanan B, OBrien MJ (2013a) Population size as an explanation for patterns in the paleolithic archaeological record. Curr Anthropol 54:S388–S396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Collard M, Buchanan B, O’Brien MJ, Scholnick J (2013b) Risk, mobility or population size? Drivers of technological richness among contact-period western North American hunter-gatherers. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 368:20120412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Collard M, Ruttle A, Buchanan B, OBrien MJ (2013c) Population size and cultural evolution in nonindustrial food-producing societies. PLoS One 8:e72628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Committee on Mathematical Foundations of Verification Validation and Uncertainty Quantification, National Research Council (2012) Assessing the reliability of complex models: mathematical and statistical foundations of verification, validation, and uncertainty quantification. The National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  18. Creanza N, Fogarty L, Feldman M (2013) Exploring cultural niche construction from the paleolithic to modern hunter-gatherers. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 211–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Csibra G, Gergely G (2011) Natural pedagogy as evolutionary adaptation. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 366:1149–1157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Sanctis L, Galla T (2009) Effects of noise and confidence thresholds in nominal and metric Axelrod dynamics of social influence. Phys Rev E 79:046108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Derex M, Beugin MP, Godelle B, Raymond M (2013) Experimental evidence for the influence of group size on cultural complexity. Nature 503:389–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. d’Errico F, Henshilwood CS (2007) Additional evidence for bone technology in the Southern African middle stone age. J Hum Evol 52:142–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. d’Errico F, Stringer CB (2011) Evolution, revolution or saltation scenario for the emergence of modern cultures? Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 366:1060–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Diestel R (2010) Graph theory. Graduate texts in mathematics, vol 173, 4th edn. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunnell RC (1971) Systematics in prehistory. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Eerkens J, Lipo C (2005) Cultural transmission, copying errors, and the generation of variation in material culture and the archaeological record. J Anthropol Archaeol 24:316–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ewens WJ (2004) Mathematical population genetics. Theoretical introduction, vol 1, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Ferguson JR (2008) The when, where, and how of novices in craft production. J Archaeol Method Theory 15:51–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Flache A, Macy MW (2006) What sustains cultural diversity and what undermines it? Axelrod and beyond. arXiv preprint physics/0604201Google Scholar
  30. Fogarty L, Strimling P, Laland KN (2011) The evolution of teaching. Evolution 65:2760–2770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Godsil CD, Royle G (2001) Algebraic graph theory, vol 8. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. González-Avella J, Cosenza M, Klemm K (2007a) Information feedback and mass media effects in cultural dynamics. J Artif Soc Soc Simul 10(3):9Google Scholar
  33. González-Avella J, Eguíluz V, San Miguel M (2007b) Homophily, cultural drift, and the co-evolution of cultural groups. Phys Rev E 72(6):065102–065106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. González-Avella JC, Cosenza MG, Tucci K (2005) Nonequilibrium transition induced by mass media in a model for social influence. Phys Rev E 72:065102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. González-Avella JC, Eguíluz VM, Cosenza MG, Klemm K, Herrera J, San Miguel M (2006) Local versus global interactions in nonequilibrium transitions: a model of social dynamics. Phys Rev E 73:046119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Henrich J (2004) Demography and cultural evolution: how adaptive cultural processes can produce maladaptive losses: the tasmanian case. Am Antiq 69:197–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Högberg A (2008) Playing with flint: tracing a child’s imitation of adult work in a lithic assemblage. J Archaeol Method Theory 15: 112–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kempe M, Mesoudi A (2014) An experimental demonstration of the effect of group size on cultural accumulation. Evol Hum Behav 35:285–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Klein RG (2009) The human career: human biological and cultural origins. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Klemm K, Eguíluz V, Toral R, San Miguel M (2003a) Global culture: a noise-induced transition in finite systems. Phys Rev E 67:045101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klemm K, Eguíluz V, Toral R, San Miguel M (2003b) Nonequilibrium transitions in complex networks: a model of social interaction. Phys Rev E 67:026120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Klemm K, Eguíluz V, Toral R, San Miguel M (2005) Globalization, polarization and cultural drift. J Econ Dyn Control 29:321–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kuhn S (2013) Cultural transmission, institutional continuity and the persistence of the Mousterian. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lanchier N (2012) The Axelrod model for the dissemination of culture revisited. Ann Appl Probab 22:860–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lanchier N, Deijfen M, Häggström O, Connor S (2010) Opinion dynamics with confidence threshold: an alternative to the Axelrod model. Alea. Arxiv.org 1003.0115v2. http://arxiv.org/abs/1003.0115
  46. MacArthur BD, Sánchez-García RJ, Anderson JW (2008) Symmetry in complex networks. Discret Appl Math 156:3525–3531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McBrearty S (2007) Down with the revolution. In: Mellars P, Boyle K, Bar-Yosef O, Stringer C (eds) Rethinking the human revolution. MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Monographs, Cambridge, pp 133–152Google Scholar
  48. McBrearty S, Brooks AS (2000) The revolution that wasn’t: a new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior. J Hum Evol 39:453–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McKay BD, Piperno A (2014) Practical graph isomorphism, {II}. J Symb Comput 60:94–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mesoudi A, O’Brien MJ (2008) The learning and transmission of hierarchical cultural recipes. Biolog Theory 3:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Moore MW (2010) “Grammars of action” and stone flaking design space. In: Nowell A, Davidson I (eds) Stone tools and the evolution of human cognition. University of Colorado Press, Boulder, pp 13–43Google Scholar
  52. Moran P (1958) Random processes in genetics. Math Proc Camb Philos Soc 54(1):60–71. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  53. Moran P et al (1962) The statistical processes of evolutionary theory. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  54. Muthukrishna M, Shulman BW, Vasilescu V, Henrich J (2014) Sociality influences cultural complexity. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 281: 20132511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Nakahashi W (2013) Cultural evolution and learning strategies in hominids. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 245–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Neff H (1992) Ceramics and evolution. Archaeol Method Theory 4:141–193Google Scholar
  57. Nickel M, Tresp V, Kriegel HP (2011) A three-way model for collective learning on multi-relational data. In: Getoor L, Scheffer T (eds) Proceedings of the 28th international conference on machine learning (ICML-11), Bellevue. ACM, New York, pp 809–816Google Scholar
  58. Nishiaki Y, Aoki K, Akazawa T (2013) Introduction. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. O’Brien M, Lyman R, Mesoudi A, VanPool T (2010) Cultural traits as units of analysis. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 365: 3797–3806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. O’Brien MJ, Shennan S (2010) Innovation in cultural systems: contributions from evolutionary anthropology. MIT, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  61. Otter R (1948) The number of trees. Ann Math 49:583–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Premo L (2012) Local extinctions, connectedness, and cultural evolution in structured populations. Adv Complex Syst 15:1150002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rotman JJ (1995) An introduction to the theory of groups. Graduate texts in mathematics, vol 148. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  64. Schank RC, Abelson RP (1977) Scripts, plans, goals, and understanding: an inquiry into human knowledge structures. Artificial intelligence series. Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  65. Schiffer MB, Skibo JM (1987) Theory and experiment in the study of technological change. Curr Anthropol 28:595–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shennan S (2000) Population, culture history, and the dynamics of culture change. Curr Anthropol 41:811–835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Shennan S (2001) Demography and cultural innovation: a model and its implications for the emergence of modern human culture. Camb Archaeol J 11:5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Smilkov D, Kocarev L (2012) Influence of the network topology on epidemic spreading. Phys Rev E 85:016114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sterelny K (2012) The evolved apprentice. MIT, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Stout D (2002) Skill and cognition in stone tool production: an ethnographic case study from Irian Jaya. Curr Anthropol 43:693–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Stout D (2011) Stone toolmaking and the evolution of human culture and cognition. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 366:1050–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Straus LG (2005) A mosaic of change: the middle–upper paleolithic transition as viewed from New Mexico and Iberia. Quat Int 137:47–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Terashima H (2013) The evolutionary development of learning and teaching strategies in human societies. In: Akazawa T, Nishiaki Y, Aoki K (eds) Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans. Replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans series, vol 1. Springer, Tokyo, pp 141–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tostevin GB (2012) Seeing lithics: a middle-range theory for testing for cultural transmission in the pleistocene. Oxbow Books, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  75. Villa P, Roebroeks W (2014) Neandertal demise: an archaeological analysis of the modern human superiority complex. PLoS One 9:e96424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wimsatt WC (2007) Re-engineering philosophy for limited beings: piecewise approximations to reality. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  77. Wimsatt WC, Griesemer JR (2007) Reproducing entrenchments to scaffold culture: the central role of development in cultural evolution. In: Sansom R, Brandon RN (eds) Integrating evolution and development: from theory to practice. Bradford Books/MIT, Cambridge, pp 227–323Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anthropology and IIRMESCalifornia State University at Long BeachLong BeachUSA

Personalised recommendations