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Specialization leads to feedback cycles in cultural evolution
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (Matematik/tillämpad matematik, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the interaction between specialization and cul-tural evolution. Four key components are identified from publishedempirical studies: Culture, Specialization, Production and Popula-tion. Mathematical models are used to investigate the interactionsbetween the components and the behavior of the entire system. Theresults show that specialization is both a cause and an outcome of cul-tural cumulation, which creates feedback cycles in cultural evolution.The feedback cycles can explain the drastic increase in innovation ratewe have observed throughout human history. Specialization is there-fore argued to be an integral part in understanding cultural evolution.

Keywords [en]
Cultural evolution, specialization, mathematical model
National Category
Other Biological Topics Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13001DiVA, id: diva2:440934
Available from: 2011-09-14 Created: 2011-09-14 Last updated: 2013-01-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Modeling Specialization and Division of Labor in Cultural Evolution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modeling Specialization and Division of Labor in Cultural Evolution
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Division of labor and division of knowledge are so important and common in society today that it is difficult to imagine a functional society where everyone knows the same things and performs the same tasks. In such a society everyone grows, or gathers, and prepares their own food, makes their own tools, builds their own house, and so on.

Cultural evolution is the field of research that studies the creation and diffusion of ideas and societies. It is very uncommon for these studies to take into account the effects of specialization. This thesis will show that specialization is of great importance to cultural evolution.

The thesis is divided into two parts: The first is an introduction to studies of specialization and division of labor. The thesis begins with an interdisciplinary survey of the research on division of labor and specialization, including both theoretic and empirical studies. Next is an introduction to modeling specialization and division of labor. This includes a general framework and a number of basic models of different aspects of specialization and division of labor.

Part two consists of four papers. The first paper studies the interaction between specialization and cultural cumulation. The second and third papers examine cultural cumulation, specifically the circumstances under which cultural knowledge increases and how cultural knowledge is distributed in the population. The last paper is a mathematical model of how specialization of knowledge (i.e. higher education) leads to social stratification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2011
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 107
Keywords
Specialization, Division of Labor, Cultural Evolution
National Category
Other Mathematics
Research subject
Mathematics/Applied Mathematics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13004 (URN)978-91-7485-034-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-11, Beta, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-09-14 Created: 2011-09-14 Last updated: 2011-10-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf