The Role of Modularity in Stablizing Cultural Evolution: Conformity and Innovation in an Agent-Based Model

Joanna J Bryson

In this paper I discuss the role and sources of innovation in generating culture, and also the role of modularity in preserving it. I also discuss the extent to which biological selection can underly cultural evolution and the interaction between these. Finally I present two sets of pilot experiments mostly as `intuition pumps' to explore the problem of cultural stability and change. The first models the impact of noisy transmission and modularity on cultural stability. The second looks at the impact on a culture if a biologically-adaptive variant of one cultural trait is present.

Submitted: Sep 12, 2008