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Social LearningAn Introduction to Mechanisms, Methods, and Models$
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William Hoppitt and Kevin N. Laland

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150703

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150703.001.0001

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Modeling Social Learning and Culture

Modeling Social Learning and Culture

(p.235) Chapter 9 Modeling Social Learning and Culture
Social Learning

William Hoppitt

Kevin N. Laland

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes a variety of approaches to modeling social learning, cultural evolution, and gene-culture coevolution. The model-building exercise typically starts with a set of assumptions about the key processes to be explored, along with the nature of their relations. These assumptions are then translated into the mathematical expressions that constitute the model. The operation of the model is then investigated, normally using a combination of analytical mathematical techniques and simulation, to determine relevant outcomes, such as the equilibrium states or patterns of change over time. The chapter presents examples of the modeling of cultural transmission and considers parallels between cultural and biological evolution. It then discusses theoretical approaches to social learning and cultural evolution, including population-genetic style models of cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution, neutral models and random copying, social foraging theory, spatially explicit models, reaction-diffusion models, agent-based models, and phylogenetic models.

Keywords:   modeling, social learning, cultural evolution, gene-culture coevolution, cultural transmission, biological evolution, neutral models, random copying, social foraging theory, reaction-diffusion models

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