Computational Model Library

Displaying 10 of 12 results cultural transmission clear

The purpose of the model is to investigate how different factors affect the ability of researchers to reconstruct prehistoric social networks from artifact stylistic similarities, as well as the overall diversity of cultural traits observed in archaeological assemblages. Given that cultural transmission and evolution is affected by multiple interacting phenomena, our model allows to simultaneously explore six sets of factors that may condition how social networks relate to shared culture between individuals and groups:

  1. Factors relating to the structure of social groups
  2. Factors relating to the cultural traits in question
  3. Factors relating to individual learning strategies
  4. Factors relating to the environment

Non-traditional tools and mediums can provide unique methodological and interpretive opportunities for archaeologists. In this case, the Unreal Engine (UE), which is typically used for games and media, has provided a powerful tool for non-programmers to engage with 3D visualization and programming as never before. UE has a low cost of entry for researchers as it is free to download and has user-friendly “blueprint” tools that are visual and easily extendable. Traditional maritime mobility in the Salish Sea is examined using an agent-based model developed in blueprints. Focusing on the sea canoe travel of the Straits Salish northwestern Washington State and southwest British Columbia. This simulation integrates GIS data to assess travel time between Coast Salish archaeological village locations and archaeologically represented resource gathering areas. Transportation speeds informed by ethnographic data were used to examine travel times for short forays and longer inter-village journeys. The results found that short forays tended to half day to full day trips when accounting for resource gathering activities. Similarly, many locations in the Salish Sea were accessible in long journeys within two to three days, assuming fair travel conditions. While overall transportation costs to reach sites may be low, models such as these highlight the variability in transport risk and cost. The integration of these types of tools, traditionally used for entertainment, can increase the accessibility of modeling approaches to researchers, be expanded to digital storytelling, including aiding in the teaching of traditional ecological knowledge and placenames, and can have wide applications beyond maritime archaeology.

This is v0.01 of a UE5.2.1 agent based model.

Peer reviewed Visibility of archaeological social networks

Claudine Gravel-Miguel | Published Sunday, November 26, 2023

The purpose of this model is to explore the impact of combining archaeological palimpsests with different methods of cultural transmission on the visibility of prehistoric social networks. Up until recently, Paleolithic archaeologists have relied on stylistic similarities of artifacts to reconstruct social networks. However, this method - which is successfully applied to more recent ceramic assemblages - may not be applicable to Paleolithic assemblages, as several of those consist of palimpsests of occupations. Therefore, this model was created to study how palimpsests of occupation affect our social network reconstructions.

The model simplifies inter-groups interactions between populations who share cultural traits as they produce artifacts. It creates a proxy archaeological record of artifacts with stylistic traits that can then be used to reconstruct interactions. One can thus use this model to compare the networks reconstructed through stylistic similarities with direct contact.

This model is designed to address the following research question: How does the amount and topology of intergroup cultural transmission modulate the effect of local group extinction on selectively neutral cultural diversity in a geographically structured population? The experimental design varies group extinction rate, the amount of intergroup cultural transmission, and the topology of intergroup cultural transmission while measuring the effects of local group extinction on long-term cultural change and regional cultural differentiation in a constant-size, spatially structured population. The results show that for most of the intergroup social network topologies tested here, increasing the amount of intergroup cultural transmission (similar to increasing gene flow in a genetic model) erases the negative effect of local group extinction on selectively neutral cultural diversity. The stochastic (i.e., preference attachment) network seems to stand out as an exception.

This version of the accumulated copying error (ACE) model is designed to address the following research question: how does finite population size (N) affect the coefficient of variation (CV) of a continuous cultural trait under the assumptions that the only source of copying error is visual perception error and that the continuous trait can take any positive value (i.e., it has no upper bound)? The model allows one to address this question while assuming the continuous trait is transmitted via vertical transmission, unbiased transmission, prestige biased transmission, mean conformist transmission, or median conformist transmission. By varying the parameter, p, one can also investigate the effect of population size under a mix of vertical and non-vertical transmission, whereby on average (1-p)N individuals learn via vertical transmission and pN individuals learn via either unbiased transmission, prestige biased transmission, mean conformist transmission, or median conformist transmission.

This model illustrates how the effective population size and the rate of change in mean skill level of a cultural trait are affected by the presence of natural selection and/or the cultural transmission mechanism by which it is passed.

This spatially explicit agent-based model addresses how effective foraging radius (r_e) affects the effective size–and thus the equilibrium cultural diversity–of a structured population composed of central-place foraging groups.

TechNet_04: Cultural Transmission in a Spatially-Situated Network

Andrew White | Published Monday, October 08, 2012 | Last modified Saturday, April 27, 2013

The TechNet_04 is an abstract model that embeds a simple cultural tranmission process in an environment where interaction is structured by spatially-situated networks.

The model presented here was created as part of my dissertation. It aims to study the impacts of topography and climate change on prehistoric networks, with a focus on the Magdalenian, which is dated to between 20 and 14,000 years ago.

Simulating the evolution of the human family

Paul Smaldino | Published Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The (cultural) evolution of cooperative breeding in harsh environments.

Displaying 10 of 12 results cultural transmission clear

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