Cultural complexity and complexity evolution
Reviewartikel, 2020

We review issues stemming from current models regarding the drivers of cultural complexity and cultural evolution. We disagree with the implication of the treadmill model, based on dual-inheritance theory, that population size is the driver of cultural complexity. The treadmill model reduces the evolution of artifact complexity, measured by the number of parts, to the statistical fact that individuals with high skills are more likely to be found in a larger population than in a smaller population. However, for the treadmill model to operate as claimed, implausibly high skill levels must be assumed. Contrary to the treadmill model, the risk hypothesis for the complexity of artifacts relates the number of parts to increased functional efficiency of implements. Empirically, all data on hunter-gatherer artifact complexity support the risk hypothesis and reject the treadmill model. Still, there are conditions under which increased technological complexity relates to increased population size, but the dependency does not occur in the manner expressed in the treadmill model. Instead, it relates to population size when the support system for the technology requires a large population size. If anything, anthropology and ecology suggest that cultural complexity generates high population density rather than the other way around.

cultural evolution

trait transmission

risk hypothesis

tradition

treadmill model

Cultural complexity

Författare

Dwight Read

University of California

Claes Andersson

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Fysisk resursteori

Adaptive Behavior

1059-7123 (ISSN)

Vol. 28 5 329-358

Odycceus- Opinion dynamics and cultural conflict in European spaces

Europeiska kommissionen (EU), 2017-01-01 -- 2020-12-31.

Ämneskategorier

Evolutionsbiologi

Annan humaniora

Arkeologi

Annan samhällsvetenskap

Fundament

Grundläggande vetenskaper

Styrkeområden

Livsvetenskaper och teknik (2010-2018)

DOI

10.1177/1059712318822298

Mer information

Senast uppdaterat

2020-12-18