ResearchPad - cultural-diversity https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Modeling competitive evolution of multiple languages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7854 Increasing evidence demonstrates that in many places language coexistence has become ubiquitous and essential for supporting language and cultural diversity and associated with its financial and economic benefits. The competitive evolution among multiple languages determines the evolution outcome, either coexistence, or decline, or extinction. Here, we extend the Abrams-Strogatz model of language competition to multiple languages and then validate it by analyzing the behavioral transitions of language usage over the recent several decades in Singapore and Hong Kong. In each case, we estimate from data the model parameters that measure each language utility for its speakers and the strength of two biases, the majority preference for their language, and the minority aversion to it. The values of these two biases decide which language is the fastest growing in the competition and what would be the stable state of the system. We also study the system convergence time to stable states and discover the existence of tipping points with multiple attractors. Moreover, the critical slowdown of convergence to the stable fractions of language users appears near and peaks at the tipping points, signaling when the system approaches them. Our analysis furthers our understanding of evolution of various languages and the role of tipping points in behavioral transitions. These insights may help to protect languages from extinction and retain the language and cultural diversity.

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<![CDATA[Cultural Diffusion Was the Main Driving Mechanism of the Neolithic Transition in Southern Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da61ab0ee8fa60b90f06

It is well known that the Neolithic transition spread across Europe at a speed of about 1 km/yr. This result has been previously interpreted as a range expansion of the Neolithic driven mainly by demic diffusion (whereas cultural diffusion played a secondary role). However, a long-standing problem is whether this value (1 km/yr) and its interpretation (mainly demic diffusion) are characteristic only of Europe or universal (i.e. intrinsic features of Neolithic transitions all over the world). So far Neolithic spread rates outside Europe have been barely measured, and Neolithic spread rates substantially faster than 1 km/yr have not been previously reported. Here we show that the transition from hunting and gathering into herding in southern Africa spread at a rate of about 2.4 km/yr, i.e. about twice faster than the European Neolithic transition. Thus the value 1 km/yr is not a universal feature of Neolithic transitions in the world. Resorting to a recent demic-cultural wave-of-advance model, we also find that the main mechanism at work in the southern African Neolithic spread was cultural diffusion (whereas demic diffusion played a secondary role). This is in sharp contrast to the European Neolithic. Our results further suggest that Neolithic spread rates could be mainly driven by cultural diffusion in cases where the final state of this transition is herding/pastoralism (such as in southern Africa) rather than farming and stockbreeding (as in Europe).

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<![CDATA[Institutions and Cultural Diversity: Effects of Democratic and Propaganda Processes on Local Convergence and Global Diversity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db36ab0ee8fa60bd3596

In a connected world where people influence each other, what can cause a globalized monoculture, and which measures help to preserve the coexistence of cultures? Previous research has shown that factors such as homophily, population size, geography, mass media, and type of social influence play important roles. In the present paper, we investigate for the first time the impact that institutions have on cultural diversity. In our first three studies, we extend existing agent-based models and explore the effects of institutional influence and agent loyalty. We find that higher institutional influence increases cultural diversity, while individuals' loyalty to their institutions has a small, preserving effect. In three further studies, we test how bottom-up and top-down processes of institutional influence impact our model. We find that bottom-up democratic practices, such as referenda, tend to produce convergence towards homogeneity, while top-down information dissemination practices, such as propaganda, further increase diversity. In our last model—an integration of bottom-up and top-down processes into a feedback loop of information—we find that when democratic processes are rare, the effects of propaganda are amplified, i.e., more diversity emerges; however, when democratic processes are common, they are able to neutralize or reverse this propaganda effect. Importantly, our models allow for control over the full spectrum of diversity, so that a manipulation of our parameters can result in preferred levels of diversity, which will be useful for the study of other factors in the future. We discuss possible mechanisms behind our results, applications, and implications for political and social sciences.

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<![CDATA[Cultural Transmission on the Taskscape: Exploring the Effects of Taskscape Visibility on Cultural Diversity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ebab0ee8fa60b6ca06

Culturally transmitted behavior can be structured in its performance both geographically and temporally, in terms of where and when implements are made and used on the landscape (what Ingold calls “the taskscape”). Yet cultural transmission theory has not yet explored the consequences of behaviors transmitted differently due to their enactment at different taskscape locations, what Tostevin calls “taskscape visibility.” Here, we use computer simulations to explore how taskscape visibility and forager mobility affect the diversity of two selectively neutral culturally transmitted traits within a single population of social learners. The trait that can be transmitted from residential bases only (lower taskscape visibility) shows greater diversity than the trait that can be transmitted from residential bases and logistical camps (higher taskscape visibility). In addition, increased logistical mobility has a positive effect on the diversity of the trait with the lower taskscape visibility while it generally shows little to no effect on the diversity of the trait with higher taskscape visibility. Without an appreciation for the ways in which taskscape visibility and mobility can structure cultural transmission in space and through time, the difference in the observed equilibrium diversity levels of the two traits might be incorrectly interpreted as resulting from qualitatively different forms of biased cultural transmission. The results of our simulation experiment suggest that researchers may need to take the taskscape visibility into account when inferring cultural transmission from archaeological data.

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<![CDATA[Divergence in Male and Female Manipulative Behaviors with the Intensification of Metallurgy in Central Europe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0eab0ee8fa60bcb0f9

Humeral morphology has been shown to reflect, in part, habitual manipulative behaviors in humans. Among Central European agricultural populations, long-term social change, increasing task specialization, and technological innovation all had the potential to impact patterns of habitual activity and upper limb asymmetry. However, systematic temporal change in the skeletal morphology of agricultural populations in this region has not been well-characterized. This study investigates diachronic patterns in humeral biomechanical properties and lengths among 174 adult Central European agriculturalists through the first ∼5400 years of farming in the region. Greater asymmetry in biomechanical properties was expected to accompany the introduction of metallurgy, particularly in males, while upper limb loading patterns were expected to be more similar between the Bronze and Iron Ages. Results revealed a divergence in the lateralization of upper limb biomechanical properties by sex between the Early/Middle Neolithic and Early/Middle Bronze Age. Neolithic females had significantly more variable properties than males in both humeri, while Bronze Age female properties became homogeneous and very symmetrical relative to the right-biased lateralization of contemporaneous males. The Bronze Age to Iron Age transition was associated with morphological change among females, with a significant increase in right-biased asymmetry and a concomitant reduction in sexual dimorphism. Relative to biomechanical properties, humeral length variation and asymmetry were low though some significant sexual dimorphism and temporal change was found. It was among females that the lateralization of humeral biomechanical properties, and variation within them, changed most profoundly through time. This suggests that the introduction of the ard and plow, metallurgical innovation, task specialization, and socioeconomic change through ∼5400 years of agriculture impacted upper limb loading in Central European women to a greater extent than men.

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<![CDATA[Classic Maya Bloodletting and the Cultural Evolution of Religious Rituals: Quantifying Patterns of Variation in Hieroglyphic Texts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab9ab0ee8fa60bae24b

Religious rituals that are painful or highly stressful are hypothesized to be costly signs of commitment essential for the evolution of complex society. Yet few studies have investigated how such extreme ritual practices were culturally transmitted in past societies. Here, we report the first study to analyze temporal and spatial variation in bloodletting rituals recorded in Classic Maya (ca. 250–900 CE) hieroglyphic texts. We also identify the sociopolitical contexts most closely associated with these ancient recorded rituals. Sampling an extensive record of 2,480 hieroglyphic texts, this study identifies every recorded instance of the logographic sign for the word ch’ahb’ that is associated with ritual bloodletting. We show that documented rituals exhibit low frequency whose occurrence cannot be predicted by spatial location. Conversely, network ties better capture the distribution of bloodletting rituals across the southern Maya region. Our results indicate that bloodletting rituals by Maya nobles were not uniformly recorded, but were typically documented in association with antagonistic statements and may have signaled royal commitments among connected polities.

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