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Random drift and culture change.

Bentley, R. A. and Hahn, M. W. and Shennan, S. J. (2004) 'Random drift and culture change.', Proceedings of the Royal Society series B : biological sciences., 271 (1547). pp. 1443-1450.


We show that the frequency distributions of cultural variants, in three different real-world examples--first names, archaeological pottery and applications for technology patents--follow power laws that can be explained by a simple model of random drift. We conclude that cultural and economic choices often reflect a decision process that is value-neutral; this result has far-reaching testable implications for social-science research

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Cultural evolution, Random genetic drift, Patents, First names, Pottery, Power laws.
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Record Created:05 Mar 2008
Last Modified:18 Aug 2010 11:58

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