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Random drift and culture change

Bentley, RA; Hahn, MW; Shennan, SJ; (2004) Random drift and culture change. P R SOC B , 271 (1547) 1443 - 1450.

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Abstract

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.

Type: Article
Title: Random drift and culture change
Keywords: cultural evolution, random genetic drift, patents, first names, pottery, power laws, SAMPLING THEORY, NEUTRAL THEORY, ALLELES, TRANSMISSION, POPULATION, EVOLUTION, NETWORKS, STYLE
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/187460
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