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Monday, November 18


Center for the Study of Complex Systems
Seminar Series
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Room 4448 East Hall*
 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Paul Smaldino
Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral & Health Sciences - The Johns Hopkins University

Faculty Candidate

Group-Level Traits in Cultural Evolution:  Globalization and the Evolution of Power
Understanding human cultural evolution requires the consideration of emergent group-level traits, including collective behaviors and social institutions. First, I will discuss the role of group-level traits in theories of cultural evolution. Following that, I will present an agent-based multilevel selection model in which individual norms of cooperation and group-level institutions of power can co-evolve. The literature on cooperation has generally considered selfish strategies as something to be purged or marginalized to the periphery of the group. The model suggests an alternative view, in which cooperative norms are maintained among the majority while a persistent minority of selfish agents yields to the group an evolutionary advantage. Skewed, undemocratic power structures facilitate the decoupling and divergence of collective behavior from individual behavior. As the global population becomes more integrated and the rate of conflict between groups increases, selection increasingly favors institutions in which wealth correlates with power in collective decision making. The coevolution of cooperative social norms and institutions of power facilitates the emergence of a leadership class of the selfish and has implications for theories of inequality, structures of governance, non-cooperative personality traits, and hierarchy. 

*PLEASE NOTE THAT 4448 EAST HALL WILL BE THE LOCATION OF THE REMAINDER OF THE COMPLEX SYSTEMS SEMINAR SERIES FOR 2013/14.  (To find this room, go to the East Hall Annex off Church Street - north entrance doors (Psychology) and take stairs to fourth floor, or take elevator located just inside first set of doors at Church St. entrance - to 4th floor)