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  1. Foundations of Human Sociality - Economic Experiments and Ethnographic: Evidence From Fifteen Small-Scale Societies.Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis (eds.) - 2004 - Oxford University Press UK.
    What motives underlie the ways humans interact socially? Are these the same for all societies? Are these part of our nature, or influenced by our environments?Over the last decade, research in experimental economics has emphatically falsified the textbook representation of Homo economicus. Literally hundreds of experiments suggest that people care not only about their own material payoffs, but also about such things as fairness, equity and reciprocity. However, this research left fundamental questions unanswered: Are such social preferences stable components of (...)
     
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  2.  23
    The Evolution of Altruistic Punishment.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    Robert Boyd*†, Herbert Gintis‡, Samuel Bowles§, and Peter J. Richerson¶.
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  3. The Cultural Niche.Robert Boyd - unknown
    In the last 60,000 years humans have expanded across the globe and now occupy a wider range than any other terrestrial species. Our ability to successfully adapt to such a diverse range of habitats is often explained in terms of our cognitive ability. Humans have relatively bigger brains and more computing power than other animals and this allows us to figure out how to live in a wide range of environments. Here we argue that humans may be smarter than other (...)
     
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  4. “Economic Man” in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies.Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis, Richard McElreath, Michael Alvard, Abigail Barr, Jean Ensminger, Natalie Smith Henrich, Kim Hill, Francisco Gil-White, Michael Gurven, Frank W. Marlowe & John Q. Patton - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):795-815.
    Researchers from across the social sciences have found consistent deviations from the predictions of the canonical model of self-interest in hundreds of experiments from around the world. This research, however, cannot determine whether the uniformity results from universal patterns of human behavior or from the limited cultural variation available among the university students used in virtually all prior experimental work. To address this, we undertook a cross-cultural study of behavior in ultimatum, public goods, and dictator games in a range of (...)
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  5. Kinds, Complexity, and Multiple Realization.Robert Boyd - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):67-98.
  6. Why Culture is Common, but Cultural Evolution is Rare.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    If culture is defined as variation acquired and maintained by social learning, then culture is common in nature. However, cumulative cultural evolution resulting in behaviors that no individual could invent on their own is limited to humans, song birds, and perhaps chimpanzees. Circumstantial evidence suggests that cumulative cultural evolution requires the capacity for observational learning. Here, we analyze two models the evolution of psychological capacities that allow cumulative cultural evolution. Both models suggest that the conditions which allow the evolution of (...)
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  7.  32
    Reasoning About Cultural and Genetic Transmission: Developmental and Cross‐Cultural Evidence From Peru, Fiji, and the United States on How People Make Inferences About Trait Transmission.Cristina Moya, Robert Boyd & Joseph Henrich - 2015 - Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (4):595-610.
    Using samples from three diverse populations, we test evolutionary hypotheses regarding how people reason about the inheritance of various traits. First, we provide a framework for differentiat-ing the outputs of mechanisms that evolved for reasoning about variation within and between biological taxa and culturally evolved ethnic categories from a broader set of beliefs and categories that are the outputs of structured learning mechanisms. Second, we describe the results of a modified “switched-at-birth” vignette study that we administered among children and adults (...)
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  8.  39
    Culture and the Evolution of Human Cooperation.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top here right-hand corner of the article or click..
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  9.  20
    Teaching and the Life History of Cultural Transmission in Fijian Villages.Michelle A. Kline, Robert Boyd & Joseph Henrich - 2013 - Human Nature 24 (4):351-374.
    Much existing literature in anthropology suggests that teaching is rare in non-Western societies, and that cultural transmission is mostly vertical (parent-to-offspring). However, applications of evolutionary theory to humans predict both teaching and non-vertical transmission of culturally learned skills, behaviors, and knowledge should be common cross-culturally. Here, we review this body of theory to derive predictions about when teaching and non-vertical transmission should be adaptive, and thus more likely to be observed empirically. Using three interviews conducted with rural Fijian populations, we (...)
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  10.  46
    Group Beneficial Norms Can Spread Rapidly in a Structured Population.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Group beneficial norms are common in human societies. The persistence of such norms is consistent with evolutionary game theory, but existing models do not provide a plausible explanation for why they are common. We show that when a model of imitation used to derive replicator dynamics in isolated populations is generalized to allow for population structure, group beneficial norms can spread rapidly under plausible conditions. We also show that this mechanism allows recombination of different group beneficial norms arising in..
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  11.  42
    Complex Societies: The Evolutionary Origins of a Crude Superorganism.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often conflict with (...)
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  12.  4
    Complex Societies.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1999 - Human Nature 10 (3):253-289.
    The complexity of human societies of the past few thousand years rivals that of social insect societies. We hypothesize that two sets of social “instincts” underpin and constrain the evolution of complex societies. One set is ancient and shared with other social primate species, and one is derived and unique to our lineage. The latter evolved by the late Pleistocene, and led to the evolution of institutions of intermediate complexity in acephalous societies. The institutions of complex societies often conflict with (...)
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  13.  47
    The Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Human societies are based on cooperation among large numbers of genetically unrelated individuals. This behavior is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective. Because cooperators are..
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  14. Population Size Predicts Technological Complexity in Oceania.Michelle A. Kline & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Much human adaptation depends on the gradual accumulation of culturally transmitted knowledge and technology. Recent models of this process predict that large, well-connected populations will have more diverse and complex tool kits than small, isolated populations. While several examples of the loss of technology in small populations are consistent with this prediction, it found no support in two systematic quantitative tests. Both studies were based on data from continental populations in which contact rates were not available, and therefore these studies (...)
     
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  15.  7
    The Search for an Alternative to the Sociobiological Hypothesis.Peter J. Richerson & Robert T. Boyd - 1981 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (2):248.
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  16.  29
    Why Does Culture Increase Human Adaptability?Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    It is often argued that culture is adaptive because it allows people to acquire useful information without costly learning. In a recent paper Rogers analyzed a simple mathematical model that showed that this argument is wrong. Here we show that Rogers ' result is robust. As long as the only benefit of social learning is that imitators avoid learning costs, social learning does not increase average fitness. However, we also show that social learning can be adaptive if it makes individual (...)
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  17.  11
    Cheap Talk When Interests Conflict.Joan B. Silk & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Most evolutionary analyses of animal communication suggest that low-cost signals can evolve only when both the signaller and the recipient rank outcomes in the same order. When there is a conflict of interest between sender and receiver, honest signals must be costly. However, recent work suggests that low-cost signals can be evolutionarily stable, even when the sender and the receiver rank outcomes in different orders, as long as the interest in achieving coordination is sufficiently great. In this paper, we extend (...)
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  18.  6
    Different Selection Pressures Give Rise to Distinct Ethnic Phenomena.Cristina Moya & Robert Boyd - 2015 - Human Nature 26 (1):1-27.
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  19.  42
    Models of Decision-Making and the Coevolution of Social Preferences.Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis, Richard McElreath, Michael Alvard, Abigail Barr, Jean Ensminger, Natalie Smith Henrich, Kim Hill, Francisco Gil-White, Michael Gurven, Frank W. Marlowe, John Q. Patton & David Tracer - 2005 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28 (6):838-855.
    We would like to thank the commentators for their generous comments, valuable insights and helpful suggestions. We begin this response by discussing the selfishness axiom and the importance of the preferences, beliefs, and constraints framework as a way of modeling some of the proximate influences on human behavior. Next, we broaden the discussion to ultimate-level (that is evolutionary) explanations, where we review and clarify gene-culture coevolutionary theory, and then tackle the possibility that evolutionary approaches that exclude culture might be sufficient (...)
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  20.  50
    Climate, Culture and the Evolution of Cognition.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2000 - In Celia Heyes & Ludwig Huber (eds.), The Evolution of Cognition. MIT Press. pp. 329--45.
    What are the causes of the evolution of complex cognition? Discussions of the evolution of cognition sometimes seem to assume that more complex cognition is a fundamental advance over less complex cognition, as evidenced by a broad trend toward larger brains in evolutionary history. Evolutionary biologists are suspicious of such explanations since they picture natural selection as a process leading to adaptation to local environments, not to progressive trends. Cognitive adaptations will have costs, and more complex cognition will evolve only (...)
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  21.  34
    Rapid Cultural Adaptation Can Facilitate the Evolution of Large-Scale Cooperation.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Over the past several decades, we have argued that cultural evolution can facilitate the evolution of largescale cooperation because it often leads to more rapid adaptation than genetic evolution, and, when multiple stable equilibria exist, rapid adaptation leads to variation among groups. Recently, Lehmann, Feldman, and colleagues have published several papers questioning this argument. They analyze models showing that cultural evolution can actually reduce the range of conditions under which cooperation can evolve and interpret these models as indicating that we (...)
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  22.  23
    Division of Labor, Economic Specialization, and the Evolution of Social Stratification.Robert Boyd & Joseph Henrich - unknown
    This paper presents a simple mathematical model that shows how economic inequality between social groups can arise and be maintained even when the only adaptive learning process driving cultural evolution increases individuals’ economic gains. The key assumptions are that human populations are structured into groups and that cultural learning is more likely to occur within than between groups. Then, if groups are sufficiently isolated and there are potential gains from specialization and exchange, stable stratification can sometimes result. This model predicts (...)
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  23.  37
    Transmission Coupling Mechanisms: Cultural Group Selection.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    The application of phylogenetic methods to cultural variation raises questions about how cultural adaption works and how it is coupled to cultural transmission. Cultural group selection is of particular interest in this context because it depends on the same kinds of mechanisms that lead to tree-like patterns of cultural variation. Here, we review ideas about cultural group selection relevant to cultural phylogenetics. We discuss why group selection among multiple equilibria is not subject to the usual criticisms directed at group selection, (...)
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  24. Gene–Culture Coevolution and the Evolution of Social Institutions.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Social institutions are the laws, informal rules, and conventions that give durable structure to social interactions within a population. Such institutions are typically not designed consciously, are heritable at the population level, are frequently but not always group benefi cial, and are often symbolically marked. Conceptualizing social institutions as one of multiple possible stable cultural equilibrium allows a straightforward explanation of their properties. The evolution of institutions is partly driven by both the deliberate and intuitive decisions of individuals and collectivities. (...)
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  25.  34
    Memes: Universal Acid or a Better Mouse Trap?Rob Boyd - manuscript
    Among the many vivid metaphors in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, one stands out. The understanding of how cumulative natural selection gives rise to adaptations is, Dennett says, like a “universal acid”—an idea so powerful and corrosive of conventional wisdom that it dissolves all attempts to contain it within biology. Like most good ideas, this one is very simple: Once replicators (material objects that are faithfully copied) come to exist, some will replicate more rapidly than others, leading to adaptation by natural selection. (...)
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  26.  40
    Response to Our Critics.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):301-315.
  27. Why Possibly Language Evolved.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Human syntactic language has no close parallels in other systems of animal communication. Yet it seems to be an important part of the cultural adaptation that serves to make humans the earth’s dominant organism. Why is language restricted to humans given that communication seems to be so useful? We argue that language is part of human cooperation. We talk because others can normally trust what we say to be useful to them, not just to us. Models of gene-culture coevolution give (...)
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  28.  29
    Built for Speed, Not for Comfort.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 2001 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 23:423-463.
  29. Simple Models of Complex Phenomena: The Case of Cultural Evolution.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1987 - In John Dupre (ed.), The Latest on the Best: Essays on Evolution and Optimality. MIT Press. pp. 27--52.
     
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  30.  40
    Norms and Bounded Rationality.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Anthropologists believe that human behavior is governed by culturally transmitted norms, and that such norms contain accumulated wisdom that allows people to behave sensibly even though they do not understand why they do what they do. Economists and other rational choice theorists have been skeptical about functionalist claims because anthropologists have not provided any plausible mechanism which could explain why norms have this property. Here, we outline two such mechanisms. We show that occasional learning when coupled with cultural transmission and (...)
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  31.  45
    Why Is Culture Adaptive?Robert Boyd - unknown
    species is the extent t0 which behavior is acquired by teaching and imitation. The rapid radiation of the human species into a large variety of ecological niches over a wide geographical range during the last 100,000 years suggests that this mode of adaptation may be quite effective. Until recently, however, few evolutionary biologists have attempted to identify the properties of cultural transmission that make it an effective way of acquiring behavior. Very different answers to this question have been suggested by (...)
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  32.  33
    Are Cultural Phylogenies Possible?Robert Boyd, Monique Bogerhoff-Mulder & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Biology and the social sciences share an interest in phylogeny. Biologists know that living species are descended from past species, and use the pattern of similarities among living species to reconstruct the history of phylogenetic branching. Social scientists know that the beliefs, values, practices, and artifacts that characterize contemporary societies are descended from past societies, and some social science disciplines, linguistics and cross cultural anthropology for example, have made use of observed similarities to reconstruct cultural histories. Darwin appreciated that his (...)
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  33.  46
    Solving the Puzzle of Human Cooperation.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    Is society an organic whole with each of its many components working together like the organs in a body? Like organisms, societies are composed of many parts which seem to work together enhance their survival. Different people fulfill different, necessary role—subsistence, reproduction, coordination, and defense. Regular exchange of matter and energy guarantees that each component has the resources it needs. Norms, laws and customs regulate virtually every aspect of social interaction, who may marry who, how disputes are resolved, and how (...)
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  34.  43
    A Simple Dual Inheritance Model of the Conflict Between Social and Biological Evolution.Robort Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - 1976 - Zygon 11 (3):254-262.
  35.  87
    Culture, Adaptation, and Innateness.Robert Boyd & Peter Richerson - 2006 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents.
    It is almost 30 years since the sociobiology controversy burst into full bloom. The modern theory of the evolution of animal behavior was born in the mid 1960’s with Bill Hamilton’s seminal papers on inclusive fitness and George William’s book Adaptation and Natural Selection. The following decade saw an avalanche of important ideas on the evolution of sex ratio, animal conflicts, parental investment, and reciprocity, setting off a revolution our understanding of animal societies, a revolution that is still going on (...)
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  36.  58
    Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small- Scale Societies.Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis - unknown
    Recent investigations have uncovered large, consistent deviations from the predictions of the textbook representation of Homo economicus (Roth et al, 1992, Fehr and Gächter, 2000, Camerer 2001). One problem appears to lie in economists’ canonical assumption that individuals are entirely self-interested: in addition to their own material payoffs, many experimental subjects appear to care about fairness and reciprocity, are willing to change the distribution of material outcomes at personal cost, and reward those who act in a cooperative manner while punishing (...)
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  37.  31
    Built for Speed, Not for Comfort. Darwinian Theory and Human Culture.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1997 - Philosophica 60 (3/4):425 - 465.
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  38.  28
    Evolution on a Restless Planet: Were Environmental Variability and Environmental Change Major Drivers of Human Evolution?Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Two kinds of factors set the tempo and direction of organic and cultural evolution, those external to biotic evolutionary process, such as changes in the earth’s physical and chemical environments, and those internal to it, such as the time required for chance factors to lead lineages across adaptive valleys to a new niche space (Valentine 1985). The relative importance of these two sorts of processes is widely debated. Valentine (1973) argued that marine invertebrate diversity patterns responded to seafloor spreading as (...)
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  39.  45
    Individual Decision Making and the Evolutionary Roots of Institutions.Robert Boyd, Gerd Gigerenzer, Peter J. Richerson, Arthur Robson, Jeffrey R. Stevens & Peter Hammerstein - unknown
    Humans hunt and kill many different species of animals, but whales are our biggest prey. In the North Atlantic, a male long-fi nned pilot whale (Globiceph- ala melaena), a large relative of the dolphins, can grow as large as 6.5 meters and weigh as much as 2.5 tons. As whales go, these are not particularly large, but there are more than 750,000 pilot whales in the North Atlantic, traveling in groups, “pods,” that range from just a few individuals to a (...)
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  40.  24
    Payoff Biased Migration and the Evolution of Group Beneficial Behavior.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Human migration is nonrandom. In small scale societies of the past, and in the modern world, people tend to move to wealthier, safer, and more just societies from poorer, more violent, less just societies. If immigrants are assimilated, such nonrandom migration can increase the occurrence of culturally transmitted beliefs, values, and institutions that cause societies to be attractive to immigrants. Here we describe and analyze a simple model of this process. This model suggests that long run outcomes depend on the (...)
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  41.  20
    Culture, Adaptation.Robert Boyd & Peter I. Richerson - 2005 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. Oxford University Press. pp. 2--23.
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  42.  41
    Does Film Weaken Spectator Consciousness?Robert Boyd & Spencer K. Wertz - 2003 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 37 (2):73-79.
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  43.  19
    Constraints on the Development of Agriculture.Peter Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    Evolutionary scholars advance two major sorts of hypotheses to explain big events, such as the origin of agriculture. One hypothesis assumes that natural selection is so powerful that organisms are always close to an evolutionary equilibrium with current environment. Thus, any major changes will be a result of external processes having to do with the environment. The other camp imagines that evolution is a slow, halting, and biased process that is limited and directed by internal obstacles that thwart what natural (...)
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  44.  32
    Punishment Sustains Large-Scale Cooperation in Prestate Warfare.Robert Boyd & Simon A. Levin - unknown
    Understanding cooperation and punishment in small-scale societies is crucial for explaining the origins of human cooperation. We studied warfare among the Turkana, a politically uncentralized, egalitarian, nomadic pastoral society in East Africa. Based on a representative sample of 88 recent raids, we show that the Turkana sustain costly cooperation in combat at a remarkably large scale, at least in part, through punishment of free-riders. Raiding parties comprised several hundred warriors and participants are not kin or day-to-day interactants. Warriors incur substantial (...)
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  45.  21
    On Modeling Cognition and Culture.Robert Boyd - unknown
    Formal models of cultural evolution analyze how cognitive processes combine with social interaction to generate the distributions and dynamics of ‘representations.’ Recently, cognitive anthropologists have criticized such models. They make three points: mental representations are non-discrete, cultural transmission is highly inaccurate, and mental representations are not replicated, but rather are ‘reconstructed’ through an inferential process that is strongly affected by cognitive ‘attractors.’ They argue that it follows from these three claims that: 1) models that assume replication or replicators are inappropriate, (...)
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  46.  36
    Evolutionary Dynamics of the Continuous Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    The iterated prisoner’s dilemma (IPD) has been widely used in the biological and social sciences to model dyadic cooperation. While most of this work has focused on the discrete prisoner’s dilemma, in which actors choose between cooperation and defection, there has been some analysis of the continuous IPD, in which actors can choose any level of cooperation from zero to one. Here, we analyse a model of the continuous IPD with a limited strategy set, and show that a generous strategy (...)
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  47.  30
    Darwinian Models of Culture: Toward Replacing the Nature/Nurture Dichotomy.Peter Richerson & Robert Boyd - 1992 - World Futures 34 (1):43-57.
    (1992). Darwinian models of culture: Toward replacing the nature/nurture dichotomy. World Futures: Vol. 34, Evolutionary Models in the Social Sciences, pp. 43-57.
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  48.  27
    Shared Norms Can Lead to the Evolution of Ethnic Markers.Robert Boyd & Peter J. Richerson - unknown
    Most human populations are subdivided into ethnic groups which have self-ascribed membership and are marked by seemingly arbitrary traits such as distinctive styles of dress or speech. Existing explanations of ethnicity do not adequately explain the origin and maintenance of group marking. Here we develop a mathematical model which shows that groups distinguished by both differences in social norms and in arbitrary markers can emerge and remain stable despite significant mixing between them, if (1) people preferentially interact in mutually beneficial (...)
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  49.  30
    Migration: An Engine for Social Improvement the Movement of People Into Societies That Offer a Better Way of Life is a More Powerful Driver of Cultural Change Than Conflict and Conquest.Peter J. Richerson & Robert Boyd - unknown
    As cultural evolutionists interested in how culture changes over the long term, we've thought and written a lot about migration, but only recently tumbled to an obvious idea: migration has a profound effect on how societies evolve culturally because it is selective. People move to societies that provide a more attractive way of life, and all other things being equal, this process spreads ideas and institutions that lead to economic efficiency, social order and equality.
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  50. Cultural Evolution of Human Cooperation.Rob Boyd - manuscript
    We review the evolutionary theory relevant to the question of human cooperation and compare the results to other theoretical perspectives. Then, we summarize some of our work distilling a compound explanation that we believe gives a plausible account of human cooperation and selfishness. This account leans heavily on group selection on cultural variation but also includes lower-level forces driven by both microscale cooperation and purely selfish motives. We propose that innate aspects of human social psychology coevolved with group-selected cultural institutions (...)
     
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