An abstract model showing that the spatial structure of social networks affects the outcomes of cultural transmission processes

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Abstract

Space plays an important role in the transfer of information in most societies that archaeologists study. Social networks that mediate learning and the transmission of cultural information are situated in spatial environments. This paper uses an abstract agent-based model to represent the transmission of the value of a single "stylistic" variable among groups linked together within a social network, the spatial structure of which is varied using a few simple parameters. The properties of the networks are shown to clearly affect both the overall amount of variability that is produced by the cultural transmission process and the spatial organization of that variability. The relationships between network structure, network properties, and assemblage variability in this simple model are patterned and predictable. This suggests that changes in the spatial structure of social networks may have important implications for interpreting patterns of artifact variability in large-scale archaeological assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJASSS
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Archaeology
  • Cultural transmission
  • Network properties
  • Network structure
  • Social networks
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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