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The contemporary global language " extinction crisis " has been analyzed by several influential linguists using concepts from ecology. In this article we study different reaction–diffusion models to explain the dynamics of language competition. We are mainly interested in situations where one language has a status advantage compared with the other. We(More)
This paper examines the evidence for selective reproduction of ceramic types based on their evolving frequency distribution, and on correlations of the abundance of types with underlying functional characteristics. How can we tell if a variant has been preferentially selected or discriminated against, and become more or less frequent than would be expected(More)
Theoretical analyses within the broad field of social learning research give mixed conclusions on whether the shape of a diffusion curve can be used to infer that a learned trait increases through social or asocial learning. Here we explore how factors such as task structure (e.g., multiple-step tasks), task abandonment, subgoal learning, and neophobia(More)
Attempts to describe language competition and extinction in a mathematical way have enjoyed increased popularity recently. In this paper I review recent modeling approaches and, based on these findings, propose a model of reaction-diffusion type. I analyze the dynamics of interactions of a population with two monolingual groups and a group that is bilingual(More)
This chapter argues that an evolutionary cultural approach to language not only has already proven fruitful, but it probably holds the key to understand many puzzling aspects of language, its change and origins. The chapter begins by highlighting several still common misconceptions about language that might seem to call into question a cultural evolutionary(More)
In this paper we consider the spread of modern technological innovations. We contrast social learning and threshold heterogeneity models of innovation diffusion, and show how the typical temporal evolution of the distribution of adopters may be consistent with either explanation. Noting the likelihood that each model contains some useful independent(More)
Differences between men and women in the performance of tests designed to measure spatial abilities are explained by evolutionary psychologists in terms of adaptive design. The Hunter-Gatherer Theory of Spatial Ability suggests that the adoption of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (assuming a sexual division of labor) created differential selective pressure on(More)
In recent years, laboratory studies of cultural evolution have become increasingly prevalent as a means of identifying and understanding the effects of cultural transmission on the form and functionality of transmitted material. The datasets generated by these studies may provide insights into the conditions encouraging, or inhibiting, high rates of(More)
Cultural change can be quantified by temporal changes in frequency of different cultural artefacts and it is a central question to identify what underlying cultural transmission processes could have caused the observed frequency changes. Observed changes, however, often describe the dynamics in samples of the population of artefacts, whereas transmission(More)
We consider the dynamics of cultural evolution in spatially-structured populations. Most spatially explicit modeling approaches can be broadly divided into two classes: micro-and macro-level models. Macro-level models study cultural evolution at the population level and describe the average behavior of the considered system. Conversely, micro-level models(More)