A Computational Model of Two Cognitive Transitions Underlying Cultural Evolution

15 Oct 2013Liane GaboraWei Wen ChiaHadi Firouzi

We tested the computational feasibility of the proposal that open-ended cultural evolution was made possible by two cognitive transitions: (1) onset of the capacity to chain thoughts together, followed by (2) onset of contextual focus (CF): the capacity to shift between a divergent mode of thought conducive to 'breaking out of a rut' and a convergent mode of thought conducive to minor modifications. These transitions were simulated in EVOC, an agent-based model of cultural evolution, in which the fitness of agents' actions increases as agents invent ideas for new actions, and imitate the fittest of their neighbors' actions... (read more)

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