Journal article

Cultural evolution: the case of babies’ first names

  • Xi, Ning Research Center for Complex Systems Science, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology - Shanghai, China
  • Zhang, Zi-Ke College of Communication Engineering, Chongqing University - Chongqing, China - Alibaba Research Center for Complexity Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University - Hangzhou, China
  • Zhang, Yi-Cheng Research Center for Complex Systems Science, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology - Shanghai, China - Alibaba Research Center for Complexity Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University - Hangzhou, China - Department of Physics, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Ge, Zehui Dongling School of Economics and Management, University of Science and Technology Beijing, China
  • She, Li Alibaba Research Center for Complexity Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University - Hangzhou, China
  • Zhang, Kui College of Communication Engineering, Chongqing University - Chongqing, China
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    15.07.2014
Published in:
  • Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications. - 2014, vol. 406, p. 139–144
English In social sciences, there is currently rare consensus on the underlying mechanism for cultural evolution, partially due to lack of suitable data. The evolution of first names of newborn babies offers a remarkable example for such researches. In this paper, we employ the historical data on baby names from the United States to investigate the evolutionary process of culture, in particular focusing on how inequality among baby names changes over time. Then we propose a stochastic model where individual choice is determined by both individual preference and social influence, and show that the decrease in the strength of social influence can account for all the observed empirical features. Therefore, we claim that the weakening of social influence drives cultural evolution.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences
Department
Physique
Language
  • English
Classification
Physics
License
License undefined
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/303808
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