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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structure and Dynamics

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The Structure and Dynamics eJournal welcomes articles, book reviews, data, simulations, research material, and special issues that examine aspects of human evolution, social structure and behavior, culture, cognition, or related topics. Our goal is to advance the historic mission of anthropology in the broadest sense to describe and explain the range of variation in human biology, society, culture and civilization across time and space. Submissions of databases, software tutorials, programs, and teaching materials are welcomed, as are communications on research materials of interest to a wide variety of science and social science researchers, including networks, dynamical models, and complexity research and related genre.


Core/periphery Structures and Trust in Distributed Work Groups: A comparative case study

Trust is crucial for modern organizations and in particular in cases of virtual and distributed work. In such organizations much of the communication is based on electronic media, and the collaborators often know very little about each other when they start collaborating. Due to geographical boundaries it often takes a longer time to build trust in such organizations, and in difficult situations there is a risk of developing distrust rather than trust. This paper is concerned with how trust can be developed in highly distributed groups, and the network-related mechanisms that are used to build trust under such conditions. Based on a comparative study of vocational strong ties (intense, work-related) in four distributed groups, the study suggests that groups with higher levels of trust have an integrating core of collaborators that connects to central employees at the involved local sites. In contrast, the groups with lower trust had moved in the direction of establishing dual core structures with fewer boundary-crossing strong ties. Three central trust building mechanisms initiated by the integrating cores are discussed including; immediate coordination, visualization of work tasks and moderating conflicts.

  • 1 supplemental file

An Agent-based Model of Prehistoric Settlement Patterns and Political Consolidation in the Lake Titicaca Basin of Peru and Bolivia

Insights into prehistoric region-wide political consolidation were suggested by simulation results from an agent-based model of pre-state societies. The case study was the late prehistoric period circa 2500 BC to AD 1000 in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia. Over a series of simulation runs the model produced a range of alternative political pre-histories. A substantial proportion of those runs were classified as matching the scenario archeologists believe actually happened during this time period. Classification was based on multidimensional quantitative measures of empirical criteria for the emergence of simulated macro-level patterns corresponding to observed patterns in the archaeological record.

The model’s structure consisted of a grid of cells, each scaled to 1.5 km x 1.5 km, representing the geography, hydrology, and agricultural potential of the 50,000 sq. km basin. A collection of multiple agents--Settlements, Peoples, Polities, and Chiefs (political leaders) -- interacted with the environmental grid and with each other. The agents’ behavior was modeled as micro-level condition-action rules based on the hypothesized causal factors of: agriculture, migration, competition, and trade. Internal structure and dynamics as well as the simulation results showed strong indicators of the model’s structural realism. Uncertainties associated with the model were also assessed.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP
  • 1 supplemental file