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Evolutionary Decomposition and the Mechanisms of Cultural Change


Beginning with the Price equation, recent work has developed the method of evolutionary decomposition, an exact partitioning of mean phenotypic change into underlying demographic processes.  We present a method of evolutionary decomposition for human cultural change, and a demonstration of this method on three centuries of half-decadal census records collected from a simulated island population.  By decomposing phenotypic trajectories, we can develop and evaluate suitable hypotheses of the driving mechanisms of cultural evolution.

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