Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Conformity cannot be identified based on population-level signatures

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Author(s)

Alberto Acerbi, Eduard Johannes Cornelis van Leeuwen, Daniel Haun, Claudio Tennie

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Conformist transmission, defined as a disproportionate likelihood to copy the majority, is considered a potent mechanism underlying the emergence and stabilization of cultural diversity. However, ambiguity within and across disciplines remains as to how to identify conformist transmission empirically. In most studies, a population level outcome has been taken as the benchmark to evidence conformist transmission: a sigmoidal relation between individuals’ probability to copy the majority and the proportional majority size. Using an individual-based model, we show that, under ecologically plausible conditions, this sigmoidal relation can also be detected without equipping individuals with a conformist bias. Situations in which individuals copy randomly from a fixed subset of demonstrators in the population, or in which they have a preference for one of the possible variants, yield similar sigmoidal patterns as a conformist bias would. Our findings warrant a revisiting of studies that base their conformist transmission conclusions solely on the sigmoidal curve. More generally, our results indicate that population level outcomes interpreted as conformist transmission could potentially be explained by other individual-level strategies, and that more empirical support is needed to prove the existence of an individual-level conformist bias in human and other animals.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number36068
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2016

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by journal

  1. Pax3/7 duplicated and diverged independently in amphioxus, the basal chordate lineage

    Barton-Owen, T., Ferrier, D. E. K. & Somorjai, I. M. L. 20 Jun 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 11 p., 9414

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  2. Native electrospray mass spectrometry approaches to probe the interaction between zinc and an anti-angiogenic peptide from histidine-rich glycoprotein

    Martin, E. M., Kondrat, F. D. L., Stewart, A. J., Scrivens, J. H., Sadler, P. J. & Blindauer, C. A. 5 Jun 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 13 p., 8646

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  3. Ocean acidification promotes otolith growth and calcite deposition in gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) larvae

    Coll-Lladó, C., Giebichenstein, J., Webb, P. B., Bridges, C. R. & Garcia de la Serrana, D. 30 May 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 10 p., 8384

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  4. Hot-Hole cooling controls the initial ultrafast relaxation in methylammonium lead iodide perovskite

    Hedley, G. J., Quarti, C., Harwell, J. R., Prezhdo, O., Beljonne, D. & Samuel, I. D. W. 25 May 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 9 p., 8115

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  5. Intensified summer monsoon and the urbanization of Indus Civilization in northwest India

    Dixit, Y., Hodell, D. A., Giesche, A., Tandon, S. K., Gázquez, F., Saini, H. S., Skinner, L. C., Mujtaba, S. A. I., Pawar, V., Singh, R. N. & Petrie, C. A. 9 Mar 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 8, 8 p., 4225

    Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Related by journal

  1. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Borst, A. M. (Reviewer)
    10 Feb 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Somorjai, I. M. L. (Reviewer)
    2016 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Carroll, E. L. (Member of editorial board)
    3 Oct 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  4. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Pulver, S. (Editor)
    12 Feb 201512 Feb 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditor of research journal

  5. Scientific Reports (Journal)

    Bruce, G. D. (Reviewer)
    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPeer review of manuscripts

ID: 247649615