A renormalization group theory of cultural evolution

Gábor Fáth, Miklos Sarvary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


We present a theory of cultural evolution based upon a renormalization group scheme. We consider rational but cognitively limited agents who optimize their decision-making process by iteratively updating and refining the mental representation of their natural and social environment. These representations are built around the most important degrees of freedom of their world. Cultural coherence among agents is defined as the overlap of mental representations and is characterized using an adequate order parameter. As the importance of social interactions increases or agents become more intelligent, we observe and quantify a series of dynamic phase transitions by which cultural coherence advances in the society. A similar phase transition may explain the so-called "cultural explosion'' in human evolution some 50,000 years ago.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-629
Number of pages19
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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