Marco and Erol’s new paper is now online at Evolutionary Human Sciences (link). In this paper, we show that the coevolutionary dynamics of social network structure and cumulative culture creates a conflict over group-level payoffs and individual payoffs. Specifically, group level payoffs are maximized with densely connected networks that create a highly specialized and proficient culture, but individuals in such populations are selected to have fewer connections. This eventually erodes the network connectivity enough that a high proficiency culture cannot be maintained. We also explore this process in variable and heterogenous environments.

Also check out the press release on Penn Today.