Culture-driven population dynamics: sustainable or unsustainable? This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.orgWhen looking at culture-driven population dynamics, a common assumption is that there’s a positive feedback between cultural evolution and demographic growth. The general prediction, then, is for unlimited growth in population and culture. Yet models based on these assumptions tend to ignore important aspects of cultural evolution, namely: (1) cultural transmission is not perfect; (2) culture does not always promote population growth. Ghirlanda et al (2010) incorporate these two features into a model, and arrive at some interesting conclusions. In particular, they argue those populations maintaining large amounts of culture may run the risk of extinction rather than stability or growth.

Continue reading “Culture-driven population dynamics: sustainable or unsustainable?”

The story of Jeremy and his magic magnets

Note: Before reading this post, you should pop over to the Independent and read this shocking piece of journalism by Jeremy Laurance: Magnet’s can improve Alzheimer’s symptoms. Then, read the scientific report in question: Improved language performance in Alzheimer disease following brain stimulation. I found myself asking how Mr Laurance could have come up with this, and reached the following conclusion…

Continue reading “The story of Jeremy and his magic magnets”