CARTER, HAROLD, JR.; PHD

                         STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO, 1986
                         ANTHROPOLOGY, CULTURAL (0326)

                         This work reports the results of the comparison to two computer simulation models of diffusion. These
                         models are derived from two distinct views of diffusion. The Contagion Model is based on the
                         anthropologically ambient view of diffusion as based primarily on proximity of the exchanging cultures.
                         This model is similar to the general model of diffusion of innovation in geography, the Hagerstrand
                         Model. The Selection Model sees diffusion as a process similar to gene flow in biology. In this view, what
                         is passed between cultures is the same as in the contagion model; however, the selection model differs
                         by seeing what is maintained in a culture's 'trait inventory' as the result of selection. This model is drawn
                         from an evolutionary perspective for the study of cultural change. It includes ideas similar to Clark
                         Wissler's, Raoul Naroll's selection interpretation, and Cavalli-Sforza and Feldman's cultural selection -
                         natural selection model. The perspective is derived by considering biological or cultural populations that
                         undergo evolution as systems. By using the basic notions of system, the main features of evolutionary
                         biological theory and applying these to cultural phenomena, a framework for seeing cultural change as
                         evolution is developed. The key points gained from the results of the 1600 simulations and their
                         comparison with ethnographic data on 12 variables for Africa and North America are: (1) The features of
                         the Contagion Model produce a fixation rate of .969 which means that fewer than 4% of the simulation
                         runs result in a trait dispersion comparable to the ethnographic data. (2) The features of the Selection
                         Model produce fixation in less than 14% of the runs. More than 86% of the runs produce dispersions
                         similar to those found for the ethnographic data. One of the model's chief features, consistent with
                         previous research, are fall off curves of similarity with distance. (3) The fixation rate measured in the
                         ethnographic data is between 12% and 17%, which closely matches the rate found in the selection
                         model simulations. Within the limits of this study the Model II, Diffusion with Selection, results better fit
                         the real data and support the selectionist cultural evolution interpretation of diffusion.


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