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The Cultural Evolution Society's Online Learning Series

Foundations of Cultural Evolution

Lecture 9: Does selection work on groups?

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Selection operating on multiple evolutionary stable strategies

While much of evolutionary thinking has revolved around selection on individuals, another thread of inquiry has asked the same of groups. If separate groups arrive at different equilibrium traits and those traits are heritable, then it is possible that higher-fitness equilibria persist or are adopted by other groups. In this module we will see how selection on groups works.

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References cited

Boyd, R., & Richerson, P. J. (2002). Group beneficial norms can spread rapidly in a structured population. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 215(3), 287-296.

Additional readings about equilibrium selection

Boyd, R., & Richerson, P. J. (1990). Group selection among alternative evolutionarily stable strategies. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 145(3), 331-342.

Boyd, R., & Richerson, P. J. (2009). Voting with your feet: Payoff biased migration and the evolution of group beneficial behavior. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 257(2), 331-339.

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