Monday, March 26, 2007


One implication of the random-copying model paper is that many of the cultural phenomena that we see are actually a reflection of the effect of random copying between individuals. We like to think that we strategies what we do or that we have a good "reasons" for what we do. While people may have all kinds of rationale for what they do, the data consistently show that change is a function of copying. To the right is another example of this effect. The graph shows the incidence of reports of "UFO" sightings per day from June 1 through July 30, 1947. The distribution is consistent with a trait moving through a population copying in a random fashion. I suspect the "witch sightings" data from the Salem during the late 17th century take the same distribution. Could incidence of mentions of WMD in Iraq by the Bush administration be the same?

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