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Group size and cultural complexity

A decade ago, Henrich proposed group size as a driver of cultural complexity. Derex et al.2 now present experimental results they say support this ‘group size hypothesis’ by seemingly showing that larger groups perform better than smaller groups under imitation-based cultural evolution. Our reanalysis of their experimental data, however, shows that larger groups actually perform worse than smaller groups. Thus, contrary to their claim, their data are consistent with empirical evidence discounting the group size hypothesis for non-food producing societies.

Published on:
Nature 511, E1 (03 July 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13411
Received 15 March 2014 Accepted 10 April 2014 Published online 02 July 2014