Modelling Social Evolution

Formal mathematical models are central to the theories of social evolution developed over the last few decades. Yet – for those of us without a mathematical background – getting to grips with these models can be difficult.

LERN is considering setting up a regular study group on the use of models in social evolution. The meetings would be based around Mathematical Models of Social Evolution; a Guide for the Perplexed by Richerson & McElreath, an introductory text that also covers models relating to genetic and cultural evolution.

This is intended as a participant-led study group for people new modelling approaches. A basic understanding of algebra is all that’s needed.

Mathematical Models of Social Evolution is available from Amazon and costs £15 – £20. Links to reviews by Daniel Nettle (PDF) and Daniel Rankin (PDF), and the first chapter of the book (PDF).

If you’re please interested email micheal.debarra {at} If there is sufficient interest we will canvass ideas on how you would like the meetings to be run, as well as the best time and place.

Edit: Meetings now take place once a week in UCL anthropology department, usually on a Thursday evening. New recruits always welcome – get in touch on the email address above.