Group size and cultural complexity

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Abstract

arising from M. Derex, M.-P. Beugin, B. Godelle & M. Raymond Nature503, 389–391 (2013)

A decade ago, Henrich1proposed group size as a driver of cultural complexity. Derexet al.2now 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 societies3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. There is a Reply to this Brief Communication Arising by Derex, M.et al.Nature511, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13412(2014).

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