Jenna Bednar, Scott Page

Paper #: 04-12-039

The hallmarks of “cultural behavior” are consistency within and across individuals, variance between populations, behavioral stickiness, and suboptimal performance. In this paper, we build a formal framework within which we can derive each of these five behavioral attributes. Our framework rests on two primary assumptions: (i) agents play ensembles of games, not just single games as is traditionally the case in evolutionary game theory models and (ii) agents have finite cognitive capacity. Our analysis combines agent-based techniques and mathematics. The former enable us to explore dynamics and the latter allow us to prove when the behaviors produced by the agents are equilibria. Our results provide game theoretic foundations for cultural diversity and agent-based support for how cultural behavior might emerge.