A Proximate Mechanism for Communities of Agents to Commemorate Long Dead Ancestors
Many human cultures engage in the collective commemoration of dead members of their community. Ancestor veneration and other forms of commemoration may help to reduce social distance within groups, thereby encouraging reciprocity and providing a significant survival advantage. Here we present a simulation in which a prototypical form of ancestor commemoration arises spontaneously among computational agents programmed to have a small number of established human capabilities. Specifically, ancestor commemoration arises among agents that: a) form relationships with each other, b) communicate those relationships to each other, and c) undergo cycles of life and death. By demonstrating that ancestor commemoration could have arisen from the interactions of a small number of simpler behavioural patterns, this simulation may provide insight into the workings of human cultural systems, and ideas about how to study ancestor commemoration among humans.
Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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