CSH Talk by Kenji Itao: “Explaining universality and diversity in social phenomena using evolutionary simulation”

Oct 05, 2022 | 15:0016:00

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Kenji Itao from the University of Tokyo will give a live talk on Wednesday, October 5 at 15 pm in the Salon.


If you would like to attend, please email to office@csh.ac.at.


Title: “Explaining universality and diversity in social phenomena using evolutionary simulation”



Societies all over the world are strikingly diverse. However, one can find the similarity in the societies far away from each other and thus, their diversity is patterned. As long as we consider societies composed as human groups, we can expect some general form of interaction between individuals. If this is the case, it is worth considering how the quantitative difference in microscopic human behavior results in different macroscopic structures.

In this talk, I deal with two topics. One is the evolution of kinship structures in clan societies. The other is the transition of social structures driven by gift interactions. For both, by referring to the ethnographic reports, I built the model of people’s interactions therein. Considering long-term social change, evolutionary simulation demonstrates the emergence of characteristic social structures that anthropologists have observed. Then, by examining the parameter dependence of the emergent structures, I provide a phase diagram to explain their environmental dependencies.

Finally, I test the theoretical results by statistical analysis of the cross-cultural database. The study on kinship structure is based on [1, 2], and that on gift is based on [3].


[1] K. Itao and K. Kaneko. “Evolution of kinship structures driven by marriage tie and competition.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020.
[2] K. Itao and K. Kaneko. “Emergence of Kinship Structures and Descent Systems: Multi-level Evolutionary Simulation and Empirical Data Analyses.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2022.
[3] K. Itao and K. Kaneko. “Transition of Social Organizations Driven by Gift Relationship.” arXiv, 2022.



Kenji Itao is a Ph.D student at Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo.

He received a BS and MS degree in Basic sciences from the University of Tokyo. He applies the method of statistical physics and evolutionary biology to build the abstract model for anthropological phenomena. His research interests are in the emergence of society-level structures from family-level interactions. His research project has focused on kinship structures, family systems and social hierarchies.


Oct 05, 2022


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