Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed

Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed

Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226558264

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Over the last several decades, mathematical models have become central to the study of social evolution, both in biology and the social sciences. But students in these disciplines often seriously lack the tools to understand them. A primer on behavioral modeling that includes both mathematics and evolutionary theory, this book aims to make the student and professional researcher in biology and the social sciences fully conversant in the language of the field. Teaching biological concepts from which models can be developed, the book introduces readers to many of the typical mathematical tools that are used to analyze evolutionary models and end each chapter with a set of problems that draw upon these techniques. The book equips behaviorists and evolutionary biologists with the mathematical knowledge to truly understand the models on which their research depends. Ultimately, the book's goal is to impart the fundamental concepts that underlie modern biological understandings of the evolution of behavior so that readers will be able to more fully appreciate journal articles and scientific literature, and start building models of their own.