UBC Faculty Research and Publications

How creative should creators be to optimize the evolution of ideas? : A computational model Leijnen, Stefan; Gabora, Liane


There are both benefits and drawbacks to creativity. In a social group it is not necessary for all members to be creative to benefit from creativity; some merely imitate or enjoy the fruits of others’ creative efforts. What proportion should be creative? This paper contains a very preliminary investi-gation of this question carried out using a computer model of cultural evolution referred to as EVOC (for EVOlution of Culture). EVOC is composed of neural network based agents that evolve fitter ideas for actions by (1) inventing new ideas through modification of existing ones, and (2) imitating neighbors’ ideas. The ideal proportion with respect to fitness of ideas occurs when thirty to forty percent of the individuals is creative. When creators are inventing 50% of iterations or less, mean fitness of actions in the society is a positive function of the ratio of creators to imitators; otherwise mean fitness of actions starts to drop when the ratio of creators to imitators exceeds approximately 30%. For all levels of creativity, the diversity of ideas in a population is positively correlated with the ratio of creative agents.

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