2006-05-18

flocking memes...

Some ideas just came up, after a talk I had with Klaas, who is making a PhD on memetics...

In cultural transmission of fads and so on, I've heard that there are models in which the majority imitates an elite, and the elite tries to go away from the crowd, and that gives you the dynamics...
The idea is that maybe another way of looking at this phenomenon is to take the analogy of flocking: birds try to keep together (safety, direction, whatever reason), but also keep average distance to their neighbours (not to crash). If we take this mechanism into the memetic space, people will imitate many aspects surrounding them, just because of mirron neurons and the evolutionary advantage of imitation. But the separation is also important, for people assert their individuality with it... This could be seen as taking the inverse of a meme... starting to sounds like dialectics... (who would have thought that Hegel and starlings had lots in common...)
Of course in the social context there are many aspects that influence the imitation or avoidance/negation of a meme, but maybe the analogy with flocking and its self-organization is worth looking into... Just need to make a simulation where spreading of memes follows the mechanism just described, and compare it with the elitist models...

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