Friday, April 24, 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Research Hall, Third Floor

At the root of sociality: Working towards emergent, permanent, social affines

Ovi Chris Rouly, PhD Candidate
Department of Computational Social Science
George Mason University

ABSTRACT: Complexity science often uses generative models to study and explain the emergent behavior of humans, human culture, and human patterns of social organization. In spite of this, little is actually known about how the lowest levels of human social organization came into being. That is, little is actually known about how the earliest members of our hominini tribe transitioned from being presumably small-groups of ape-like polygynous/promiscuous individuals (beginning perhaps with Ardipithecus or Australopithecus after the time of the Pan-Homo split in the late Pliocene to early Pleistocene eras) into family units having stable breeding-bonds, extended families, and clans. What were the causal mechanisms (biological, possibly cognitive, social, and environmental, etc.) that were responsible for the conversion? To confound the issue, it is also possible the conversion process itself was a complex system replete with input sensitivities and path dependencies i.e., a nested complex system. One author has referred to similar processes and their distinctive social arrangements as, “the deep structure of society” (Chapais, 2010). This paper reviews ongoing research attempting to model-then-understand a few of the underlying social, environmental, and biological systems present at the root of human sociality.