Social Dynamics and Evolution - Focused Research Group


The Social Dynamics and Evolution group at UCI is a degree-granting subgroup within the Mathematical Behavioral Sciences Ph.D. program at UC Irvine. It was founded in 2004 by faculty in the Anthropological Sciences to foster interdisciplinarity. The MBS encourages applications for the PhD program for students interested in pursuing an Anthropology or Social Science degree with strong emphasis on mathematical modeling, computational and quantitative methods, and cross-disciplinary linkages.

Social Dynamics and Evolution incorporates a group of scholars whose interdisciplinary research benefits from the interaction of a group of scholars who seek the benefits from interdisciplinary research. We examine how social dynamics, operating through culture and structure, co-evolve to influence behavior and interaction, thereby affecting system performance. Conversely, we consider how individual choices and social interaction shape, and are shaped by, system structure and networks. We also emphasize the role of information processes (how information gets represented, processed, and communicated), decision-making, means of social order-creation (competition, coevolution, self-organization, restructuring) and redefinition (rule generation and selection, boundary construction, institution of culturally based conceptual structures) of social systems, and modeling of evolutionary processes and dynamics, including evolutionary game theory and agent-based computational methods as a way to incorporate agent heterogeneity in the study of social behavior of individual actor/agents inhabiting complex social systems. We have close intellectual links with the Center for Human Complex Systems at UCLA and with the Santa Fe Institute.