Emergent Patterns of Creativity and Innovation in Early Technologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

49 Scopus citations


Creativity and innovation are conventionally viewed as consequences of individual mental processes and actions. Certain time and places are also remarkable for the pace of culture change and variety of cultural accomplishments, whereas others appear quite static. From this second macroscopic perspective, creativity can be seen as an emergent property of large numbers of interactions among individuals. Palaeoanthropologists are in a much better position to study emergent forms of innovation than individual creativity. This chapter reviews recent research concerning the effects of demographic factors and network structures on diversity and rates of change in behaviour. These studies demonstrate that the sizes, stability and interconnectedness of past human populations could directly influence the development, spread and persistence of novel forms of behaviour. Demographic conditions and social strategies are thus likely to have influenced rates of culture change and the scale of diversity over the course of human evolution. From this perspective, creativity and innovation can be seen as having multiple origins, both causally and temporally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Quaternary Science
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Quaternary Science
ISSN (Print)1571-0866


  • Complexity
  • Demography
  • Diversity
  • Emergence
  • Networks
  • Palaeolithic
  • Technological change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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