A new computational model accurately reproduces the way fashions travel through a culture, as reported in the Mar. 7 issue of the open access journal PLoS ONE The model's new feature is the assumption that people copy others' preferences for cultural traits (such as clothing styles), as well as the traits themselves. Previously proposed models were the "status" model, in which a fashion arises because people copy the choices of someone of high status, and the "neutral model," in which people copy each other randomly.
The new model, dubbed the "preference model," was better at reproducing observed behavior than either of the other two, the authors write.
Specifically, the results agreed with two empirical observations: that only a few cultural traits, among the many invented, become very popular, and that trends with rapidly increasing popularity are also abandoned quickly. The work was led by Alberto Acerbi of the University of Stockholm.
Citation: Acerbi A, Ghirlanda S, Enquist M (2012) The Logic of Fashion Cycles. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32541. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032541
Financial Disclosure: This work was supported by the ''Uniquely Human'' project funded by the Swedish Research Council. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends):