Cultural evolution in Vietnam's early 20th century: a Bayesian networks analysis of Franco-Chinese house designs

by   Quan-Hoang Vuong, et al.

The study of cultural evolution has taken on an increasingly interdisciplinary and diverse approach in explicating phenomena of cultural transmission and adoptions. Inspired by this computational movement, this study uses Bayesian networks analysis, combining both the frequentist and the Hamiltonian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach, to investigate the highly representative elements in the cultural evolution of a Vietnamese city's architecture in the early 20th century. With a focus on the façade design of 68 old houses in Hanoi's Old Quarter (based on 78 data lines extracted from 248 photos), the study argues that it is plausible to look at the aesthetics, architecture and designs of the house façade to find traces of cultural evolution in Vietnam, which went through more than six decades of French colonization and centuries of sociocultural influence from China. The in-depth technical analysis, though refuting the presumed model on the probabilistic dependency among the variables, yields several results, the most notable of which is the strong influence of Buddhism over the decorations of the house façade. Particularly, in the top 5 networks with the best Bayesian Information criterion (BIC) scores and p<0.05, the variable for decorations (DC) always has a direct probabilistic dependency on the variable B for Buddhism. The paper then checks the robustness of these models using Hamiltonian MCMC method and find the posterior distributions of the models' coefficients all satisfy the technical requirement. Finally, this study suggests integrating Bayesian statistics in social sciences in general and for study of cultural evolution and architectural transformation in particular.


page 1

page 5

page 14

page 30

page 32


Hamiltonian Monte Carlo using an adjoint-differentiated Laplace approximation

Gaussian latent variable models are a key class of Bayesian hierarchical...

Learning Robust Real-Time Cultural Transmission without Human Data

Cultural transmission is the domain-general social skill that allows age...

Partial Order MCMC for Structure Discovery in Bayesian Networks

We present a new Markov chain Monte Carlo method for estimating posterio...

Energy-preserving splitting integrators for sampling from Gaussian distributions with Hamiltonian Monte Carlo method

The diffusive behaviour of simple random-walk proposals of many Markov C...

Why Does Cultural Diversity Foster Technology-enabled Intergenerational Collaboration?

Globalization and information technology enable people to join the movem...

The Dynamics of Norm Change in the Cultural Evolution of Language

What happens when a new social convention replaces an old one? While the...

Identifying Designs from Incomplete, Fragmented Cultural Heritage Objects by Curve-Pattern Matching

Study of cultural-heritage objects with embellished realistic and abstra...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset