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Professor Alex Bentley
Professor Alex Bentley's research concerns modelling and understanding collective behaviour in society, and testing these models against real-world phenomena. This work applies the insights of evolutionary biology - including 'neutral' evolutionary models - toward modern popularity data. By providing a means to characterize how behaviours spread in modern populations -- the subject of his 2011 book with MIT press and a recent column in the New York Times – Professor Bentley has applied his work to real-world problems in U.K. government policy and NGOs and commercial businesses.
A second, distinct area of Bentley's research is the isotopic analysis of skeletal materials to explore questions of community diversity, kinship and social complexity in prehistoric settings. Recent projects focused on prehistoric Thailand and on early Neolithic of Europe to help reveal the nature and development of the world’s first agricultural communities. Recent isotopic results in PNAS (June 2012) report the oldest evidence for hereditary inequality in Neolithic Europe.
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- PhD. University of Wisconsin, Anthropology
- M.S. Cornell University, Geology/Geochemistry
- M.A. Cornell University, Archaeology
- B.A. Bowdoin College, Physics (Magna Cum Laude)
- Bentley, RA, Garnett, P, O'Brien, MJ & Brock, WA 2012, Word diffusion and climate science.. PLoS One, vol 7., pp. 1-9
- Bentley, R, Bickle, P, Fibiger, L, Nowell, G, Dale, C, Hedges, R, Hamilton, J, Wahl, J, Francken, M, Grupe, G, Lenneis, E, Teschler-Nicola, M, Aborgast, R-M & Whittle, A 2012, Community differentiation and kinship among Europe’s first farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 109., pp. 9326-9330
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- Bentley, RA 2013, Mobility and the diversity of early Neolithic lives: Isotopic evidence from skeletons. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, vol 32., pp. 303-312
- Bentley, RA, O'Brien, MJ & Brock, WA 2013, Mapping collective behavior in the big-data era. Behavioral and Brain Sciences., pp. in press
- Acerbi, A, Lampos, V, Garnett, P & Bentley, RA 2013, The expression of emotions in 20th century books. PLoS ONE, vol in press., pp. in press
- King, CL, Bentley, RA, Tayles, NG, Strand-Vidarsdottir, U, Nowell, GM & Macpherson, CG 2013, Moving peoples, changing diets: Isotopic differences highlight migration and subsistence changes in the Upper Mun River Valley, Thailand. Journal of Archaeological Science, vol in press.
- Bentley, RA & O'Brien, MJ 2012, Tipping points among social learners: Tools from varied disciplines. Current Zoology, vol 58., pp. 298-306
- Holtby, I, Scarre, C, Bentley, RA & Rowley-Conwy, P 2012, Disease, CCR5-Delta 32 and the European spread of agriculture? A hypothesis. Antiquity, vol 86., pp. 207-210
- Bentley, RA & Ormerod, P 2012, Accelerated innovation and increased spatial diversity in U.S. popular culture. Advances in Complex Systems, vol 15.
- Bentley, RA & O'Brien, MJ 2012, Cultural evolutionary tipping points in the storage and transmission of information. Frontiers in Psychology, vol 3.
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