The Diffusion Possibility Method: A More General And Simpler Solution To Galton's Problem

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American Ethnologist


A new statistical technique permits detection of the influence of certain types of diffusion on the results of a cross-cultural analysis. The key tool is a “diffusion possibility matrix” which shows the possibility of diffusion occuring between each pair of societies in the sample. With the aid of such a matrix, several different kinds of clustering tests are described and demonstrated. The method has the advantage of greater flexibility and simplicity than previous methods, as well as greater statistical power.