My current research interests involve modelling social interactions using analytical and agent-based models. I approach this both from the perspective of economics, and by using evolutionary algorithms to model the spread of culturally-transmitted behaviours (social learning) in populations. I am particularly interested in the processes by which social institutions in human groups evolve over time, and on the conditions under which institutions can promote cooperation in large-scale groups of self-interested agents.
I also maintain interests in applying artificial immune systems to intrusion detection, and in neural networks for both machine learning and as models of behaviour.
I previously held postdoctoral positions with Prof. Laurent Lehmann at the Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Lausanne, and with Dr. Joanna Bryson at the Department of Computer Science, University of Bath. My Ph.D. thesis is titled "Social niche construction: Evolutionary explanations for cooperative group formation", and was supervised by Prof. Richard Watson at the School of Electronics & Computer Science, University of Southampton.
Powers, S.T., Schaik, Carel P. van, Lehmann, L. (2016). How institutions shaped the last major evolutionary transition to large-scale human societies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371, (1687), .
Powers, S., Lehmann, L. (2016). When is bigger better? The effects of group size on the evolution of helping behaviours. Biological Reviews, , (), .
Ryan, Paul A., Powers, S., Watson, Richard A. (2016). Social niche construction and evolutionary transitions in individuality. Biology and Philosophy, 31, (1), 59-79.
Power, Daniel A., Watson, Richard A., Szathmáry, E., Mills, R., Powers, S., Doncaster, C. Patrick, Czapp, B. (2015). What can ecosystems learn? Expanding evolutionary ecology with learning theory. Biology Direct, , (), .See all publications