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I am a biocultural anthropologist and have carried out mixed-methods research on topics related to cultural evolution, human behavioral ecology, and child development. My regional focus is on Melanesia and especially Vanuatu. I have also contributed to cross-cultural comparative research on the evolution of religion and political organization.
The term cultural evolution has become popular in the evolutionary human sciences, but it is often unclear what is meant by it. This is generating confusion and misconceptions that are hindering progress in the field. These include the claim that behavioral ecology disregards culture. We argue that these misunderstandings are caused by the unhelpfu...
Link to ePrint: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138335 While culture is common in the animal kingdom, cumulative culture appears to be limited to humans. Research suggests that this is due to (1) our advanced social cognition, in particular joint attention and Theory of Mind; and (2) our reliance on high-fidelity mechanisms of social learn...
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought science into the public eye and to the attention of governments more than ever before. Much of this attention is on work in epidemiology, virology, and public health, with most behavioural advice in public health focussing squarely on ‘proximate’ determinants of behaviour. While epidemiological models are powerful...
The causes, consequences, and timing of the rise of moralizing religions in world history have been the focus of intense debate. Progress has been limited by the availability of quantitative data to test competing theories, by divergent ideas regarding both predictor and outcomes variables, and by differences of opinion over methodology. To address...
"We thank Tosh et al. for their interest in our research but note that their analyses do not undermine the main findings of our article."
Do human societies from around the world exhibit similarities in the way that they are structured, and show commonalities in the ways that they have evolved? These are long-standing questions that have proven difficult to answer. To test between competing hypotheses, we constructed a massive repository of historical and archaeological information k...
Do human societies from around the world exhibit similarities in the way that they are structured and show commonalities in the ways that they have evolved? To address these long-standing questions, we constructed a database of historical and archaeological information from 30 regions around the world over the last 10,000 years. Our analyses reveal...