Cross-cultural forager myth transmission rules: Implications for the emergence of cumulative culture

Evolution and Human Behavior Vol/Iss. N/A Elsevier Published In Pages: ??
By Scalise Sugiyama, Michelle, Reilly, Kieran J.


Aiming to respond to the question "How has knowledge in forager oral narrative been maintained accurately for dozens of generations?", this study explores the myth transmission rules among forager societies. The first hypothesis anticipates that these rules constrain transmission and contexts similarly across forager societies. The authors suggest that these rules are information technology aids to minimize the chances of errors and loss of information. Related to this, the authors formulate eight hypotheses of what these rules will mandate during myth transmission: 1) skilled storytellers to pass down stories, 2) minimal low-distractions, 3) numerous people 4) multiple generations, 5) measures that identify and correct mistakes, 6) measures that maintain the audience's attention, 7) measures that sanction rule violations, and 8) measures that encourage rule compliance. There is enough evidence to support 7 out of the total of 9 hypotheses. These results show the relevance of studying the rules concerning myth and knowledge transmission across generations.


While there are cultures representing each geographic region, the majority of the sample is situated in North America.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesResearcher's own80 forager societies with information on myth transmission.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:stefania.becerralavado