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  1. Risk, mobility or population size?: Drivers of technological richness among contact-period western North American hunter–gatherersCollard, Mark - Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B., 2013 - 3 Hypotheses

    This paper builds off previous research into the effect of population size and resource risk on complexity of subsistence technology by investigating the relationship between these independent variables and total number of material items and techniques used by various western North American hunter-gatherer groups. This tally of total technological complexity is found to be insignificantly related to population size or residential mobility; however, there is a significant correlation in the expected direction between technological complexity and one measure of resource risk (mean annual temperature during driest month). Tying this finding to previous analyses of subsistence technologies, the authors theorize that environmental risk is a pervasive driver of technological ingenuity and cultural evolution.

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  2. Causes of toolkit variation among hunter-gatherers: a test of four competing hypothesesCollard, Mark - Canadian Journal of Archaeology, 2005 - 4 Hypotheses

    This study tests four hypotheses that propose potential environmental and social predictors of toolkit size and complexity among hunter-gatherers. Hypotheses predicting relationships between population size, residential mobility, type of food resources and toolkit structure are not supported. Risk of resource failure is the only variable that is significantly associated with toolkit structure.

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  3. Population size as an explanation for patterns in the paleolithic archaeological record: more caution is neededCollard, Mark - Current Anthropology, 2013 - 1 Hypotheses

    Previous studies have yielded contradictory results on the relationship between population size and cultural evolution. Focusing on tool complexity these authors introduce the risk of resource failure as a possible confounding variable. They conclude that population does not predict tool kit complexity when controlling on other factors. There were significant correlations between tool kit complexity and some of the resource measures.

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  4. Niche construction and the toolkits of hunter–gatherers and food producersCollard, Mark - Biological Theory, 2011 - 3 Hypotheses

    The researchers test the relationship between toolkit complexity and diversity as defined by Oswalt (1973) and environmental and demographic variables. Neither population size nor risk of resource failure predict toolkit characteristics among all groups in the sample. However, population size is significantly positively correlated with toolkit diversity and complexity among food-producers, whereas environmental factors indicating risk of resource failure are significantly positively correlated among hunter-gatherers. This leads the researchers to suggest that food-producers' effectiveness at niche construction is a result of their large population size, which thus has a larger effect on toolkit composition than does environmental risk relative to hunter-gatherers.

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  5. Risk of resource failure and toolkit variation in small-scale farmers and herdersCollard, Mark - PloS one, 2012 - 1 Hypotheses

    Prior research by Oswalt (1973, 1976) and Torrence (1983, 2001) has suggested that risk of resource failure is a significant predictor of toolkit complexity and diversity among hunter-gatherers. In this paper, the same relationship is tested among small-scale herding and farming groups. However, no significant correlation is discovered between any measure of resource risk and any measure of toolkit complexity. The researchers suggest that this absence may be the result of greater reliance on non-technological diversification methods among farmers (i.e. spatial diversification, mixed farming, intercropping), or of other unaccounted-for sources of risk (i.e. intergroup raiding and warfare).

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  6. Cultural evolution and conflict resolutionShiels, Dean - Wisconsin Sociologist, 1986 - 1 Hypotheses

    This study examines why conflict emerges and how societies resolve it. The authors posit that increasing societal scale and differentiation create more potential for conflict but also more complex forms of conflict resolution. Analysis supports this theory, showing that measures of cultural complexity are positively associated with legal mechanisms for conflict resolution.

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  7. The evolution of productive organizationsBrahm, Francisco - Nature Human Behaviour, 2021 - 1 Hypotheses

    Drawing from cultural evolution theory, the authors develop a model to explain the origin and evolution of productive organizations (organizations specialized in producing goods and services to satisfy human needs). They propose that productive organizations have two characteristics: exclusive membership and enhanced social learning within the organization. They find their predictions supported in a global sample of premodern societies.

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  8. Population size predicts technological complexity in oceaniaKline, Michelle A. - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 2010 - 3 Hypotheses

    The capacity for cumulative cultural evolution has often been invoked to explain the great diversity of habitats occupied by humans. This theory of cultural evolution emphasizes the gradual accumulation of technologies and cultural practices over many generations, and predicts that larger populations will generate more complex cultural adaptations than smaller, isolated ones. Here, the authors investigate the marine foraging tool repertoires of 10 Oceanic societies to determine whether population size and intergroup contact affect the cultural processes by which tool kits evolve.

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  9. Social structure and games: a cross-cultural analysis of the structural correlates of game complexitySilver, Burton B. - Pacific Sociological Review, 1978 - 3 Hypotheses

    This article examines the evolution of games, particularly the way the complexity of games is affected by political organization, demographics, social differentiation, and religious differentiation.

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  10. Drivers of geographical patterns of North American language diversityCoelho, Marco Túlio Pacheco - Proceedings Royal Society B, 2019 - 3 Hypotheses

    Researchers investigated further into why and how humans speak so many languages across the globe, and why they are spread out unevenly. Using two different path analyses, a Stationary Path analysis and a GWPath, researchers tested the effect of eight different factors on language diversity. Out of the eight variables (river density, topographic complexity, ecoregion richness, temperature and precipitation constancy, climate change velocity, population density, and carrying capacity with group size limits), population density, carrying capacity with group size limit, and ecoregion richness had the strongest direct effects. Overall, the study revealed the role of multiple different mechanisms in shaping language richness patterns. The GWPath showed that not only does the most important predictor of language diversity vary over space, but predictors can also vary in the direction of their effects in different regions. They conclude that there is no universal predictor of language richness.

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