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  1. Cultural macroevolution mattersGray, Russell D. - PNAS, 2017 - 3 Hypotheses

    Researchers sampled 106 Austronesian societies from the Pulotu database to study the way political complexity evolves in relation to religious beliefs and practices. Specifically, they attempt to test the causal theory that supernatural punishment played a causal role in the emergence of large, complex societies. They use phylogenetic models to control for Galton's Problem in testing the supernatural punishment hypothesis in an effort to demonstrate the effectiveness of utilizing cross-cultural datasets in evaluating evolutionary change in human social organization.

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  2. God's punishment and public goodsJohnson, Dominic D.P. - Human Nature, 2005 - 9 Hypotheses

    This study tests the relationship between supernatural punishment (indexed by the importance of moralizing "high gods") and several proxy measures of cooperation. Results suggest that the presence of high gods is associated with money and credit, credit source, community size, jurisdictional hierarchy beyond the local community, and sanctions.

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  3. RETRACTED: Complex societies precede moralizing gods throughout world historyWhitehouse, Harvey - Nature, 2019 - 3 Hypotheses

    Researchers tackle the moral gods hypothesis which proposes that moral gods enabled large-scale societies to evolve. They use 414 societies spanning 10,000 years in Seshat: Global History Databank and code 51 measures of social complexity and four measures of moral gods. The findings of the present study challenge the moral gods hypothesis. In the societies studied, complex societies appear to precede moral gods rather than the inverse of moral gods preceding complex societies.

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  4. Moralistic supernatural punishment is probably not associated with social complexityLightner, Aaron D. - Evolution and Human Behavior, 2022 - 2 Hypotheses

    This paper examines the relationship between moralizing gods (gods that impose moral rules or punish those who break them) and social complexity. The authors argue that previous research, which relied on the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample's "moralizing high gods" variable as a proxy measure for the presence of moralizing gods, may have underestimated the presence of moralizing gods in societies. This is because the criteria used to define "moralizing high gods" are not relevant to whether a god is moralistic or punitive. The authors argue that this leads to a false positive association between moralizing gods and social complexity, and that ethnographic evidence suggests that moralizing gods are actually more prevalent in small-scale societies than had previously been thought. Future researchers, therefore, need to be careful about making assumptions about the moralizing gods of small scale societies based on "moralizing high gods", and find other ways to identify whether moralizing gods are present.

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  5. Supernatural explanations across 114 societies are more common for natural than social phenomenaJackson, Joshua Conrad - Nature Human Behavior, 2023 - 3 Hypotheses

    The article examines whether cultural groups tend to use supernatural beliefs more to explain natural phenomena or social phenomena. Analysis of ethnographic text from 114 diverse societies reveals that supernatural explanations are more common for natural phenomena, consistent with the theory that humans tend to perceive intent and agency in the natural world. However, supernatural explanations of social phenomena were more prevalent in urbanized societies with greater social complexity and anonymity. The study highlights how people use supernatural beliefs to explain their world and how this varies across small-scale and urbanized communities.

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  6. Coevolution of landesque capital intensive agriculture and sociopolitical hierarchySheehan, Oliver - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2018 - 3 Hypotheses

    Using phylogenetic methods, this research examines the relationship between landesque capital intensive agriculture ("permanent changes to landscape, such as construction of terraces and irrigation canals"(3631)) , political complexity, and social stratification amongst 155 Austronesian-speaking societies. Researchers attempted to find an underlying causality between the above mentioned variables, which have already been shown to be cross-culturally related. Results of statistical testing are most consistent with their being no clear causal link between the tested variables. The researchers claim this demonstrates social complexity and the multifaceted nature of cultural evolution.

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  7. Oaths, autonomic ordeals, and powerRoberts, John M. - Cross-Cultural Approaches: Readings in Comparative Research, 1967 - 14 Hypotheses

    This chapter examines the presence of oaths and autonomic ordeals in relation to various socioeconomic variables. Several hypotheses are presented, all are supported.

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  8. Coevolution of religious and political authority in Austronesian societiesSheehan, Oliver - Nature Human Behaviour, 2023 - 2 Hypotheses

    Using data from 97 Austronesian-speaking societies, this paper asks two research questions: 1) have religious and political authority co-evolved and 2) have the two institutions tended to become differentiated or unified? By applying phylogenetic methods, the findings show that in Austronesian societies, religious and political authorities are mutually interdependent; however, there is insufficient evidence to support any differentiation or unification of the two over time.

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  9. Political complexity and village community: test of an hypothesisBefu, Harumi - Anthropological Quarterly, 1966 - 3 Hypotheses

    This article examines how an increase in overall societal complexity affects local political offices. Findings suggest that a more complex society has a slight tendency to develop more political offices within the community, but there is greater support for an increased number of jurisdictional levels within the community.

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  10. The ecology of religious beliefsBotero, Carlos A. - PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), 2014 - 1 Hypotheses

    Belief in moralizing high gods (MHGs) has been theorized as a response to unfavorable environments, as a way to normalize behavior. In this study, researchers test the theory by creating a model for predicting the distribution of MHGs. They run many alternative models, testing the effects of resource abundance, climate stability, and pertinent social factors on the occurrence of belief in MHGs. Based on the ten most supported models, they create an average model that predicts MHGs within cultures with “excellent” accuracy.

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