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  1. The cultural morphospace of ritual form: examining modes of religiosity cross-culturallyAtkinson, Quentin D. - Evolution and Human behavior, 2011 - 4 Hypotheses

    This article examines the frequency and emotional arousal of ritual. Cross-cultural tests support the existence of two modes of religiosity: doctrinal, with high frequency and low emotionality of ritual, and imagistic, with low frequency and high emotionality of ritual. Both euphoric and dysphoric arousal are considered. Associations between these two modes of religiosity and other features of culture (such as group size and the use of agriculture) are examined.

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  2. Folktale transmission in the arctic provides evidence for high bandwidth social learning among hunter–gatherer groupsRoss, Robert M. - Evolution and Human Behavior, 2016 - 4 Hypotheses

    The myths, legends, and folktales of nearby groups tend to more alike than those of more distant groups. Three competing models attempt to explain this distribution of cultural traits: (1) vertical transmission, (2) horizontal transmission, and (3) independent innovation. The authors examine 18 Arctic hunter-gatherer groups to quantify the extent to which geographic distance, cultural ancestry, and effective population size predict overlap in folktale inventories.

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  3. Supernatural punishment and individual social compliance across culturesBourrat, Pierrick - Religion, Brain & Behavior, 2011 - 3 Hypotheses

    Derived from the fear of supernatural punishment hypothesis, this paper explores whether the prosocial attitude of a group or individuals will increase with the threat of punishment from a high god or visible supernatural agent, such as sorcerers and witches. The author found that fear of supernatural punishment did not affect prosocial behavior and suggested that religious beliefs may give rise to institutions with the task of enforcing social compliance rather than direct control.

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  4. 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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  5. Ritual human sacrifice promoted and sustained the evolution of stratified societiesWatts, Joseph - Nature, 2016 - 6 Hypotheses

    The social control hypothesis suggests that ritual human sacrifice may have played an important role in the evolution of social stratification, functioning to legitimize class-based power distinctions by pairing displays of ultimate authority with supernatural justifications. Authors test this hypothesis about human sacrifice with a phylogenetic analysis of 93 Austronesian cultures.

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  6. Christianity spread faster in small, politically structures societiesWatts, Joseph - Nature Human Behaviour, 2018 - 4 Hypotheses

    The present study examines 70 Austronesian cultures to test whether political hierarchy, population size, and social inequality have been influential in the conversion of populations to Christianity. Cultural isolation and year of missionary arrival are control variables. Using phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS), the researchers test the effect of the three predictor variables on conversion to Christianity and also conduct a multivariate analysis with all variables. The results do not offer support for what is expected by top-down and bottom-up theories of conversion but instead for the general dynamics of cultural transmission.

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  7. Broad supernatural punishment but not moralizing high gods precede the evolution of political complexity in AustronesiaWatts, Joseph - Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2015 - 4 Hypotheses

    The authors investigate whether moralizing high gods and, more generally, supernatural punishment precede, sustain, or follow political complexity. The cultural traits at hand are mapped onto phylogenetic trees representing the descent and relatedness of 96 Austronesian cultures.

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  8. Pulotu: Database of Austronesian Supernatural Beliefs and PracticesWatts, Joseph - PLOS One, 2015 - 1 Hypotheses

    The researchers introduce the Pulotu database to readers, reviewing its function and role in future research. Researchers demonstrate the utility of the database by testing for headhunting cross-culturally. Findings include the presence of headhunting practices across proto-Austronesian cultures.

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  9. Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human socialityPurzycki, Benjamin Grant - Nature, 2016 - 2 Hypotheses

    Does belief in moralizing and punitive gods promote sociality between coreligionists who are otherwise strangers? A recent dataset of behavioral economic experiment results and demographic and religious data among eight disparate populations allows the researchers to test their hypothesis of a positive association between deity's perceived interest in human morality and favorability of treatment of outsiders who share a religion. Their findings mostly support this hypothesis, which they suggest lends credibility to a theory in which religion encourages cooperation between large groups of people, and is thus a successful product of cultural evolution.

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  10. Material security, life history, and moralistic religions: A cross cultural examinationPurzycki, Benjamin Grant - PLos ONE, 2018 - 5 Hypotheses

    This article is a quantitative analysis of 592 participants from 8 societies. The study examines a number of theories about what predicts moralistic religions, including life history theory. Findings suggest that there is no evident relationship between these life history predictions and the religious beliefs regarding moralism.

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