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  1. 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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  2. Hindcasting global population densities reveals forces enabling the origin of agricultureKavanagh, Patrick H. - Nature Human Behavior, 2018 - 3 Hypotheses

    The researchers, using principal component analysis, generalized additive models across 12 agriculture origin locations, and a model predicting hunter-gatherer population density, evaluate hindcasted population density trends to suggest predictors of the development of agriculture. Using domestication as an indicator of agriculture, they test 3 competing hypotheses regarding agriculture development. Their results are consistent with the "surplus" hypothesis, indicating that agriculture arose as population densities increased along with environmental capabilities.

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  3. Cultural transmission and ecological opportunity jointly shaped global patterns of reliance on agricultureVilela, Bruno - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2020 - 4 Hypotheses

    In this article, the authors seek to investigate why some societies reject agriculture despite its many benefits. By modeling data regarding ecological fitness and cultural transmission, the authors found predictors for the degree to which a society relies on agriculture. The authors conclude that the degree of fitness a local environment had for early domesticates as well as the degree of contact with neighboring societies strongly predicts levels of dependence on agriculture.

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  4. Process‐based modelling shows how climate and demography shape language diversityGavin, Michael C. - Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2017 - 2 Hypotheses

    Researchers examined both why so many language are spoken today, and why they are so unevenly distributed geographically. Instead of looking at correlative tests, this study uses a process-based simulation model that attempted to predict both the number or precolonial languages in Australia as well as the number of languages per unit of land. The model was based upon three basic assumptions: 1) humans fill unoccupied spaces; 2) rainfall limits population density; 3) groups divide after reaching a maximum population. While researchers used the model strictly on the Australia continent, it was able to correctly explain 56% of spatial variation in language richness, and predict the total number of languages across the continent. The accuracy of this model concludes that climatic conditions and changes in group size are important factors in shaping language diversity patterns and therefore global human cultural diversity.

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  5. Drivers of global variation in land ownershipKavanaugh, Patrick - Ecography, 2021 - 10 Hypotheses

    Using multiple logistic regression, the researchers compare the relative strength of predictors of land ownership across 102 societies. The analysis finds significant predictive power in factors such as neighbors' property system, population density, and geography.

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  6. The global geography of human subsistenceGavin, Michael C. - Royal Society Open Science, 2018 - 8 Hypotheses

    In this article, the authors seek to determine cross-culturally valid predictors of dominant types of human subsistence around the world. They did this by formulating multiple models that incorporate different combinations of environmental, geographic, and social factors. These models were then used to test various hypotheses posed throughout the anthropological literature surrounding factors that determine dominant subsistence strategies.

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  7. Pathways to social inequalityHaynie, Hannah J. - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2021 - 4 Hypotheses

    In this study, the authors examine pathways to social inequality, specifically social class hierarchy, in 408 non-industrial societies. In a path model, they find social class hierarchy to be directly associated with increased population size, intensive agriculture and large animal husbandry, real property inheritance (unigeniture) and hereditary political succession, with an overall R-squared of 0.45. They conclude that a complex web of effects consisting of environmental variables, mediated by resource intensification, wealth transmission variables, and population size all shape social inequality.

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