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  1. Ethnoscientific expertise and knowledge specialisation in 55 traditional culturesLightner, Aaron D. - Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2021 - 5 Hypotheses

    The authors of this exploratory study tested predictions from five different theoretical models for the evolution of ethnoscientific expertise. They claim support for three of the models. They then compared cultural variables and their five models to three different knowledge domains: conceptual (unable to be easily observed), motor (easily observable), and medicinal. Their results indicate that their cultural transmission model is associated with the motor knowledge domain and that their proprietary knowledge model is associated with the medicinal knowledge domain.

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  2. 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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