HRAF Global Scholar: Raúl Lara Uriostegui
Title: Master in Cognitive Sciences
University Affiliation: Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM), Centro de Investigación en Ciencias Cognitivas (CINCCO)
Research Topic: Modern hunter gatherer societies, alloparenting, teaching-learning childhood, cognition.
Raúl Lara Uriostegui is a psychologist and has a master’s degree in cognitive science. He recently successfully defended his thesis entitled: “Alloparentality and its relationship with the teaching-learning process (Systematic review in modern hunter-gatherer societies)”. He is currently an active collaborator in the anthropology and cognition laboratory of CINCCO-UAEM in charge of Dr. Diana Platas Neri, where he is working on the publication of two articles derived from his dissertation and on his application to a doctoral program.
The dissertation carried out by Raúl examines the importance of alloparental behaviors, that is, the help that the other members of the group give to mothers and their children in the upbringing process. Given the diversity that exists among alloparental individuals (adults, youth and other children), motivational and cognitive processes different from those excited in biological parents may be present in them, which may lead to better performance in the use of sociocognitive skills. in infants. Recent research has shown the importance of alloparenting due to the contribution they make to the caloric intake of mothers and infants, however, little has been mentioned about the suggestions that the interaction between alloparent and infant entails, therefore, the objective of his research was to characterize the participation of alloparental individuals in the teaching-learning process of two subsistence techniques: the collection of honey and baobab, in infants of 3 modern hunter-gatherer societies of Africa: The Hadza, The San, and The Mbuti , from a systematic review of ethnographic works.
The final sample includes 10 ethnographic studies. Of the 6 studies included referring to the collection of honey: 6 mention a possible vertical and horizontal transmission (100%) and 3 studies mention a possible oblique transmission (50%). Of the 6 included studies referring to baobab harvesting: 5 mention a possible vertical transmission (83%), 4 studies mention a possible horizontal transmission (67%) and 3 studies mention a possible oblique transmission (50%). For the transmission of a honey harvesting technique, there is a tendency that favors the interaction between infants and related alloparents over unrelated ones. Regarding the baobab harvest, it was found a tendency that favors interaction between older adults and unrelated infants. Overall, in both techniques it was found that in the teaching-learning process there is no selection based on gender; sibling play activities are more important than mixed group play with other children in the group; The elders have an active role in the transmission of techniques and are not limited to the transmission of cultural variants.
From the indicated results, it can be sustained that alloparental participation is related to the transmission of relevant activities for collective survival; a systematic review applied to ethnographies is methodologically feasible, only if its realization follows from the medical/clinical model; The ethnographic works currently available do not provide the necessary information to approach an analysis of cognitive abilities, therefore, the challenge of making cognitive ethnographies that cognitive anthropology faces is conceptual and methodological.
Raúl explains how useful eHRAF access has been to his ongoing research:
I would like to point out that if it had not been for the support of eHRAF World Cultures, my research work would not have been possible, since there is no other ethnographic database as complete, friendly and with the necessary international validation as to support the arguments indicated above. Thank you very much for your support.
HRAF is honored to welcome Raúl Lara Uriostegui as one of our HRAF Global Scholars for 2022. We wish him continued success with his research.
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