22.08.2017 - 15:00
A  A

Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 315
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 333

e-mail: cissewski@eva.mpg.de

Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

The Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture investigates the role of culture in human evolution and adaptation. The primary goal is to theorize, design, and conduct longitudinal studies of human adaptation and cultural dynamics in ecological context. By integrating cross-cultural fieldwork with mathematical models and advanced quantitative methods, we hope to contribute to the interdisciplinary study of human evolution and human social dynamics.

The department was founded in August 2015. Senior researchers and postdoctoral fellows began arriving in 2016. 


Positions available


Call for post-doctoral researcher in the evolution of religion and cooperation


PhD opportunities, tied to specific projects, will be advertised here, as they become available.


21 Aug 2017

Map of Manú National Park, Peru

New publication by Dr John Bunce, Interethnic Interaction, Strategic Bargaining Power, and the Dynamics of Cultural Norms. Dr Bunce addresses processes of ethnic boundary maintenance and change, using ethnographic data from his fieldwork in lowland Amazonia, in combination with Bayesian models of normative behavior. Code and data.

24 July 2017

New analysis published on a collaboration between HBEC and the Edward Grey Institute at Oxford: Conformity does not perpetuate suboptimal traditions in a wild population of songbirds. Conformist learning can be adaptive, but it may be maladaptive when environments change. Using a field experiment, the researchers document the social learning strategies that allow a wild population to adapt to environmental change. A mix of conformity and innovation is found in the analysis and demonstrated in theory to be broadly adaptive. Code and data.

7 June 2017

Chomp!New analysis of social learning in a wild primate, by Brendan Barrett, Richard McElreath, and Susan Parry. Using field experiments, they document the spread of behavioral traditions and analyze the learning strategies that may account for the spread. The analysis suggests that payoff-biased social learning strongly influences behavior. Data and code

31 May 2017

Seminar: A Life History of Human Foraging in 39 Societies (YouTube), presented by Richard McElreath at Aarhus University. This seminar presents progress on a large meta-analysis of foraging records from 39 human samples.