Recent decades have seen a blossoming of multidisciplinary research on human culture and cultural change from an evolutionary perspective. Major questions for the ﬁeld include:
- Are there general patterns in the cultural evolution of social systems?
- What factors drove the evolution of complex stratified societies?
- What role has religion played in human history?
- What role have ecological factors played in human history?
- What is the relationship between linguistic and cultural diversity?
- What is the relationship between genetic and cultural diversity?
We bring together researchers from the social and biological sciences to work on fundamental questions in cultural evolution at both the macro and the micro level. We document cultural diversity across world regions and throughout human history using both primary and secondary data sources. Our projects focus on demographic and anthropological data collection, and on building large-scale quantitative cross-cultural databases of historic and contemporary cultures. We apply a wide range of computational and statistical methods with comparative cultural data to test hypotheses about cultural evolution, and combine these with contemporary and historical ethnographic work. We provide access to our data via the following web apps: Pulotu (a database of religious beliefs and practices in the Pacifc), D-PLACE (a global cross-cultural ethnographic database), and GeLaTo (a database linking genetic and linguistic diversity).