Evolution & Social Science Speaker Series

Monday, October 14, 2019 12:30pm

572 Life Science Center


Daniel Hruschka

Daniel Hruschka, Arizona State University, School of Human Evolution and Social Change

What does it mean to replicate studies in a cultural species?

Replicating a study among our fellow humans requires a researcher to interact with study participants according to protocols that are comparable with previous studies. However, thanks to humanity’s rich capacity for cultural learning, it can be challenging to identify what counts as a “comparable protocol” across different human groups. Specifically, diverse culturally learned capacities, motivations, symbolic connections, and expectations for appropriate social interactions can make some protocols impossible to implement directly across cultures while rendering the results of other “workable” protocols nearly impossible to interpret. I used examples from our work studying the social determinants of giving to illustrate: (1) the extent of this problem, and (2) how overcoming such challenges can tell us about our tacit models of how humans should think and behave. In this way, such efforts at translation are not just a methodological exercise, but can also inform our models of human psychological and behavioral diversity.