Saturday, July 27, 2019

Intuitions on ownership: The Achuar speakers of Amazonian Ecuador and English speakers of the USA

Cross cultural intuitions on ownership. Ulises J Espinoza, H. Clark Barrett. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: Property and ownership claims and the array of ways in which they are operationalized comprise a large portion of our cognitive attention; on a day to day basis there is a need to know what to buy, sell, share, borrow, dispute over, and render away. Contemporary work in psychology suggests that intuitions of ownership emerge early in childhood, independently of acculturation; first possession claims to items by children as early as 9 months old. There remains much that is not yet known about the psychology of ownership and how it plays out in particular cultural settings. To evaluate how different possible domains considered to be owned are morally assessed, Achuar speakers from Amazonian Ecuador and English speakers from the United States were given a set of vignettes designed to assess how judgments of ownership depend on the type of resource in question, and how it came to be acquired. These vignettes were designed to be minimally culturally laden and of similar cross-cultural interest. Initial analyses of how domains of ownership are morally assessed are presented, emphasis being placed on rights, duties, and obligations of the (potential) owners across different domains of ownership.

Female leadership in an egalitarian society (the Chuba of Ethiopia)

Female leadership in an egalitarian society. Zachary H. Garfield, Edward H. Hagen. Human Behavior and Evolution Society 31st annual meeting. Boston 2019.

Abstract: Female leadership is receiving increased attention from researchers across the social and biological sciences, including evolutionary scholars. Very few studies, however, have systematically investigated female leadership or sex/gender differences in leadership among small-scale, gender-egalitarian societies. Evolutionary theories of leadership, which draw heavily on studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer and other small-scale societies, have proposed numerous traits that putatively characterize leaders in domains of sociality, productivity, reproduction, dominance, and cognition. We tested preregistered hypotheses and investigated many such traits among elected female leaders among the Chabu, an Ethiopian population of former hunter-gatherers who now subsist on hunting, gathering, horticulture, and cash crops. There were strong positive correlations among most traits, which, in turn, were positively associated with elected leader status among women. One clear exception to this pattern was dominance, which seemed to preclude women from leadership positions. Despite a history and relative persistence of egalitarianism, including gender-egalitarianism, Chabu women face constraints in their ability employ dominance-based leadership strategies that men do not, a pattern consistent with broader political institutions crossculturally, especially among Western societies. Revised evolutionary theories of leadership must account for the importance of women leaders and the strong covariation of traits.