Guiding Questions

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What drove human evolution? How did our species go from being a relatively unremarkable primate a few million years ago to the most successful species on the globe?

How has culture shaped our species genetic evolution, including our physiology, anatomy and psychology?

How can we use evolutionary theory to understand how people learn and transmit culture, and how does this lay a foundation for building a theory of cultural evolution?

How can we understand human social status? What’s the nature of prestige?

How can we explain the breadth, intensity and peculiar character of human sociality and cooperation?

What role has war and other forms of intergroup conflict played in human evolution, particularly in the evolution of cooperation and sociality?

In only about 12,000 years, how did human societies expand from relatively small-scale hunter-gatherer bands to vast and complex nation states?

What drives innovation and the process of cumulative cultural evolution?

How does cultural evolution shape our psychology, brains, motivations, hormonal responses, intuitive reactions, beliefs, worldviews and preferences? How can we account for the immense psychological variation we observe across the globe?

How can we explain the peculiar psychological and behavioral patterns observed in societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD societies)?