UCLA » College » Social Sciences » Anthropology
Events
Date
November 13, 2017
Time
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location
Haines 352 Reading Room
Contact
Avery Lopez
uclabec@gmail.com

CRISTINA MOYA, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS

While many social species are group living, linguistically or symbolically marked social groups, characterized by large repertoires of shared cultural norms and behaviours, are uniquely human. However, the evolutionary relevance and psychological underpinnings of such ethnic groups remains debated. In this talk, I will examine the possibility that the way humans learn about ethno-linguistic boundaries reveal the structure of adaptations for reasoning about these. I report on psychological and ethnographic research from the Quechua-Aymara border in the Peruvian altiplano, and cross-cultural comparative work that speak to these questions. Results reveal 1) the importance of distinguishing between functionally independent intergroup phenomena such as stereotyping and cooperation, 2) that children are prone to develop believe that linguistic boundaries are important and fixed, and 3) that cultural evolutionary processes are likely more important than genetically evolved biases in determining the form of ethnic boundaries. Further implications for models of human social evolution will be discussed.

The BEC Speaker Series hosts presentations by renowned scholars from across the social, behavioral, and biological sciences whose work sheds light on human evolution, including issues of cultural transmission, behavioral ecology, affect, cognition, and health.