April Ruttle

Graduate student

I am interested in processes of cultural transmission, and in the effect of environmental factors on the social structure and cultural repertoires of human groups. For my Masters research, I tested the effect of resource risk on the structure of subsistence toolkits among a cross-cultural sample of small-scale, food-producing societies. For my PhD, I am focusing on the evolution and cultural transmission of religion. This research is part of a larger project, the Cultural Evolution of Religion Research Consortium (CERC). Using both archaeological and ethnographic data, I will examine the relationship between religion and increasing social complexity, with a specific focus on religions that feature moralistic gods, and the hypothesis that belief in such gods fosters prosociality in large (non-kin) groups.