Christopher R. von Rueden

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Selection in species with aggressive social interactions favours the evolution of cognitive mechanisms for assessing physical formidability (fighting ability or resource-holding potential). The ability to accurately assess formidability in conspecifics has been documented in a number of non-human species, but has not been demonstrated in humans. Here, we(More)
This paper assesses selective pressures that shaped primate life histories, with particular attention to the evolution of longer juvenile periods and increased brain sizes. We evaluate the effects of social complexity (as indexed by group size) and foraging complexity (as indexed by percent fruit and seeds in the diet) on the length of the juvenile period,(More)
Small-scale human societies range from foraging bands with a strong egalitarian ethos to more economically stratified agrarian and pastoral societies. We explain this variation in inequality using a dynamic model in which a population's long-run steady-state level of inequality depends on the extent to which its most important forms of wealth are(More)
Recent research has shown that humans, like many other animals, have a specialization for assessing fighting ability from visual cues. Because it is probable that the voice contains cues of strength and formidability that are not available visually, we predicted that selection has also equipped humans with the ability to estimate physical strength from the(More)
Children may be viewed as public goods whereby both parents receive equal genetic benefits yet one parent often invests more heavily than the other. We introduce a microeconomic framework for understanding household investment decisions to address questions concerning conflicts of interest over types and amount of work effort among married men and women.(More)
The five-factor model (FFM) of personality variation has been replicated across a range of human societies, suggesting the FFM is a human universal. However, most studies of the FFM have been restricted to literate, urban populations, which are uncharacteristic of the majority of human evolutionary history. We present the first test of the FFM in a largely(More)
Human moral judgement may have evolved to maximize the individual's welfare given parochial culturally constructed moral systems. If so, then moral condemnation should be more severe when transgressions are recent and local, and should be sensitive to the pronouncements of authority figures (who are often arbiters of moral norms), as the fitness pay-offs of(More)
OBJECTIVES To present an explanatory framework for depression in older adulthood in a small-scale society. We propose that depression is a consequence of functional disability, which can reduce subsistence productivity and resource transfers within and across generations. Social conflict can also disrupt resource flows and should be associated with(More)
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES Low social status increases risk of disease due, in part, to the psychosocial stress that accompanies feeling subordinate or poor. Previous studies report that chronic stress and chronically elevated cortisol can impair cardiovascular and immune function. We test whether lower status is more benign in small-scale, relatively(More)
Our paper [1] compared two competing hypotheses. The hypothesis that we label universalistic moral evaluation holds that a definitional feature of reasoning about moral rules is that, ceteris paribus, judgements of violations of rules concerning harm, rights or justice will be insensitive to spatial or temporal distance or the opinions of authority figures.(More)