The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "How much cultural variation around the globe is explained by ecology?"

Posted on 2023-05-24 - 17:51
How much cultural variation is explained by the physical and social ecologies people inhabit? Here, we provide an answer using nine ecological variables and 66 cultural variables (including personality traits, values and norms) drawn from the EcoCultural Dataset. We generate a range of estimates by using different statistical metrics (e.g. current levels, average levels across time, unpredictability across time) of each of the ecological variables. Our results suggest that, on average, ecology explains a substantial amount of human cultural variation above and beyond spatial and cultural autocorrelation. The amount of variation explained depended on the metrics used, with current levels and average levels of ecological conditions explaining the greatest amounts of variance in human culture on average (16% and 20%, respectively).


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Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Alexandra S. Wormley
Jung Yul Kwon
Michael Barlev
Michael E. W. Varnum
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