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Shamanism and the social nature of cumulative culture

  • Mark Nielsen (a1), Ronald Fischer (a2) and Yoshihisa Kashima (a3)


Our species-unique capacity for cumulative culture relies on a complex interplay between social and cognitive motivations. Attempting to understand much of human behaviour will be incomplete if one of these motivations is the focus at the expense of the other. Anchored in gene-culture co-evolution theory, we stake a claim for the importance of social drivers in determining why shamans exist.



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