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Studying Ecologically Diverse Communities: Faculty Co-Edit Special Issue of Journal

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CSUF Associate Professor of Psychology Aaron Lukaszewski  and Professor Anthropology Elizabeth Pillsworth co-edited a special issue of the journal Evolution & Human Behavior, titled “Dispatches from the Field: Insights from Studies in Ecologically Diverse Communities.”  The journal is the official journal of the Evolution & Human Behavior Society.  

Lukaszewski and Pillsworth state, “the broad objective of the evolutionary social sciences is to map the architecture of human nature,” that is, to understand human behavior, psychology, institutions, cultures, and societies in terms of how our evolved developmental programs interact with features of local ecologies to produce both universality and immense variability across time and place. 

As they write in the editorial that opens the special issue, “Achieving this objective, as applied to a given aspect of the human phenotype, is a challenging empirical task, in part because humans, past and present, live in a highly diverse range of physical and social ecologies — and it cannot be assumed that psychological or behavioral data from humans in one type of ecology generalize to those sampled from other ecologies.” Yet, they point out, much of the research conducted in the social sciences continues to rely heavily on contributions and data from people living in populations that are (in various combinations) western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (i.e., WEIRD; sensu Henrich, et al., 2010).

As part of ongoing efforts within the evolutionary social sciences to diversify our understanding of human nature, this special issue highlights empirical studies reporting psychological or behavioral data from anthropological field sites around the world, as well as studies conducted by interdisciplinary, cross-cultural teams of scholars.  The current issue, which can be found on the Evolution & Human Behavior website, is the first of a two-part series, dedicated to the memory of John Q. Patton (1957-2022), CSUF professor of anthropology whose work has been featured multiple times (e.g.,  The issue includes 11 studies representing data from diverse small-scale agricultural, horticultural, foraging, pastoralist, and rural communities across four continents.  Part II, which will include studies from the fieldsites of CSUF anthropologists Brenda Bowser, John Patton, and Elizabeth Pillsworth, among many others, is expected before the end of 2023. 

For more information about the special issue, or the work being done in evolutionary social science, contact Dr. Lukaszewski ( or Dr. Pillsworth ( 

Elizabeth Pillsworth