About our Research
We are an interdisciplinary group based at Boston University studying how humans produce complex social structures, including the norms, practices, and institutions they consist of. The components to build our social systems were already in place among our hunting and gathering ancestors. What were they? How and why were they combined to unleash seemingly limitless possibilities to the scale of cooperation and organization we are capable of?
Much of the complex social behavior we produce emerges from bottom-up decision-making. Just as sub-cellular processes can give rise to complex emergent structures and behavior, humans also produce emergent phenomena unintentionally, such as the structured villages seen in the satellite imagery above. We focus on understanding social systems as emerging from the decisions of individuals interacting within a social environment.
We prioritize understanding behavior in its real-world context. Thus we rely heavily on naturalistic field studies and maintain a long-term fieldsite among traditional populations in southwest Ethiopia.
Paper on the evolution of human social organization published in Evolution and Human Behavior.
PI Luke Glowacki awarded an NSF Human Networks and Data Science program grant for $447,000 to study intergroup relationships in Ethiopia.
New paper on cross-cultural patterns in speech and music to children published in Nature Human Behaviour and covered in the New York Times.
How small-scale societies achieve large-scale cooperation published in Current Opinion in Psychology.
Our paper Universality and Diversity in Human Song published in Science. Media coverage: Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine.
Luke Glowacki awarded the 2019 New Investigator Award for the European Human Behavior and Evolution Association.
The New York Times, The Economist, and The Atlantic cover our paper in Current Biology.
232 Bay State Road
Department of Anthropology
Boston, MA 02215
laglow 'at' BU 'dot' edu
Glowacki 'at' fas 'dot' harvard 'dot' edu