Research and Publications - Department of Anthropology

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    Family and the field: Expectations of a field-based research career affect researcher family planning decisions
    (PLOS, 2018) Lynn, Christopher D.; Howells, Michaela E.; Stein, Max J.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of North Carolina; University of North Carolina Wilmington
    Field-based data collection provides an extraordinary opportunity for comparative research. However, the demands of pursuing research away from home creates an expectation of unburdened individuals who have the temporal, financial, and social resources to conduct this work. Here we examine whether this myth of the socially unencumbered scholar contributes to the loss of professionals and trainees. To investigate this, we conducted an internet-based survey of professional and graduate student anthropologists (n = 1025) focused on the challenges and barriers associated with developing and maintaining a fieldwork-oriented career path and an active family life. This study sought to determine how (1) family socioeconomic status impacts becoming an anthropologist, (2) expectations of field-based research influence family planning, and (3) fieldwork experiences influence perceptions of family-career balance and stress. We found that most anthropologists and anthropology students come from educated households and that white men were significantly more likely to become tenured professionals than other demographic groups. The gender disparity is striking because a larger number of women are trained in anthropology and were more likely than men to report delaying parenthood to pursue their career. Furthermore, regardless of socioeconomic background, anthropologists reported significant lack of family-career balance and high stress associated with the profession. For professionals, lack of balance was most associated with gender, age, SES, tenure, and impacts of parenting on their career, while for students it was ethnicity, relative degree speed, graduate funding, employment status, total research conducted, career impact on family planning, and concern with tenure (p < .05). Anthropology bridges the sciences and humanities, making it the ideal discipline to initiate discussions on the embedded structural components of field-based careers generalizable across specialties.
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    Social genomics of healthy and disordered internet gaming
    (Wiley, 2018) Snodgrass, Jeffrey G.; Dengah, H. J. Francois; Lacy, Michael G.; Else, Robert J.; Polzer, Evan R.; Arevalo, Jesusa M. G.; Cole, Steven W.; Colorado State University; Utah State University; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of California Los Angeles
    Objectives To combine social genomics with cultural approaches to expand understandings of the somatic health dynamics of online gaming, including in the controversial nosological construct of internet gaming disorder (IGD). MethodsResultsIn blood samples from 56 U.S. gamers, we examined expression of the conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA), a leukocyte gene expression profile activated by chronic stress. We compared positively engaged and problem gamers, as identified by an ethnographically developed measure, the Positive and Negative Gaming Experiences Scale (PNGE-42), and also by a clinically derived IGD scale (IGDS-SF9). CTRA profiles showed a clear relationship with PNGE-42, with a substantial linkage to offline social support, but were not meaningfully associated with disordered play as measured by IGDS-SF9. ConclusionsOur study advances understanding of the psychobiology of play, demonstrating via novel transcriptomic methods the association of negatively experienced internet play with biological measures of chronic threat, uncertainty, and distress. Our findings are consistent with the view that problematic patterns of online gaming are a proxy for broader patterns of biopsychosocial stress and distress such as loneliness, rather than a psychiatric disorder sui generis, which might exist apart from gamers' other life problems. By confirming the biological correlates of certain patterns of internet gaming, culturally-sensitive genomics approaches such as this can inform both evolutionary theorizing regarding the nature of play, as well as current psychiatric debates about the appropriateness of modeling distressful gaming on substance addiction and problem gambling.
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    Guys with Big Muscles Have Misplaced Priorities: Masculinities and Muscularities in Young South Korean Men's Body Image
    (Springer, 2023) Monocello, Lawrence; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Men's body image is an issue of increasing importance as related illnesses continue to grow in prevalence around the world. However, cross-cultural attention to men's body image experiences has been relatively understudied. Based on data derived from cognitive anthropological methods of cultural domain analysis, I develop the concept of "muscularities" to more effectively examine the expectations inherent in multifarious models of body image men continuously navigate. Related to but distinct from "masculinities"-the recognition of culture-bound hierarchies of ways of doing-being a man-"muscularities" attends to the culturally particular ways in which muscles are conceived and evaluated as indices of socioeconomic status, intelligence, social skills, and professionalism, to name a few. Young South Korean men's experiences of chan'gunyuk ("small muscle") and manun kunyuk ("large muscle") challenge universalist assumptions about the kinds of muscles people value in global perspective, demonstrate the necessity of recognizing multiple muscularities in research, and encourage new directions of inquiry that attend to the consequences of variable embodiments of muscularities.
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    Applying minimally invasive biomarkers of chronic stress across complex ecological contexts
    (Wiley, 2022) DeCaro, Jason A.; Helfrecht, Courtney; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Chronic stress is both theoretically and methodologically challenging to operationalize through biomarkers. Yet minimally invasive, field-friendly biomarkers of chronic stress are valuable in research linking biology and culture, seeking to understand differential patterns of human development across ecological contexts, and exploring the evolution of human sociality. For human biologists, a central question in measurement and interpretation of biomarkers is how stress-responsive physiological systems are regulated across diverse human ecologies. This article aims to describe a conditional toolkit for human biologists interested in the study of chronic stress, highlighting a mix of longstanding and novel biomarkers, with special focus on hair/fingernail cortisol, latent herpesvirus antibodies, allostatic load indices, and serial/ambulatory data collection approaches. Future trends in chronic stress biomarker research, including epigenetic approaches, are briefly considered. This overview considers: (1) challenges in separating a distinctly psychosocial dimension of chronic stress from adversity more broadly; (2) essential characteristics of human ecology that shape interpretation; (3) retrospective vs. longitudinal sampling; (4) the role of age, developmental effects, and local biologies; (5) different timescales of chronicity; and (6) the role of culture.
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    Reproductive inequality in humans and other mammals
    (National Academy of the Sciences, 2023) Ross, Cody T.; Hooper, Paul L.; Smith, Jennifer E.; Jaeggi, Adrian V.; Smith, Eric Alden; Gavrilets, Sergey; Zohora, Fatema tuz; Ziker, John; Xygalatas, Dimitris; Wroblewski, Emily E.; Wood, Brian; Winterhalder, Bruce; Willfuehr, Kai P.; Willard, Aiyana K.; Walker, Kara; von Rueden, Christopher; Voland, Eckart; Valeggia, Claudia; Vaitla, Bapu; Urlacher, Samuel; Towner, Mary; Sum, Chun-Yi; Sugiyama, Lawrence S.; Strier, Karen B.; Starkweather, Kathrine; Major-Smith, Daniel; Shenk, Mary; Sear, Rebecca; Seabright, Edmond; Schacht, Ryan; Scelza, Brooke; Scaggs, Shane; Salerno, Jonathan; Revilla-Minaya, Caissa; Redhead, Daniel; Pusey, Anne; Purzycki, Benjamin Grant; Power, Eleanor A.; Pisor, Anne; Pettay, Jenni; Perry, Susan; Page, Abigail E.; Pacheco-Cobos, Luis; Oths, Kathryn; Oh, Seung-Yun; Nolin, David; Nettle, Daniel; Moya, Cristina; Migliano, Andrea Bamberg; Mertens, Karl J.; McNamara, Rita A.; McElreath, Richard; Mattison, Siobhan; Massengill, Eric; Marlowe, Frank; Madimenos, Felicia; Macfarlan, Shane; Lummaa, Virpi; Lizarralde, Roberto; Liu, Ruizhe; Liebert, Melissa A.; Lew-Levy, Sheina; Leslie, Paul; Lanning, Joseph; Kramer, Karen; Koster, Jeremy; Kaplan, Hillard S.; Jamsranjav, Bayarsaikhan; Hurtado, A. Magdalena; Hill, Kim; Hewlett, Barry; Helle, Samuli; Headland, Thomas; Headland, Janet; Gurven, Michael; Grimalda, Gianluca; Greaves, Russell; Golden, Christopher D.; Godoy, Irene; Gibson, Mhairi; El Mouden, Claire; Dyble, Mark; Draper, Patricia; Downey, Sean; DeMarco, Angelina L.; Davis, Helen Elizabeth; Crabtree, Stefani; Cortez, Carmen; Colleran, Heidi; Cohen, Emma; Cohen, Emma; Clark, Gregory; Clark, Julia; Caudell, Mark A.; Carminito, Chelsea E.; Bunce, John; Boyette, Adam; Bowles, Samuel; Blumenfield, Tami; Beheim, Bret; Beckerman, Stephen; Atkinson, Quentin; Apicella, Coren; Alam, Nurul; Mulder, Monique Borgerhoff; The Santa Fe Institute; Max Planck Society; University of New Mexico; University of Zurich; University of Washington; University of Washington Seattle; University of Tennessee Knoxville; International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR); Idaho; Boise State University; University of Connecticut; Stanford University; University of California Los Angeles; University of California Davis; Carl von Ossietzky Universitat Oldenburg; Brunel University; North Carolina State University; University of Richmond; Justus Liebig University Giessen; Yale University; Harvard University; Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Baylor University; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR); Oklahoma State University - Stillwater; Boston University; University of Oregon; University of Wisconsin Madison; University of Illinois Chicago; University of Illinois Chicago Hospital; University of Bristol; Pennsylvania State University; Pennsylvania State University - University Park; University of London; London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; University of North Carolina; East Carolina University; Ohio State University; Colorado State University; Duke University; Aarhus University; London School Economics & Political Science; Washington State University; University of Turku; Universidad Veracruzana; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; University of Massachusetts Amherst; UDICE-French Research Universities; Universite PSL; Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS); Victoria University Wellington; University of Cambridge; Queens College NY (CUNY); University of Utah; University of Central Venezuela; Northern Arizona University; Durham University; University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; University of Cincinnati; Chapman University; Arizona State University; Arizona State University-Tempe; University of California Santa Barbara; Institut fur Weltwirtschaft an der Universitat Kiel (IFW); University of Bielefeld; University of Oxford; University College London; University of Nebraska Lincoln; Utah State University; Yunnan University; University of Auckland; University of Pennsylvania
    To address claims of human exceptionalism, we determine where humans fit within the greater mammalian distribution of reproductive inequality. We show that humans exhibit lower reproductive skew (i.e., inequality in the number of surviving offspring) among males and smaller sex differences in reproductive skew than most other mammals, while nevertheless falling within the mammalian range. Additionally, female reproductive skew is higher in polygynous human populations than in polygynous nonhumans mammals on average. This patterning of skew can be attributed in part to the prevalence of monogamy in humans compared to the predominance of polygyny in nonhuman mammals, to the limited degree of polygyny in the human societies that practice it, and to the importance of unequally held rival resources to women's fitness. The muted reproductive inequality observed in humans appears to be linked to several unusual characteristics of our species-including high levels of cooperation among males, high dependence on unequally held rival resources, complementarities between maternal and paternal investment, as well as social and legal institutions that enforce monogamous norms.
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    Which way to the dawn of speech?: Reanalyzing half a century of debates and data in light of speech science
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019) Boe, Louis-Jean; Sawallis, Thomas R.; Fagot, Joel; Badin, Pierre; Barbier, Guillaume; Captier, Guillaume; Menard, Lucie; Heim, Jean-Louis; Schwartz, Jean-Luc; UDICE-French Research Universities; Communaute Universite Grenoble Alpes; Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble; Universite Grenoble Alpes (UGA); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS); University of Alabama Tuscaloosa; Aix-Marseille Universite; Universite de Montreal; University of Quebec; University of Quebec Montreal; Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)
    Recent articles on primate articulatory abilities are revolutionary regarding speech emergence, a crucial aspect of language evolution, by revealing a human-like system of proto-vowels in nonhuman primates and implicitly throughout our hominid ancestry. This article presents both a schematic history and the state of the art in primate vocalization research and its importance for speech emergence. Recent speech research advances allowmore incisive comparison of phylogeny and ontogeny and also an illuminating reinterpretation of vintage primate vocalization data. This review produces three major findings. First, even among primates, laryngeal descent is not uniquely human. Second, laryngeal descent is not required to produce contrasting formant patterns in vocalizations. Third, living nonhuman primates produce vocalizations with contrasting formant patterns. Thus, evidence now overwhelmingly refutes the long-standing laryngeal descent theory, which pushes back "the dawn of speech" beyond similar to 200 ka ago to over similar to 20 Ma ago, a difference of two orders of magnitude.
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    SPSS Dataset for "Tattooing as a Phenotypic Gambit"
    Lynn, Christopher; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Inking of Immunity Seattle Dataset (Science submission)
    Lynn, Christopher; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Family and the field: Expectations of a field based research career affect researcher's family planning decisions
    Lynn, Christopher D.; Howells, Michaela E.; Stein, Max J.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Glossolalia Influences on Stress Response Among Apostolic Pentecostals
    Lynn, Christopher D.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    This study tests the hypothesis that long-term experience of Apostolic Pentecostal glossolalia or “speaking in tongues” reduces the reactivity of biological stress response to normal or “daily” stressors. Glossolalia is a form of religious dissociation. Dissociation is a universal capacity often conflated with “trance.” It refers to the partitioning of awareness associated with a variety of cross-cultural forms, from daydreaming and denial to possession trance, shamanic spirit journeys, and dissociative identity disorder. Dissociation is believed to reduce or filter stress by mediating evaluation of potential stressors and reactivity of the mechanisms of biological stress response. Previous studies have examined these mechanisms in clinical settings and in relation to secularized dissociative phenomena, but few have attempted to evaluate the stress reducing and filtering capacities of culturally relative dissociation in situ. This is important, as forms of dissociation, such as meditation and hypnosis, are used in medical application for improving health by reducing stress. The current study sought to isolate a form of culturally relative dissociation in assessing its influence on biological stress response. This was accomplished through a two year investigation among Apostolics in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley.
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    Book Review: Why it's Interesting Why Women Have Sex
    Smith, J. Brett; Lynn, Christopher D.; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Engaging Undergraduates through Neuroanthropological Research
    Lynn, Christopher; Stein, Max; Bishop, Andrew; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    Evolutionary Studies' Reproductive Successes and Failures: Knowing the Institutional Ecology
    Spaulding, Kristina; Burch, Rebecca; Lynn, Christopher; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    The Effects of Performance-Based Education on Evolutionary Attitudes and Literacy
    James, Hillarie R.; Manresa, Yanet; Metts, Robert L.; Lynn, Christopher D.; Brinkman, Baba; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
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    It's a Dead Man's Party: Integrative Evolutionary Education through Darwin Day
    Howells, Michaela; Lynn, Christopher; Ocobock, Cara; Jost Robinson, Carolyn; Woolard, Katherine; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
    Although evolution is one of the most transformative and integrative theories in science, it remains difficult to entice university students to pursue evolution-oriented courses. Evolution is the only theory that ties together all life and behavior—including ultimate, proximal, physiological, and developmental explanations. Students who are not exposed, lack a fundamental STEM building block which may severely limit their understanding of the natural world and future career options. Darwin Day provides an important opportunity to showcase the interdisciplinary applicability of evolutionary theory in an engaging, accessible manner. In this paper, three biological anthropologists discuss initiating Darwin Day events in diverse university settings with a goal of building annual, sustainable programs. The purposeful lightheartedness of Darwin Day events engage non-science majors while highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of evolution for science students. Although our goal was the same—connect more people with evolutionary perspectives—our route, scope, successes, challenges, and access to resources differed. Combined, we model a variety of opportunities to encourage students to pursue further evolution-based courses and conversations, especially those specifically addressing human evolution. This template will be useful for others wishing to implement similar low-stakes opportunities to connect students with evolution education at their own institutions.
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    Simple Technologies and Diverse Food Strategies of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene at Huaca Prieta, Coastal Peru
    Chiou, Katherine L.; Dillehay, Tom D.; Goodbred, Steve; Pino, Mario; Vásquez Sánchez, Víctor F.; Tham, Teresa Rosales; Adovasio, James; Collins, Michael B.; Netherly, Patricia J.; Hastorf, Christine A.; Piperno, Dolores; Rey, Isabel; Velchoff, Nancy; University of Alabama Tuscaloosa