advancing cultural evolutionary studies

2022 Conference Prizewinners

Pete Richerson Award for Best Ph.D.


Alba Motes Rodrigo

University of Lausanne

Experimental approaches to the study of early hominin technology and cognition using great apes as behavioural models. 

“We found this thesis to robustly combine detailed theoretical knowledge with
innovative methodological development and solid empirical results. We thought
her work on chimp and orangutan behavioral variation especially laudable.”


Mason Youngblood

Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology

From Psychology to Phylogeny: Bridging Levels of Analysis in Cultural Evolution. 

“The committee thought his thesis was an innovative and broad piece of work that
tackled everything from the cultural transmission of music, to radicalisation of
the right wing, and to tracking songbird populations. We especially appreciated
the meta-analysis of the discipline of cultural evolution.”


Manvir Singh

Institute for Advanced Study, Toulouse

The Foundations of Shamanism and Witchcraft

“The committee was impressed by his beautiful thesis which presented a com-
prehensive mixed methods study of shamanism and witchcraft. We found his thesis especially readable and engaging while providing a detailed, richly ethno-
graphic, and multifaceted investigation of the key topics. In particular, I really loved the dedication to his Mentawai friends and the photo montage.”


New Investigator Award


Patrick Savage

Keio University

“We thought his work on music evolution was innovative and world leading, and appreciated his development of large collaborative projects and construction of important cross-cultural datasets.”


Damian Blasi

Harvard University

“We found his work on language evolution and linguistic diversity to be innovative
and world leading. We especially liked his contribution to the diversity of our
discipline through outreach and mentoring to scholars from the global south.”


Nicole Wen

Brunel University, London

“We were impressed by her research into how children learn rituals and conventions that combined ethnography, behavioral experiments, and social group tasks. We believed that her work revealed interesting and empirically focused
findings with broad educational and community outreach possibilities.

In particular we were excited to see her future goals for applying her research to educational environments to help tackle bullying and racism. We also appreci-
ated her contributions to the Cultural Evolution Society by her representative position and her organisation of important workshops and roundtables.”​​​​​​​