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How parochial are we really? Matching methods to questions to better characterize human sociality

Both in academic work and in the popular press, humans are commonly described as inherently "tribal" or parochial, characterized by in-group favoritism and between-group competition. In reality, human intergroup behavior is actually more flexible than we give ourselves credit for. In a trio of forthcoming papers, my collaborator Cody Ross and I suggest that if we want to more accurately characterize intergroup behavior, we need to change our assumptions about human sociality and better design methods to match our updated research questions. In this talk, I'll provide an overview of techniques for measuring in-group favoritism and between-group competition, focusing especially on behavioral economic experiments in which participants can allocate money to multiple recipients. I'll present two case studies, one from rural Bolivia and one from rural Colombia, as illustrations. The data from multi-recipient economic experiments can be difficult to analyze, however; I'll identify strategies for analyzing these data in Stan or R. To reframe how we think about parochialism going forward, I'll close by describing another central feature of human sociality---social relationships spanning distance---and how these connections can sometimes reduce parochial behavior.