Hi, I'm Aaron

I'm a Social and Behavioral Researcher

Aaron Lightner

Hi, I'm Aaron

I'm a Social and Behavioral Researcher


Thanks for checking out my website 😎

I’m Aaron, a social and behavioral researcher currently residing in Denmark. My background and expertise are in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology, and I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University.

My research is ultimately about using data to better understand patterns of human behavior. How do our minds interact with our diverse cultural environments, and how and why can this result in predictably different ideas and decision-making behaviors around the world?

My current work is applying this question to the minds of gods: Why do different types of social and ecological challenges tend to be linked to the different types of god concepts that we see in cultures all around the world?

Other specific questions that my research has asked include: Why do people invest in specialized expertise across cultures? What leads people to decide whether or not they trust a specialist’s knowledge? How do people explain and predict risk and uncertainty in their social and natural worlds, and why do they often invoke the supernatural to do so?

I use a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods to tackle my research questions. I’ve used survey data, fieldwork, experiments, in-depth interviews, text analysis, computational modeling, network analysis, and data wrangling from secondary sources. I’ve also published peer-reviewed research papers about the evolution of religion, trust, expertise, cooperation, interpersonal conflict, folk scientific explanations, and cultural evolution.

Here’s my academic CV, and here’s my professional resume.

When I’m not reading, writing, and analyzing data, I enjoy biking, swimming, and homebrewing. Feel free to reach out, either on Twitter or by email.