Why folkbiology matters: Resource conflict despite shared goals and knowledge

Douglas Medin*, Norbert Ross, Douglas Cox, Scott Atran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


There is a continuing controversy over Native American fishing and hunting rights. We show that Native American (Menominee) and European American fish experts have a common knowledge base and share values and attitudes associated with fishing practices (though organized around different ethical principles). Nonetheless, perceived group differences are dramatic (especially European American perceptions of Native Americans). Cultural differences in models of nature and associated inference processes appear to mediate these stereotypes and may hold the key to reducing intergroup conflict over resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Cultural conflict
  • Folkbiology
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Menominee
  • Resource distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Why folkbiology matters: Resource conflict despite shared goals and knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this