Human Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 315–329

Why Folkbiology Matters: Resource Conflict Despite Shared Goals and Knowledge

  • Douglas Medin
  • Norbert Ross
  • Douglas Cox
  • Scott Atran
Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10745-006-9054-9

Cite this article as:
Medin, D., Ross, N., Cox, D. et al. Hum Ecol (2007) 35: 315. doi:10.1007/s10745-006-9054-9


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.

Key words

Folkbiologyinductive reasoningcultural conflictresource distributionMenominee

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Medin
    • 1
  • Norbert Ross
    • 2
  • Douglas Cox
    • 3
  • Scott Atran
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Hilary Waukau Environmental Services CenterKeshenaUSA
  4. 4.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.CNRSParisFrance