Sheina Lew-Levy, PhD

Using methods from anthropology and developmental psychology, I study forager children's learning. I use these data to understand the evolution of cumulative culture and human childhood.

Social Learning

I use quantitative and qualitative interview and observational methods to study how and from whom children learn through meaningful participation in every day activities.

Forager Child Studies

With the interdisciplinary research team I co-founded and co-direct, I conduct cross-cultural reviews and secondary data analysis on the pasts, presents, and futures of forager children's learning. More info here.

Field site

Since 2016, I work with egalitarian BaYaka foragers and their farmer neighbours in the Congo Basin. My primary research focuses on social learning. I have also collected biological samples, social network data, and conducted experiments for collaborative cross-cultural projects.


google scholar

Lew-Levy, S., Boyette, A.H., Crittenden, A.N., Hewlett, B.S., Lamb, M.E. (Accepted). Gender-typed and gender-segregated play among Tanzanian Hadza and Congolese BaYaka hunter-gatherer children and adolescents. Child Development.

Pope, S.M., Fagot, J., Meguerditchian, A., Watzek, J., Lew-Levy, S. Autrey, M.M., Hopkins, W.D. (Accepted). Optional-switch cognitive flexibility in primates: Chimpanzees’ (Pan troglodytes) intermediate susceptibility to cognitive set. Journal of Comparative Psychology.

Lew-Levy, S., Crittenden, A.N., Boyette, A.H., Mabulla, I.A., Hewlett, B.S., Lamb, M.E. (In press). Inter- and intra-cultural variation in learning-through-participation among Hadza and BaYaka forager children and adolescents from Tanzania and Congo. Journal of Psychology in Africa.

Boyette, A.H., Lew-Levy, S. (In press). Identifying variation in cultural models of resource sharing between foragers and farmers: A multi-method, cognitive approach. Towards a Broader View of Hunter Gatherer Sharing. (peer reviewed). Eds.: D.E. Friesem, and N. Lavi. Cambridge: MacDonald Institute Monograph Series.

Froehle, A.W., Wells, G.K., Pollom, T.R., Mabulla, A.Z.P., Lew-Levy, S., Crittenden, A.N. (2019). Physical activity and time budgets of Hadza forager children: Implications for self-provisioning and the ontogeny of the sexual division of labor. American Journal of Human Biology 31(1): e23209. link

Boyette, A.H., Lew-Levy, S., Sarma, M.S., Gettler, L.T. (2019). Testosterone, fathers as providers and caregivers, and child health: Evidence from fisher-farmers in the Republic of Congo. Hormones and Behavior 107: 35-45. link

Boyette, A.H., Lew-Levy, S., Gettler, L.T. (2018). Dimensions of fatherhood in a Congo Basin village: A multi-method analysis of intra-cultural variation in men’s parenting and its relevance for child heath. Current Anthropology 59(6): 839-847. link

Lew-Levy, S., Boyette, A.H. (2018). Evidence for the adaptive learning function of work and work-themed play among Aka forager and Ngandu farmer children from the Congo Basin. Human Nature 29(2): 157-185. link

Lew-Levy, S., Lavi, N., Reckin, R., Cristobal-Azkarate, J., Ellis-Davies, K. (2018). How do hunter-gatherer children learn social and gender norms? A meta-ethnographic review. Cross-Cultural Research 52(2): 213-255. link

Lew-Levy, S., Reckin, R., Lavi, N., Cristobal-Azkarate, J., Ellis-Davies, K. (2017). How do hunter-gatherer children learn subsistence skills? A meta-ethnographic review. Human Nature 28(4): 367-394. link

Timler, K., Lew-Levy, S. (2016). Growing under the Acacia tree: An open letter on how to raise an anthropologist. Teaching Anthropology 6: 52-56. link

Lew-Levy, S. (2013). Paths of least resistance: Food, abundance, and politics of indistinction in a foraging household. Fields-Terrains 3: 30-37. link


My research has been funded by

  • The Leakey Foundation
  • The Wenner-Gren Foundation
  • The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • The Royal Anthropological Institute
  • The Worts Travelling Grant
  • The Smuts Memorial Fund
  • The Cambridge International Trust
  • The Gates-Cambridge Trust