This is a 100% open access project.

The Parental Investment Vignette Project (PIVP) is a collaborative cross-cultural research project aimed at exploring the maternal investment decision-making process in humans from an evolutionary perspective.

The project used factorial vignette experiments which allow us to estimate the effects of multiple factors and their interactions on the decision-making process without confounding, and provides a means for standardizing the research instruments for use in diverse field contexts.

The project was conceived at a workshop for the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s (UK) Culture and the Mind Project.

map 9

Map of PIVP field sites (from Kushnick et al 2015)


Dr Geoff Kushnick (Primary Investigator)
Australian National University

Dr Jun-Hong Kim
Seoul National University, South Korea

Dr Banrida Langstieh
North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong

Katalin Oláh
Eötvös Loránd University & Hungarian Academy of Science, Budapest

Vittorio Magnano
Universidad Europea de Valencia

Ben Hanowell
Redfin Corporation, Seattle


Kushnick G, Chabot-Hanowell B, Kim J, Langstieh B, Magnano V, Oláh K (2015). Experimental evidence for convergent evolution of maternal care heuristics in industrialized and small-scale populations. Royal Society Open Science, 2, 140518. link

Kushnick G (2013). Access to resources shapes maternal decision making: Evidence from a factorial vignette experiment. PLoS ONE, 8, e75539. link


Kushnick G, Chabot-Hanowell B, Kim J, Langstieh B, Magnano V, Oláh K (2014). PIVP – data and codebook. figshare, 1172115. link


Kushnick G, Chabot-Hanowell B, Kim J, Magnano V, Oláh K (2013). Using third-party judgments to study maternal decision-making. Paper presented at the Northwest Evolution, Ecology, and Human Behavior Symposium, Boise, ID.

Media Coverage

Childcare norms change as society industrialises. Phys.org, 24 Jun 15. link

Childcare decisions more complex with safety net. Early Learning Review, 30 Jun 15. link