Human Nature

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 59–75 | Cite as

Pathogen Prevalence, Group Bias, and Collectivism in the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample

Article

Abstract

It has been argued that people in areas with high pathogen loads will be more likely to avoid outsiders, to be biased in favor of in-groups, and to hold collectivist and conformist values. Cross-national studies have supported these predictions. In this paper we provide new pathogen codes for the 186 cultures of the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample and use them, together with existing pathogen and ethnographic data, to try to replicate these cross-national findings. In support of the theory, we found that cultures in high pathogen areas were more likely to socialize children toward collectivist values (obedience rather than self-reliance). There was some evidence that pathogens were associated with reduced adult dispersal. However, we found no evidence of an association between pathogens and our measures of group bias (in-group loyalty and xenophobia) or intergroup contact.

Keywords

Infectious disease Historical pathogen prevalence In-group bias Collectivism Cross-cultural analysis 

Supplementary material

12110_2012_9159_MOESM1_ESM.rtf (96 kb)
ESM 1(RTF 95.9 kb)

References

  1. Barry, H., Josephson, L., Lauer, E., & Marshall, C. (1976). Traits inculcated in childhood: cross-cultural codes 5. Ethnology, 15(1), 83–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barth, F. (1969). Ethnic groups and boundaries: The social organization of culture difference. Boston: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  3. Binford, L. (2001). Constructing frames of reference: An analytical method for archaeological theory building using ethnographic and environmental data sets. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Brewer, M. (1999). The psychology of prejudice: ingroup love and outgroup hate? Journal of Social Issues, 55(3), 429–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cashdan, E. (2001). Ethnocentrism and xenophobia: a cross-cultural study. Current Anthropology, 42(5), 760–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cashdan, E. (2012). In-group loyalty or out-group avoidance? Isolating the links between pathogens and in-group assortative sociality. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35(2), 82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Faulkner, J., Schaller, M., Park, J., & Duncan, L. (2004). Evolved disease-avoidance mechanisms and contemporary xenophobic attitudes. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 7(4), 333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Faust, E., & Russell, P. (1964). Craig and Faust’s clinical parasitology. Philadelphia: Lea and Febiger.Google Scholar
  9. Fincher, C., & Thornhill, R. (2008a). Assortative sociality, limited dispersal, infectious disease and the genesis of the global pattern of religion diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1651), 2587–2594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fincher, C., & Thornhill, R. (2008b). A parasite-driven wedge: infectious diseases may explain language and other biodiversity. Oikos, 117(9), 1289–1297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fincher, C., & Thornhill, R. (2012). Parasite-stress promotes in-group assortative sociality: the cases of strong family ties and heightened religiosity. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 35(2), 39–59. doi:10.1017/S0140525X11001774.
  12. Fincher, C., Thornhill, R., Murray, D., & Schaller, M. (2008). Pathogen prevalence predicts human cross-cultural variability in individualism/collectivism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 275(1640), 1279–1285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gelfand, M., Raver, J., Nishii, L., Leslie, L., Lun, J., Lim, B., Duan, L., Almaliach, A., Ang, S., Arnadottir, J., et al. (2011). Differences between tight and loose cultures: a 33-nation study. Science, 332(6033), 1100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Henrich, J., Heine, S., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2–3), 61–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Low, B. (1989). Cross-cultural patterns in the training of children: an evolutionary perspective. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 103(4), 311–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Low, B. (1990). Marriage systems and pathogen stress in human societies. American Zoologist, 30(2), 325–340.Google Scholar
  17. Low, B. S. (1994). Pathogen intensity cross-culturally: SCCS. World Cultures, 8(2).Google Scholar
  18. Moody, J. (2001). Race, school integration, and friendship segregation in America. The American Journal of Sociology, 107(3), 679–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Murdock, G. P., & Provost, C. (1971). Measurement of cultural complexity. Ethnology, 12, 379–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Murdock, G., & White, D. (1969). Standard cross-cultural sample. Ethnology, 8(4), 329–369. Updated at http://128.195.148.16/~drwhite/pub/SCCS1969.pdf.Google Scholar
  21. Murdock, G. P., & Wilson, S. F. (1972). Settlement patterns and community organization: cross cultural codes 3. Ethnology, 11, 254–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Murdock, G., Wilson, S., & Frederick, V. (1978). World distribution of theories of illness. Ethnology, 17(4), 449–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murray, D., & Schaller, M. (2010). Historical prevalence of infectious diseases within 230 geopolitical regions: a tool for investigating origins of culture. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 41(1), 99–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Navarrete, C., & Fessler, D. (2006). Disease avoidance and ethnocentrism: the effects of disease vulnerability and disgust sensitivity on intergroup attitudes. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27(4), 270–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putnam, R. (2007). E pluribus unum: civic engagement in a diverse and changing society. Scandinavian Political Studies, 30(2), 137–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rodenwaldt, E., & Bader, R. E. (1961). World-atlas of epidemic diseases (1952–1961). Hamburg: Falk-Verlag.Google Scholar
  27. Ross, M. (1983). Political decision making and conflict: additional cross-cultural codes and scales. Ethnology, 22, 169–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. SAS Institute (2012). Base SAS(R) 9.3 procedures guide: Statistical procedures. SAS Institute.Google Scholar
  29. Schaller, M., & Duncan, L. (2007). The behavioral immune system: Its evolution and social psychological implications. In J. P. Forgas, M. G. Haselton, & W. von Hippell (Eds.), Evolution and the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and social cognition (pp. 293–307). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  30. Schaller, M., & Murray, D. (2008). Pathogens, personality, and culture: disease prevalence predicts worldwide variability in sociosexuality, extraversion, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(1), 212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schaller, M., & Murray, D. (2010). Infectious diseases and the evolution of cross-cultural differences. In M. Schaller (Ed.), Evolution, culture, and the human mind (pp. 243–256). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  32. Shipley, B. (2002). Cause and correlation in Biology: A users guide to path analysis, structural equations and causal inference. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Simmons, J. S., Whayne, T. F., Anderson, G. W., & Horack, H. M. (1944). Global epidemiology: A geography of disease and sanitation. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  34. Skitka, L. (2005). Patriotism or nationalism? Understanding post-September 11, 2001, flag-display behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(10), 1995–2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Thornhill, R., Fincher, C., Murray, D., & Schaller, M. (2010). Zoonotic and non-zoonotic diseases in relation to human personality and societal values: support for the parasite-stress model. Evolutionary Psychology, 8(2), 151–169.Google Scholar
  36. Whiting, J. W. M. (1989). Climate data from weather stations. World Cultures, 1(1), 179–199.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

Personalised recommendations