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

Human Nature 24 (1):59-75 (2013)
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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



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