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Advances in Culture and PsychologyVolume 1$
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Michele J. Gelfand, Chi-yue Chiu, and Ying-yi Hong

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380392.001.0001

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Infectious Disease and the Creation of Culture

Infectious Disease and the Creation of Culture

Chapter:
(p.99) Chapter 3 Infectious Disease and the Creation of Culture
Source:
Advances in Culture and Psychology
Author(s):

Mark Schaller

Damian R. Murray

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380392.003.0003

Many cross-cultural differences may result from the fact that, historically, people living under different ecological circumstances have been differentially vulnerable to the threat posed by infectious diseases. This chapter articulates an evolutionary cost/benefit framework that implies causal relations between the ecological prevalence of disease-causing pathogens and cultural outcomes. This conceptual framework has provided the foundation for many hypotheses linking pathogen prevalence to specific kinds of cultural differences, including differences in social attitudes, personality traits (e.g., extraversion, openness to experience), value systems (e.g., individualism versus collectivism), and political ideologies. The chapter summarizes these hypotheses, and reviews empirical evidence that tests (and supports) the hypotheses. The chapter concludes with a discussion of additional research questions raised by these results, including important questions about the exact causal mechanisms through which the differential prevalence of infectious diseases might create cross-cultural differences.

Keywords:   culture, disease, ecology, evolution, pathogens, personality, values

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