Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Publisher’s Version

Publication Date

11-2016

Abstract

People who are more avoidant of pathogens are more politically conservative, as are nations with greater parasite stress. In the current research, we test two prominent hypotheses that have been proposed as explanations for these relationships. The first, which is an intragroup account, holds that these relationships between pathogens and politics are based on motivations to adhere to local norms, which are sometimes shaped by cultural evolution to have pathogenneutralizing properties. The second, which is an intergroup account, holds that these same relationships are based on motivations to avoid contact with outgroups, who might pose greater infectious disease threats than ingroup members. Results from a study surveying 11,501 participants across 30 nations are more consistent with the intragroup account than with the intergroup account. National parasite stress relates to traditionalism (an aspect of conservatism especially related to adherence to group norms) but not to social dominance orientation (SDO; an aspect of conservatism especially related to endorsements of intergroup barriers and negativity toward ethnic and racial outgroups). Further, individual differences in pathogen-avoidance motives (i.e., disgust sensitivity) relate more strongly to traditionalism than to SDO within the 30 nations.

Keywords

political ideology, pathogens, disgust, culture, evolutionary psychology

Discipline

Applied Behavior Analysis | Multicultural Psychology | Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Volume

113

Issue

44

First Page

12408

Last Page

12413

ISSN

1091-6490

Identifier

10.1073/pnas.1607398113

Publisher

National Academy of Sciences

Copyright Owner and License

Authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

pnas.1607398113.sapp.pdf (179 kB)
Survey

pnas.1607398113.sd01.xls (3487 kB)
Dataset

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1607398113

Comments

Dataset and supporting information available at http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2016/10/12/1607398113.DCSupplemental

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