Individualism/collectivism. West/East

Individualism/collectivism. West/East

Сообщение Terrin » Сб фев 13, 2010 1:11 am

...The West epitomizes individualistic, do-your-own thing cultures, ones where the rights of the individual equal and often trump those of the group and where differences are valued. East Asian societies exalt the larger society: behavior is constrained by social roles, conformity is prized, outsiders shunned. "The individualist-collectivist split is one of the most powerful differences among cultures," says Nisbett. But the reason a society falls where it does on the individualism-collectivism spectrum has been pretty much a mystery. Now a team of researchers has come up with a surprising explanation: disease-causing microbes. Societies that evolved in places with an abundance of pathogens, they argue, had to adopt behaviors that add up to collectivism, for reasons of sheer preservation. Societies that arose in places with fewer pathogens had the luxury of individualism, which is less effective at limiting the spread of disease but brings with it other social benefits, such as innovation.

...The scientists started with the fact that certain behaviors make you less likely to contract an infectious disease. A reluctance to interact with strangers can protect against pathogens because strangers are more likely to carry strange microbes that the group lacks immunity to, says Mark Schaller; xenophobia keeps away strangers and their strange bugs. Respect for traditions also works: ways of preparing food (using hot pepper, say, which kills microbes), rules about hygiene and laws about marriage (wed only in-group members, whose microbes you're probably immune to) likely arose to keep pathogens at bay. "Conformity helps maintain these buffers against disease," says Corey Fincher; mavericks are dangerous. In places with a high prevalence of pathogens, such cultural traits—which happen to be the hallmarks of societies that value the group over the individual—would be adaptive. Put another way, societies that arose in pathogen-rife regions and did not have such traits would be wiped out by disease. Societies that did have them would survive.

...When the scientists examined how closely collectivism tracked the prevalence of pathogens, they found a strong correlation, they will report in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... /1279.full
In general, tropical regions have more pathogens, and societies there tend to be more group-oriented than those at higher latitudes. Ecuador, Panama, Pakistan, India, China and Japan are the world's most group-first societies—and historically have had the highest prevalence of natural pathogens due to their climate and topography. The most individualistic are in Northern Europe and the United States, where there have historically been fewer native pathogens. For years scientists have scratched their heads over why collectivism declines with distance from the equator, and why living in colder regions should promote individualism (you'd think polar people would want to huddle together more). The answer seems to be that equatorial regions breed more pathogens.

...The presence of pathogens also predicts cross-cultural differences in personality traits, not just shared cultural values. "In places that have historically had a lot of diseases, people generally score lower on measures of extraversion and 'openness,' which is jargon for curiosity and related traits," Schaller says. "Our history of living with infectious diseases may have shaped, in ways we're not even aware of, human cognition, behavior and culture." http://www.newsweek.com/id/130623

...we examined the association between cultural values of individualism–collectivism and allelic frequency of the serotonin transporter functional polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) as well as the role this culture–gene association may play in explaining global variability in prevalence of pathogens and affective disorders. We found evidence that collectivistic cultures were significantly more likely to comprise individuals carrying the short (S) allele of the 5-HTTLPR across 29 nations. Results further show that historical pathogen prevalence predicts cultural variability in individualism–collectivism owing to genetic selection of the S allele. Additionally, cultural values and frequency of S allele carriers negatively predict global prevalence of anxiety and mood disorder. Finally, mediation analyses further indicate that increased frequency of S allele carriers predicted decreased anxiety and mood disorder prevalence owing to increased collectivistic cultural values. Taken together, our findings suggest culture–gene coevolution between allelic frequency of 5-HTTLPR and cultural values of individualism–collectivism and support the notion that cultural values buffer genetically susceptible populations from increased prevalence of affective disorders.
http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/ ... .1650.full

See also
Schaller, M. (2006). "Parasites, behavioral defenses, and the social psychological mechanisms through which cultures are evoked". Psychological Inquiry 17 (2): 96–101.

Schaller, M.; Duncan, L. A. (2007). "The behavioral immune system: Its evolution and social psychological implications". in J. P. Forgas, M. G. Haselton, & W. von Hippel. Evolution and the social mind: Evolutionary psychology and social cognition. New York: Psychology Press. pp. 293–307.

What is the origin of individualist-collectivist cultural divides?

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Terrin

 
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