Pathogen Stress, Institutions, and Collectivistic/Individualistic Forms of Cooperation

It has been argued that collectivism is an adaptive cultural value for adaptation to sever environments, and ecological threats such as historical pathogen prevalence played an important role to cultivate collectivism. However, recent studies have argued that the effectiveness of institutions, rather than pathogen stress, could explain regional variances of collectivism. We hypothesized that each of these two factors would be correlated with collectivistic or individualistic forms of cooperation (conformity to in-group or general trust toward out-group members), rather than collectivism/individualism itself. We conducted country/region-level analysis and found that historical pathogen stress explained significantly the regional variances of intensity of conformity, whereas the institutional powers explained those of general trust, even when controlling for the other variable. Our findings suggest that ecological threats played as a selection pressure to build a closed community to maintain in-group cooperation, whereas modern institutions enhanced human cooperation beyond their communities.*******(Alternative Presentation Type: )*******

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Yutaka Horita, National Institute of Informatics, Japan
Masanori Takezawa, Hokkaido University, Japan

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Added on Monday, July 18th, 2016

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