Psychological and cultural effects of different kinds of danger: An exploration based on survey data from 79 countries

Agner Fog*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Individual danger and collective danger have very different effects according to the predictions of a theory called regality theory, based on evolutionary psychology. This study explores the effects of different kinds of danger on 37 different indicators of psychological and cultural responses to danger based on data from two waves of the World Values Survey, including 173,000 respondents in 79 countries. The results show that individual danger and collective danger have very different – and often opposite – psychological and cultural effects. Collective dangers are positively correlated with many indicators related to authoritarianism, nationalism, discipline, intolerance, morality, religiosity, etc. Individual dangers have neutral or opposite correlations with many of these indicators. Infectious diseases have little or no effects on these indicators. Many previous studies that confound different kinds of danger may be misleading. Several psychological and cultural theories are discussed in relation to these results. The observed effects of collective danger are in agreement with many of these theories while individual danger has unexpected effects. The findings are not in agreement with terror management theory and pathogen stress theory.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Evolution
Number of pages22
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Individual danger
  • Collective danger
  • Authoritaianism
  • Cultural values
  • Democracy
  • Regality theory

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