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09-27_Evolution_and_Human_Behavior-The_Debate

09-27_Evolution_and_Human_Behavior-The_Debate - Culture is...

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9/15/2011 1 Culture is important Cultural variation in the contemporary US Two principles Culture is essential Culture is part of human biology Most social scientists reject one or the other principle Reconcile them using evolutionary models Culture is important Cultural variation in the contemporary US Two principles Culture is essential Culture is part of human biology Most social scientists reject one or the other principle Reconcile them using evolutionary models Nisbett and Cohen show that there are important cultural differences between the North and South Richard Nisbett Dov Cohen Felony-Related Murders Argument-Related Murders 0 1 2 3 4 5 Non South South & Southwest White Male Homicide Offender Rates (per 100,000) From: Nisbett & Cohen (1996) Homicide rates are higher in the South than elsewhere in the US Several explanations have been suggested Poverty Inequality History of slavery Higher temperatures None explain high southern murder rates Pauline Grosjean performed statistical of contemporary murder rates None of these factors significant What is significant Level of Scot-Irish settlement in 1790 in the South but not the North Low levels of law and order in 1800‟s Pauline Grosjean
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9/15/2011 2 Hypothesis: High murder rates due to culture of honor Culture of honor evolved in lawless English Scotts borderlands 1400- 1700 Pastoral economy leads to rustling No law means that families benefit from tough reputation Personal honor becomes crucial Brought to US by Scotts-Irish immigrants Maintained only in lawless areas Effect is diminishing over time Effect of Scots-Irish population on murder rate Year 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Per Cent Agreeing with Statement Midwest South Violent response is justified after sexual abuse of 16 year old daughter. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Per Cent who Approve Man punches drunk who bumps into his wife. From: Nisbett & Cohen (1996 ) Expressed attitudes personal honor more highly valued in the South than the North Attitudes consistent with observed behavior N&C mailed job application letters to employers in North and South Honor letter: manslaughter resulting from a fight over personal honor. Control letter: grand theft auto in order to provide for wife and kids. N&C rated replies 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 Honor Letter Control Letter Rated Warmth of Reply North South & West Attitudes are consistent with behavior in the laboratory 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Control Insult Distance at which Subject gave way (in Subjects told they are participating in experiment on judgment In insult condition they are bumped and called “asshole” by confederate.
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