Horita, Y.（堀田結孝） & Takezawa, M. （竹澤正哲） (2018). Cultural differences in strength of conformity explained through pathogen stress: A statistical test using hierarchical Bayesian estimation 病原体の蔓延度から説明される同調傾向の文化差：階層ベイズによる推定 Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1921. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01921
The severity of the environment has been found to have played a selective pressure in the development of human behavior and psychology, and the historical prevalence of pathogens relate to cultural differences in group-oriented psychological mechanisms, such as collectivism and conformity to the in-group. However, previous studies have also proposed that the effectiveness of institutions, rather than pathogen stress, can account for regional variation in group-oriented psychological mechanisms. Moreover, previous studies using nations as units of analysis may have suffered from a problem of statistical non-independence, namely, Galton’s problem. The present study tested whether or not regional variation in pathogen stress, rather than government effectiveness, affected collectivism and conformity to social norms by adjusting the effect of global regions using hierarchical Bayesian estimation. We found that the overall effect of pathogen stress remained significant in only one out of the four indices of the regional variability of conformity, and the effects of the government effectiveness also disappeared. Instead, we found that significant effects of both pathogen stress and government effectiveness in specific regions of the world, but these effects were not stable across the measurements. These results indicate that both the effects of pathogen stress and government effectiveness need further reevaluation.