The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures

Andrzej Nowak , Michele J. Gelfand , Wojciech Borkowski , Dov Cohen , Ivan Hernandez


Around the globe, people fight for their honor, even if it means sacrificing their lives. This is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective, and little is known about the conditions under which honor cultures evolve. We implemented an agent-based model of honor, and our simulations showed that the reliability of institutions and toughness of the environment are crucial conditions for the evolution of honor cultures. Honor cultures survive when the effectiveness of the authorities is low, even in very tough environments. Moreover, the results show that honor cultures and aggressive cultures are mutually dependent in what resembles a predator-prey relationship described in the renowned Lotka-Volterra model. Both cultures are eliminated when institutions are reliable. These results have implications for understanding conflict throughout the world, where Western-based strategies are exported, often unsuccessfully, to contexts of weak institutional authority wherein honor-based strategies have been critical for survival.
Author Andrzej Nowak
Andrzej Nowak,,
, Michele J. Gelfand
Michele J. Gelfand,,
, Wojciech Borkowski (Wydział Psychologii)
Wojciech Borkowski,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Dov Cohen
Dov Cohen,,
, Ivan Hernandez
Ivan Hernandez,,
Journal seriesPsychological Science, ISSN 0956-7976, (A 40 pkt)
Issue year2015
Publication size in sheets0.6
Keywords in Englishcross-cultural differences, honor, aggressive behavior
ASJC Classification3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
HonorCultures002-1.STRONA.pdf 748.56 KB
Additional file
BROWN_IR-ADV5255_16_0106_001-11.pdf 19.79 KB
Score (nominal)45
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2015 = 2.686; WoS Impact Factor: 2015 = 5.476 (2) - 2015=6.289 (5)
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