The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-24
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Science
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

Western World

Keywords

  • aggressive behavior
  • cross-cultural differences
  • honor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Nowak, A., Gelfand, M. J., Borkowski, W., Cohen, D., & Hernandez, I. (2016). The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures. Psychological Science, 27(1), 12-24. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615602860

The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures. / Nowak, Andrzej; Gelfand, Michele J.; Borkowski, Wojciech; Cohen, Dov; Hernandez, Ivan.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 27, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 12-24.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nowak, A, Gelfand, MJ, Borkowski, W, Cohen, D & Hernandez, I 2016, 'The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures', Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 12-24. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615602860
Nowak A, Gelfand MJ, Borkowski W, Cohen D, Hernandez I. The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures. Psychological Science. 2016 Jan 1;27(1):12-24. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615602860
Nowak, Andrzej ; Gelfand, Michele J. ; Borkowski, Wojciech ; Cohen, Dov ; Hernandez, Ivan. / The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures. In: Psychological Science. 2016 ; Vol. 27, No. 1. pp. 12-24.
@article{60784e213d0c45779fa674f91fc95b6b,
title = "The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures",
abstract = "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.",
keywords = "aggressive behavior, cross-cultural differences, honor",
author = "Andrzej Nowak and Gelfand, {Michele J.} and Wojciech Borkowski and Dov Cohen and Ivan Hernandez",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0956797615602860",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "27",
pages = "12--24",
journal = "Psychological Science",
issn = "0956-7976",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Evolutionary Basis of Honor Cultures

AU - Nowak, Andrzej

AU - Gelfand, Michele J.

AU - Borkowski, Wojciech

AU - Cohen, Dov

AU - Hernandez, Ivan

PY - 2016/1/1

Y1 - 2016/1/1

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - aggressive behavior

KW - cross-cultural differences

KW - honor

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84954129325&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84954129325&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0956797615602860

DO - 10.1177/0956797615602860

M3 - Article

C2 - 26607976

AN - SCOPUS:84954129325

VL - 27

SP - 12

EP - 24

JO - Psychological Science

JF - Psychological Science

SN - 0956-7976

IS - 1

ER -