Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: doi:10.22028/D291-32424
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Title: Explaining illness with evil: pathogen prevalence fosters moral vitalism
Author(s): Bastian, Brock
Vauclair, Christin-Melanie
Loughnan, Steve
Bain, Paul
Ashokkumar, Ashwini
Becker, Maja
Bilewicz, Michał
Collier-Baker, Emma
Crespo, Carla
Eastwick, Paul W.
Fischer, Ronald
Friese, Malte
Gómez, Ángel
Guerra, Valeschka M.
Guevara, José Luis Castellanos
Hanke, Katja
Hooper, Nic
Huang, Li-Li
Junqi, Shi
Karasawa, Minoru
Kuppens, Peter
Leknes, Siri
Peker, Müjde
Pelay, Cesar
Pina, Afroditi
Sachkova, Marianna
Saguy, Tamar
Silfver-Kuhalampi, Mia
Sortheix, Florencia
Tong, Jennifer
Yeung, Victoria Wai-Lan
Duffy, Jacob
Swann, William B.
Language: English
Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London
Volume: 286
Issue: 1914
Publisher/Platform: The Royal Society
Year of Publication: 2019
Publikation type: Journal Article
Abstract: Pathogens represent a significant threat to human health leading to the emergence of strategies designed to help manage their negative impact. We examined how spiritual beliefs developed to explain and predict the devastating effects of pathogens and spread of infectious disease. Analysis of existing data in studies 1 and 2 suggests that moral vitalism (beliefs about spiritual forces of evil) is higher in geographical regions characterized by historical higher levels of pathogens. Furthermore, drawing on a sample of 3140 participants from 28 countries in study 3, we found that historical higher levels of pathogens were associated with stronger endorsement of moral vitalistic beliefs. Furthermore, endorsement of moral vitalistic beliefs statistically mediated the previously reported relationship between pathogen prevalence and conservative ideologies, suggesting these beliefs reinforce behavioural strategies which function to prevent infection. We conclude that moral vitalism may be adaptive: by emphasizing concerns over contagion, it provided an explanatory model that enabled human groups to reduce rates of contagious disease.
DOI of the first publication: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1576
URL of the first publication: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.1576
Link to this record: hdl:20.500.11880/29797
http://dx.doi.org/10.22028/D291-32424
ISSN: 0962-8452
1471-2954
Date of registration: 1-Oct-2020
Faculty: HW - Fakultät für Empirische Humanwissenschaften und Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Department: HW - Psychologie
Professorship: HW - Prof. Dr. Malte Friese
Collections:UniBib – Die Universitätsbibliographie

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