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Title: Collectivistic norms facilitate cooperation but not prejudice during a pandemic
Authors: Zhu, N
Lu, HJ 
Chang, L
Issue Date: Dec-2020
Source: Psychology, Dec. 2020, v. 11, no. 12, p. 1826- 1836
Abstract: As the world grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is ever more critical to understand how pathogens affect human social behaviors and attitudes. We review recent evidence for the parasite stress theory, which posits that pathogen threats may have led to psychological and cultural adaptations in terms of collectivism and outgroup prejudice. Although there is strong literature support that behavioral immune responses might have contributed to collectivistic norms, the link between pathogen prevalence and outgroup prejudice is less clear. To explain this, we proposed a new hypothesis, arguing that outgroup prejudice as an undesirable side effect of behavioral immune systems might be curtailed by collectivistic norms and centralized authorities, which, in turn, reflect cultural adaptations to cooperation in high-pathogen environments. This perspective provides novel explanations of the cultural difference in the phenomena of xenophobia and racial prejudice during pandemics.
Keywords: Behavioral Immune System
Pathogen Prevalence
Parasite Stress Theory
Publisher: Scientific Research Publishing, Inc.
Journal: Psychology 
ISSN: 2152-7180
EISSN: 2152-7199
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2020.1112115
Rights: Copyright © 2020 by author(s) and Scientific Research Publishing Inc. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).
The following publication Zhu, N., Lu, H. J., & Chang, L. (2020). Collectivistic Norms Facilitate Cooperation but Not Prejudice during a Pandemic. Psychology, 11, 1826-1836 is available at
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