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  Parasites and politics: why cross-cultural studies must control for relatedness, proximity and covariation

Bromham, L., Hua, X., Cardillo, M., Schneemann, H., & Greenhill, S. J. (2018). Parasites and politics: why cross-cultural studies must control for relatedness, proximity and covariation. Royal Society Open Science, 5(8): 181100. doi:10.1098/rsos.181100.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-01FF-E Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-0200-B
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Bromham, Lindell, Author
Hua, Xia, Author
Cardillo, Marcel, Author
Schneemann, Hilde, Author
Greenhill, Simon J.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074311              

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 Abstract: A growing number of studies seek to identify predictors of broad-scale patterns in human cultural diversity, but three sources of non-independence in human cultural variables can bias the results of cross-cultural studies. First, related cultures tend to have many traits in common, regardless of whether those traits are functionally linked. Second, societies in geographical proximity will share many aspects of culture, environment and demography. Third, many cultural traits covary, leading to spurious relationships between traits. Here, we demonstrate tractable methods for dealing with all three sources of bias. We use cross-cultural analyses of proposed associations between human cultural traits and parasite load to illustrate the potential problems of failing to correct for these three forms of statistical non-independence. Associations between parasite stress and sociosexuality, authoritarianism, democracy and language diversity are weak or absent once relatedness and proximity are taken into account, and parasite load has no more power to explain variation in traditionalism, religiosity and collectivism than other measures of biodiversity, climate or population size do. Without correction for statistical non-independence and covariation in cross-cultural analyses, we risk misinterpreting associations between culture and environment.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-08-29
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: 22
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: Other: shh1062
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181100
 Degree: -

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Title: Royal Society Open Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London : Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 5 (8) Sequence Number: 181100 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2054-5703
CoNE: /journals/resource/2054-5703