Irrational Beliefs as a Cognitive Mechanism Explaining the Link Between Pathogen Prevalence and Individualism-Collectivism
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy | Uitgave 4/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Previous studies established a relationship between the historical prevalence of pathogens and the individualism-collectivism cultural dimension. In this article, we argue that this relation can be mediated by distorted information processes derived from the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) model (i.e., irrational beliefs in the form of rigid/absolutistic/inflexible thinking). We hypothesize that populations living in dangerous environments, expressed through the historical prevalence of pathogens, have developed a psychological tendency towards rigid information processing strategies, which have in turn contributed to the formation of collectivistic cultural organization. We extracted data on the prevalence of historical pathogens and individualism-collectivism cultural dimension from previous sources, and we computed an index of irrationality based on two items extracted from the World Values Survey. Using the sample of 41 countries we tested a mediation model between these variables. The results pointed that irrational beliefs partially mediated the relationship between pathogen prevalence and individualism—collectivism cultural dimension (b = − .07, SE = 0.28, 95% boot CI [− 0.13, − 0.02]). This result support the idea that demanding beliefs about social interactions emerges as an adaptation to harsh environments and partially promotes collectivistic cultural organization.