Ecological Origins of Freedom: Pathogens, Heat Stress, and Frontier Topography Predict More Vertical but Less Horizontal Governmental Restriction

Lucian Gideon Conway, Kate Bongard, Victoria Plaut, Laura Janelle Gornick, Daniel P. Dodds, Thomas Giresi, Roger G. Tweed, Meredith A. Repke, Shannon C. Houck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

What kinds of physical environments make for free societies? The present research investigates the effect of three different types of ecological stressors (climate stress, pathogen stress, and frontier topography) on two measurements of governmental restriction: Vertical restriction involves select persons imposing asymmetrical laws on others, while horizontal restriction involves laws that restrict most members of a society equally. Investigation 1 validates our measurements of vertical and horizontal restriction. Investigation 2 demonstrates that, across both U.S. states and a sample of nations, ecological stressors tend to cause more vertically restrictive societies but less horizontally restrictive societies. Investigation 3 demonstrates that assortative sociality partially mediates ecological stress→restriction relationships across nations, but not in U.S. states. Although some stressor-specific effects emerged (most notably, cold stress consistently showed effects in the opposite direction), these results in the main suggest that ecological stress simultaneously creates opposing pressures that push freedom in two different directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1398
Number of pages21
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume43
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

Keywords

  • horizontal
  • individualism/collectivism
  • legal restriction
  • vertical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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