Cross-cultural differences in emotional selection on transmission of information

Eriksson, Kimmo, Coultas, Julie and de Barra, Mícheál (2016) Cross-cultural differences in emotional selection on transmission of information. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 16 (1-2). pp. 122-143. ISSN 1567-7095

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Abstract

Research on cultural transmission among Americans has established a bias for transmitting stories that have disgusting elements (such as exposure to rats and maggots). Conceived of as a cultural evolutionary force, this phenomenon is one type of emotional selection. In a series of online studies with Americans and Indians we investigate whether there are cultural differences in emotional selection, such that the transmission process favours different kinds of content in different countries. The first study found a bias for disgusting content (rats and maggots) among Americans but not among Indians. Four subsequent studies focused on how country interacts with kind of emotional content (disgusting vs. happy surprises and good news) in reactions to transmission of stories or information. Whereas Indian participants, compared to Americans, tended to be less interested in, and excited by, transmission of stories and news involving common disgust-elicitors (like rats), the opposite pattern held for transmission of happy surprises and good news (e.g., the opening of a new public facility). We discuss various possible explanations and implications.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Cultural differences, Cultural evolution, Cultural transmission, Disgust, Emotional selection
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0180 Experimental psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0309 Consciousness. Cognition Including learning, attention, comprehension, memory, imagination, genius, intelligence, thought and thinking, psycholinguistics, mental fatigue
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0511 Affection. Feeling. Emotion
H Social Sciences
Q Science > QZ Psychology
Depositing User: Julie Coultas
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 11:37
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63152

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