Latitude

Are there systematic trends around the world in levels of creativity, aggressiveness, life satisfaction, individualism, trust, and suicidality? This article suggests a new field, latitudinal psychology, that delineates differences in such culturally shared features along northern and southern rather than eastern and western locations. In addition to geographical, ecological, and other explanations, we offer three metric foundations of latitudinal variations: replicability (latitudinal gradient repeatability across hemispheres), reversibility (north-south gradient reversal near the equator), and gradient strength (degree of replicability and reversibility). We show that aggressiveness decreases whereas creativity, life satisfaction, and individualism increase as one moves closer to either the North or South Pole. We also discuss the replicability, reversibility, and gradient strength of (a) temperatures and rainfall as remote predictors and (b) pathogen prevalence, national wealth, population density, and income inequality as more proximate predictors of latitudinal gradients in human functioning. Preliminary analyses suggest that cultural and psychological diversity often need to be partially understood in terms of latitudinal variations in integrated exposure to climate-induced demands and wealth-based resources. We conclude with broader implications, emphasizing the importance of north-south replications in samples that are not from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies.

Here is the article, via several MR readers.

Comments

So why are Russians the big outliers? First the Czars, then Stalin, and now Putin. The occasional mass demonstrations for democracy aside, they just can't pull it together.

Tyler asked a similar question to Masha Gessen recently(Ep. 73). Her answer was that most totalitarian countries remain that way until they break free. There have instances where Russia has nearly moved toward democracy, but it just hasn't happened yet.

It's a fair perspective that history is actually long, and our lives are short. We have a firefly's perspective on everything. Still, it is an unfortunate situation, and it is unfortunate that anti-democratic impulses spread more widely.

Why are people still talking seriously about buying Greenland from Denmark? It ain't because they understand or respect Greenland's democracy. It might even be a throwback to white people acquiring brown people in an economic exchange.

Really, it is a stinker that they still think white Danes should decide, after learning of Greenlandic independence

But to tie it back to a Danish/Russian joke in vogue, maybe Denmark should offer to buy America from the Russians. For similar reasons.

>Why are people still talking seriously about buying Greenland from Denmark?

Because they perceive it to be a good chance to virtue-signal how enlightened they are. Exactly like you.

What a sick puppy you are. The only reason to believe in democracy, or broadly self-determination, for the world's peoples is to "virtue signal?"

No buddy, Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, and don't you forget it.

Put your hat on straight, and stand up for it.

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I suppose since we are supposed to be viewing current events in the perspective of history we should note that virtually all previous empires, when looking to acquire desirable land, simply took it by force.

Oh sure, but as "moderns" we are supposed to help the arc of history bend towards justice.

People who tried that in the XX century got about 200 million people killed.

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You don't really know what a financial settlement between Denmark and the US to transfer Denmark's responsibilities to the USA would involve, and how compatible it would be with local autonomy and independence or not.

Though if you were really concerned about anti-colonialism, you'd be advocating for the giving up of California, Hawaii and the rest, not selectively advocating against a purchase of Greenland which would probably include conditions much more compatible with preference and predominance of the local people.

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Speaking as a European I'd say that country size is also a factor to be considered . I view Russia and USA as broadly similar in that they are both not fully civilized , with significant traces of backwardness . Russia still has the death penalty , although there has been a moratorium in effect since the 90s . In both countries slavery was an essential feature of the economy and was abolished late, at around the same time, interestingly, in the 1860s. Larger countries seem to encounter specific challenges that smaller countries can more easily overcome . China's Han core was extremely advanced but civilization broke down at the periphery . I wonder how the U.S. would have turned out if the New England states had formed an independent political entity.

Interesting comment. I can see that angle.

Who is bringing the Brie and wine to this America bashing party?

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It is not that simple. Brazil is bigger than America's Lower 48, but has abolished the death penalty de fact in fhe mid-1800s and de jure in the early 1890s.

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Technology matters too. I always wondered why FDR, for example, clearly hated the British and French Empires but was perfectly happy with the Russian/Soviet one. Then it struck me: it was because the American and Russian Empires were put together by horse-borne conquerors whereas the British and French ones had been ship-borne. He presumably felt that there was something natural about horse-borne conquest.

The Russians were, and are, the out-group compared to the British and French. Leftists love themselves a good out-group.

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It's a wonder what things strike people when they ignore obviously correct explanations. In this particular case, FDR was happy with the Soviets because the Soviets were progressive and communist and British/French empires were reactionary. FDR's administration was chock full of Communists, communists, socialists and assorted atheist, transcendentalist and evangelical progressives (FDR being one himself). "Communism is the Christianity of the future" as two young Boston ministers told Elizabeth Bentley.

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FDR, the former assistant secretary of the Navy, was obsessed with ships.

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I would tend to ascribe that from the visibility of British and French discourse to him, and it's anti-colonial intellectuals.

That, and the weird enthusiasm folk tend to have for the recurring "Eurasian Heartland Theory" tends to encourage various sorts to presume that empires along the Eurasian periphery are transient and irrelevant, while the Central Eurasian power holds (despite that this has pretty much never been enduring through actual history)

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> I wonder how the U.S. would have turned out if the New England states had formed an independent political entity.

US will be like Mexico.

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Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, paragons of advance.

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Since risk taking is the oxygen of development, it would have been great if the study had specifically included the willingness to take risks, or the aversion to risk.
https://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2010/10/god-make-us-daring.html

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Paging Steve Sailer to the comment section, Steve Sailer to the comment section.

This effect was previously noted in the literature (Buffett, 1977):

"Changes in latitudes,
Changes in attitudes"

https://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/jimmy+buffett/changes+in+latitudes+changes+in+attitudes_20071889.html

The Canadian border being mostly a line of latitude, Moynihan's law of the distance from Canadian border is another example.

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You know what, guys? Maybe I am dumb or something, but I cannot understand the situation. Mr. Gere politely criticized Red Chinese persecution of the Tibetan people and was banned from Hollywood. Meanwhile, we, as a nation, just can't shower enough adulation and money on a communist agitator and allow her to poison America's children's minds. I doubt it was what the Founding Fathers meant.

Shut the f*ck up, Thiago

Yes you know what I'm talking about.

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It's interesting that cultural features differ more along latitudinal than longitudinal lines, yet we are most likely to talk about "Eastern" vs "Western" culture. Definitely made me rethink how we define cross-cultural psychology.

'yet we are most likely to talk about "Eastern" vs "Western" culture'

Because the difference between Confucian and Christian frameworks is much more important historically than whether Chile or Argentina are more or less democratic than Russia based on latitudinal similarities?

I'm not sure that religion is 'much more important' than geography when it comes to culture. The article makes a strong case that the East-West dichotomy might be inflated and cultural differences by latitude have be overlooked.

'I'm not sure that religion'

Confucianism is not a religion - which could be a hint of how large the fundamental difference just might be.

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Whilst I would not necessarily select Christianity and Confucianism*, this is a problem I would agree with on these sort of "geographical variable" studies.

Latitude is very crude. At least "longitude" studies comes with the implicit or explicit understanding that they're really about different cultural complexes, while latitude makes little sense from that standpoint.

Generally, I tend to despair that these studies will ever have large enough, sufficiently diachronic sample sets robust to economic change to actually predict differences residual to change over time and with economic development. If you're happy to admit that admit that all the differences seen may be epiphenomena of economic development, what is the point of them?

* this is reductive to the stew of other influences separating East and West, and tends to cause error in over emphasizing the influence of Christianity and Confucianism, and partly rather idealised versions thereof (and not practiced) in the sphere of East and West.

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"the light of latitudinal psychology seems to be breaking on the horizon"

ba dum tss!

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we are seriously bettin
that the new field of "latitudinal psychology" is a hoax

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Where is there a native southern culture remotely close to native northern culture (e.g., whites). It doesn't exist.

This topic only holds true if you consider Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina "Southern", despite them being primarily immigrant-white.

Chile gets no respect, does it?

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There are none because "less-aggressive" Europeans colonized those places and annihilated the local cultures.

The cotton gin was invented in India. Though Eli Whitney gets most of the credit. A casual discernment. But the distinction holds, and its effective.
Behold! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotton_gin#/media/File:Cotton_gin_EWM_2007.jpg

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There's just some ineffable thing out there ... Can't quite put my finger on. Maybe if I re-read Jared Diamond on my next plane flight...

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Is the latitude effect subsumed by race?

If you stop to think about it for 5 seconds, you'll realize that race is the result of the latitute effect, via natural selection.

That's a relief. For a minute there I thought we were going to have to admit that races are different. Instead we can just say it's magic dirt.

Can't tell if trolling or serious, but 200,000 years of natural selection in differential pressures humans hadn't yet learned to insulate themselves from by means of cars, electricity, modern medicine and EBT cards, does make a dent. Or do you think races were created as-is by God?

We're on the same page, just pointing out that stating such obvious facts is a good way to get #canceled. You really should have blamed it on acceptable causes, such as zebras or colonialism.

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XVIII century physiocrats, Aristotle and a bunch of other guys are not happy about the lack of mentions of prior work.

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Without looking at the details of the paper, a useful thing to keep in mind with all North/South comparisons is that there is what may land/people in far northern latitudes versus far southern latitudes. The southernmost cities of continental Africa (Cape Town) and Australia (Melbourne) are at about 35 deg S. South America stretched lower than 35 deg S but the population centers are also there (still north of 40 deg S are Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo).

For the northern hemisphere, 35 deg N is about the latitude of Tokyo, but even Beijing isn’t that much further north at only 39-40 degrees N. In the US, 38 degrees north gets you to DC. All of Europe is above 32 deg N (tel Aviv is 32, Gibraltar is 36 deg N).

All of this is to say that basically anything above 40 deg north or south with substantial population is Europe and Canada (and maybe New Zealand and the heavily subsidized and low population parts of Chile, Argentina, and random U.K. islands). This highly unequal distribution of land between north and south makes is hard to use the south as a control for the Europe effect of a populated upper northern latitudes.

It seems like you are on the same page as the author's of the paper, as they note the need (or importance?) of replication of their findings excluding WEIRD nations.

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unfortunately, can't access this...is there another link?

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Re: suicidality? Economists and thought of life not worth living

Cross-tabulation of the most dominant genes of some professions with other general traits from the UK BioBank. Ya ya ya, correlation is not causation.

Although from CDC data US business and finance profession have low suicide rates but the UK BioBank data shows that economist seem to be the only "dark" profession with frequent mutations on the DCC gene. On the other hand those with intimate relationship with economic data are significantly affected by bad results. DCC mutations can cause neurological problems as well as literally pain in the gut/butt for themselves,

http://fastgwa.info/ukbimp/pheno/22601_24233283

Variant Nearest Gene(s) MAF P-value
18:51,065,539 C / T (rs149837950) DCC 0.010 4.6e-8

management consultant, actuary, economist, statistician, statistical controller/assistant, business analyst, demographer, economic forecaster (DCC):
Phenotype | Gene | TopSNP | Pval
Ever contemplated self-harm | DCC | rs4291980 | 2.4e-08
Ever thought that life not worth living | DCC | rs17488727 | 2.7e-09
Frequency of depressed mood in last 2 weeks | DCC | rs11438211 | 3.4e-14
Frequency of unenthusiasm/disinterest in last 2 weeks | DCC | rs72923287 | 3.0e-17
Treatment/medication code: amitriptyline | DCC | rs56341215 | 1.2e-07

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5374027/ "Biallelic Mutations In Human DCC Cause Developmental Split Brain Syndrome"

Just the other day someone from the new University Business School building across the road jumped from the 10th floor, and another unsuccessful attempt two days later. Were those related to seasonal affective disorder or the stock market crashes caused by Trump ??

Some DCC mutation might cause "Horizontal Gaze Palsy". It is rare that economists can be unable to look left or right.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5374027/bin/NIHMS849668-supplement-2.pdf

"Horizontal gaze palsy as evidenced by failure of horizontal movements of the eye, with preservation of upward and downward gaze"

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