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Behav Brain Sci. 2012 Apr;35(2):99-119.

The parasite-stress theory may be a general theory of culture and sociality.

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Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


In the target article, we presented the hypothesis that parasite-stress variation was a causal factor in the variation of in-group assortative sociality, cross-nationally and across the United States, which we indexed with variables that measured different aspects of the strength of family ties and religiosity. We presented evidence supportive of our hypothesis in the form of analyses that controlled for variation in freedom, wealth resources, and wealth inequality across nations and the states of the USA. Here, we respond to criticisms from commentators and attempt to clarify and expand the parasite-stress theory of sociality used to fuel our research presented in the target article.

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