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  • 1. Ahlenius, Henrik
    et al.
    Tännsjö, Torbjörn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Chinese and Westerners Respond Differently to the Trolley Dilemmas2012In: Journal of Cognition and Culture, ISSN 1567-7095, E-ISSN 1568-5373, Vol. 12, no 3-4, p. 195-201Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A set of moral problems known as The Trolley Dilemmas was presented to 3000 randomly selected inhabitants of the USA, Russia and China. It is shown that Chinese are significantly less prone to support utility-maximizing alternatives, as compared to the US and Russian respondents.

    A number of possible explanations, as well as methodological issues pertaining to the field of surveying moral judgment and moral disagreement, are discussed.

  • 2.
    Eriksson, Kimmo
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics. Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Coultas, J. C.
    Stockholm University, Sweden.
    De Barra, M.
    Stockholm University, Sweden.
    Cross-Cultural Differences in Emotional Selection on Transmission of Information2016In: Journal of Cognition and Culture, ISSN 1567-7095, E-ISSN 1568-5373, Vol. 16, no 1-2, p. 122-143Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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. 

  • 3.
    Eriksson, Kimmo
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Mälardalen University, Sweden.
    Coultas, Julie C.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. University of Sussex, UK .
    Corpses, maggots, poodles and rats: A content bias for disgust in three phases of cultural transmission2014In: Journal of Cognition and Culture, ISSN 1567-7095, E-ISSN 1568-5373, Vol. 14, no 1-2, p. 1-26Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    AbstractIn one conception of cultural evolution, the evolutionary success of cultural units that are transmitted from individual to individual is determined by forces of cultural selection. Here we argue that it is helpful to distinguish between several distinct phases of the transmission process in which cultural selection can operate, such as a choose-to-receive phase, an encode-and-retrieve phase, and a choose-to-transmit phase. Here we focus on emotional selection in cultural transmission of urban legends, which has previously been shown to operate in the choose-to-transmit phase. In a series of experiments we studied serial transmission of stories based on urban legends manipulated to be either high or low on disgusting content. Results supported emotional selection operating in all three phases of cultural transmission. Thus, the prevalence of disgusting urban legends in North America may be explained by emotional selection through a multitude of pathways.

  • 4.
    Eriksson, Kimmo
    et al.
    Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication, Educational Sciences and Mathematics.
    Coultas, Julie C.
    Stockholm University.
    Corpses, maggots, poodles and rats: Emotional selection operating in three phases of cultural transmission of urban legends2014In: Journal of Cognition and Culture, ISSN 1567-7095, E-ISSN 1568-5373, Vol. 14, no 1-2, p. 1-26Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In one conception of cultural evolution, the evolutionary success of cultural units that are transmitted from individual to individual is determined by forces of cultural selection. Here we argue that it is helpful to distinguish between several distinct phases of the transmission process in which cultural selection can operate, such as a choose-toreceive phase, an encode-and-retrieve phase, and a choose-to-transmit phase. Here we focus on emotional selection in cultural transmission of urban legends, which has previously been shown to operate in the choose-to-transmit phase. In a series of experiments we studied serial transmission of stories based on urban legends manipulated to be either high or low on disgusting content. Results supported emotional selection operating in all three phases of cultural transmission. Thus, the prevalence of disgusting urban legends in North America may be explained by emotional selection through a multitude of pathways. 

  • 5.
    Eriksson, Kimmo
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Mälardalen University, Sweden.
    Coultas, Julie C.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
    de Barra, Mícheál
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution.
    Cross-Cultural Differences in Emotional Selection on Transmission of Information2016In: Journal of Cognition and Culture, ISSN 1567-7095, E-ISSN 1568-5373, Vol. 16, no 1-2, p. 122-143Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    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.

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