PerspectivePsychology and Culture

Explaining the puzzle of human diversity

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 686-687
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz3649


One of the biggest puzzles facing the social sciences is understanding our immense cultural variation. Over the past several thousand years, humanity has evolved to the point where there now exist 195 countries, more than 7000 languages, and thousands of religions. Research has begun to describe psychological variation across the globe (14), yet only recently have we begun to understand ecological, historical, and sociopolitical factors that produce such differences. Often absent from this mix is how religion and psychological variation are interrelated (5, 6). On page 707 of this issue, Schulz et al. (7) break new ground in showing how the specific practices of a branch of one of the world's largest religions—Christianity—can in part explain widespread variation in human psychology around the world.

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