A growing group of psychologists recognizes that many collective mindsets and practices are functionally linked to natural habitats, which predominantly differ from north to south. Notably, cultural collectivism, power distance and aggression increase from the South Pole toward the Equator but decrease from the Equator toward the North Pole; conversely, cultural creativity, gender equality and life satisfaction decrease from the South Pole toward the Equator but increase from the Equator toward the North Pole. None of these cultural orientations varies considerably in east-west direction. Both theoretically and empirically, the most plausible explanation is that societies at higher latitudes adopt greater internal flexibility in response to greater habitat variability, consisting of daylength variability, climatic variability (cold, heat, dryness, wetness) and biotic variability in plants and animals. This variability explanation has deep historical roots as evidenced by the predictability of current geographical differences in culture on the basis of north-south differences in vertical collectivism and gender equality across mutually isolated pre-industrial societies.
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