Evolutionary Psychology is moving to SAGE. The new address is evp.sagepub.com. Submissions here.

Note from the Editors

After more than a decade of independent operation during which Evolutionary Psychology has grown to become a premier publication outlet for evolutionary psychological research, we are thrilled to have found a permanent home with SAGE. The success of the Journal over the past decade made it impossible for the editors and their current and former graduate students to continue to personally fund and manage the Journal. With the commitment, attention, and resources provided by SAGE, Evolutionary Psychology has a very bright future. A small Author Publication Charge of US$195 (assessed only on submissions accepted for publication following rigorous peer review) ensures that all previous and future articles published in the Journal will remain open access and freely accessible. We are deeply grateful to the Associate Editors, Editorial Board Members, editorial production staff, and the reviewers and readers who have supported the Journal since its inception in 2003, and look forward to working with you and with SAGE to continue to grow Evolutionary Psychology.

Original article:

Guns, germs, and stealing: Exploring the link between infectious disease and crime

Evolutionary Psychology 11(1): 270-287 Ilan Shrira, Department of Psychology, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, USA., ishrira@luc.eduArnaud Wisman, School of Psychology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, United Kingdom.Gregory Webster, Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Can variation in crime rates be traced to the threat of infectious disease? Pathogens pose an ongoing challenge to survival, leading humans to adapt defenses to manage this threat. In addition to the biological immune system, humans have psychological and behavioral responses designed to protect against disease. Under persistent disease threat, xenophobia increases and people constrict social interactions to known in-group members. Though these responses reduce disease transmission, they can generate favorable crime conditions in two ways. First, xenophobia reduces inhibitions against harming and exploiting out-group members. Second, segregation into in-group factions erodes people’s concern for the welfare of their community and weakens the collective ability to prevent crime. The present study examined the effects of infection incidence on crime rates across the United States. Infection rates predicted violent and property crime more strongly than other crime covariates. Infections also predicted homicides against strangers but not family or acquaintances, supporting the hypothesis that in-group–out-group discrimination was responsible for the infections–crime link. Overall, the results add to evidence that disease threat shapes interpersonal behavior and structural characteristics of groups.


aggression, crime, homicide, infectious disease, pathogens

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Evolutionary Psychology - An open access peer-reviewed journal - ISSN 1474-7049 © Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young; individual articles © the author(s)

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