CLASH: Climate (change) and cultural evolution of intergroup conflict

Group Process Intergroup Relat. 2018 Apr;21(3):457-471. doi: 10.1177/1368430217735579. Epub 2017 Nov 3.


Aggression and violence levels generally increase as one moves closer to the equator, but why? We developed a new theoretical model, CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH; van Lange, Rinderu, & Bushman, 2017b, 2017c), to understand differences within and between countries in aggression and violence in terms of differences in climate. Colder temperatures, and especially larger degrees of seasonal variation in climate, call for individuals and groups to adopt a slower life history strategy, revealed in a greater focus on the future (vs. present) and a stronger focus on self-control-variables that are known to inhibit aggression and violence. Other variables (e.g., wealth, income inequality, parasite stress) are also linked to both climate differences and to aggression and violence differences. When people think of the consequences of climate change, they rarely think of the impact on aggression and violence levels, but they should. CLASH has broad implications for the effects of climate change on intergroup conflict.

Keywords: aggression; climate; seasonal variation; self-control; temperature; time orientation; violence.