Parasite Stress and Restrictions to Freedom of Speech and Press

Communicology faculty member, Dr. Jinguang “Andrew” Zhang, with collaborators from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of Southern California, recently published an article in PloS ONE, a prestigious open-access journal that publishes empirical research from all scientific disciplines. Drawing on data from national surveys and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Zhang and his colleagues compared the relative impact of three ecological factors—parasite stress (prevalence and severity), life history features, and climate demands—on American citizens’ attitudes toward the freedom of speech and press. They found that individuals from states that had higher parasite stress and teenage birth rates (indicating a faster life history) were more likely to endorse restricting press and speech freedom—especially during wartime—than individuals from states that had lower parasite stress and teenage birth rates.

A link to the full article can found here.