Here’s how Nisbett and Cohen explain the cultural differences. Cultures of honor, such as the American South, are characterized by a common point of origin. They develop in situations where individuals have to take the law into their own hands because there is no formal law in place to guard against competitors who can steal valuable resources. A psychology of violence emerges. You can steal domestic herding animals (cattle, goats, horses, sheep), but you can’t steal farming crops-you, of course, could steal some potatoes or carrots, but not enough to make a serious dent in the owner’s resources. Cultures of honor therefore tend to develop among herding peoples, not farmers with crops. Many of these cultures have emerged over history and across the continents, including such herding peoples as the Zuni Indians of North America, the Andalusians of southern Spain, Kabyle of Algeria, Sarakatsani of Greece, and Bedouins of the Middle East.
Moral Minds, Marc D. Hauser