In my own work, the development of the concept of “cultural consonance” has helped to clarify this area of research.  Cultural consonance is the degree to which individuals, in their own beliefs and behaviors, approximate the prototypes for belief and behavior encoded in cultural models.  Higher cultural consonance is associated with better health status (assessed psychologically, physiologically, immunologically, and morphologically).  The concept of cultural consonance and the associated measurement model have also shed new light on some basic theoretical questions in anthropology regarding culture.  Much of my work on this topic has been carried out in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, in collaboration with Brazilian colleagues.

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