aren’t united by obvious qualities


Senior Member
Does "aren’t united by obvious qualities" imply "aren’t united by obvious qualities, but united by some obscure qualities"? Simply a wild guess.

Why do these differences arise?

That’s a great question. Tight and loose countries aren’t united by obvious qualities. They’re not similar in terms of their location: the tight countries of Japan, Germany, Norway, Singapore, and Pakistan are all scattered around the planet, as are the loose countries of Netherlands, Brazil, Greece, and New Zealand.

-Scientific American

  • The author mentions some of the less obvious, underlying characteristics.

    But there’s actually an important, yet largely hidden reason for why these differences evolve: countries that have experienced a lot of threat tend to be tighter. The threat can come from many sources: a high level of natural disasters and famine, the potential of invasions, [...]

    Threat isn’t the only predictor of a culture’s tightness. Groups that have more mobility and more exposure to other cultures tend to be looser.
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