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Knowing your neighbourhood: local ecology and personal experience predict neighbourhood perceptions in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Gilbert, J; Uggla, C; Mace, R; (2016) Knowing your neighbourhood: local ecology and personal experience predict neighbourhood perceptions in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Royal Society Open Science , 3 (12) , Article 160468. 10.1098/rsos.160468. Green open access

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Abstract

Evolutionary theory predicts that humans should adjust their life-history strategies in response to local ecological threats and opportunities in order to maximize their reproductive success. Cues representing threats to individuals' lives and health in modern, Western societies may come in the form of local ages at death, morbidity rate and crime rate in their local area, whereas the adult sex ratio represents a measure of the competition for reproductive partners. These characteristics are believed to have a strong influence over a wide range of behaviours, but whether they are accurately perceived has not been robustly tested. Here, we investigate whether perceptions of four neighbourhood characteristics are accurate across eight neighbourhoods in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We find that median age at death and morbidity rates are accurately perceived, whereas adult sex ratios and crime rates are not. We suggest that both neighbourhood characteristics and personal experiences contribute to the formation of perceptions. This should be considered by researchers looking for associations between area-level factors.

Type: Article
Title: Knowing your neighbourhood: local ecology and personal experience predict neighbourhood perceptions in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160468
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160468
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: life-history theory, ecological perceptions, mortality risk, morbidity risk
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1533731
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