The weirdest people in the world?

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83 (2010)

Abstract
Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges
Keywords behavioral economics   cross-cultural research   cultural psychology   culture   evolutionary psychology   experiments   external validity   generalizability   human universals   population variability
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0140525x0999152x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,283
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Empirical Case for Two Systems of Reasoning.Steven A. Sloman - 1996 - Psychological Bulletin 119 (1):3-22.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.
Varieties of Envy.Sara Protasi - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):535-549.

View all 341 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Weirdest People in the World Are a Harbinger of the Future of the World.Paul Rozin - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):108 - 109.
The Weirdest Brains in the World.Joan Y. Chiao & Bobby K. Cheon - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):88-90.
Solipsism and the Solitary Language User.Irwin Goldstein - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (1):35-47.
Crisis of the Consumer Society.Dmytro Bushuyev - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 18:5-11.
Parfit's Puzzle.Philip Kitcher - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):550–577.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-10-27

Total views
97 ( #84,484 of 2,270,985 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #40,999 of 2,270,985 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature