Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Western Psychology is Shite - Official

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 – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population....The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation.

Henrich, Heine and Norenzayan (2010)

In other words, if you believe that research studies based on the reactions and interactions of US sophomores can tell us anything meaningful about human beings in general, then consider this a wake-up call.

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