WEIRD Like Us?

Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. You know, like the college students that form the backbone of so many psychology studies done in universities.

The fact that WEIRD people are the outliers in so many key domains of the behavioral sciences may render them one of the worst subpopulations one could study for generalizing about Homo sapiens…. WEIRD people, from this perspective, grow up in, and adapt to, a rather atypical environment vis-à-vis that of most of human history. It should not be surprising that their psychological world is unusual as well. (2010: 79-80) […]

So, to sum up this post-Henrich, next stage concern: I worry that W.E.I.R.D. classification flatters the WEIRD, focusing on traits that Westerners typically highlight to describe themselves in ways that are, however inadvertently, pretty self-congratulatory. If we were to call the same group, Materialist, Young, self-Obsessed, Pleasure-seeking, Isolated, Consumerist, and Sedentary (MYOPICS)… you get the idea. (By the way, I’m not committed to this, only to getting my own acronym – You know the steps in the cheap acronym process: Set acronym. Find words to fit each letter.)

We agree it’s WEIRD, but is it WEIRD enough? by Greg Downey—where there is much much more, plus charming illustrations.

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