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WEIRD People

Posted by Beetle B. on Wed 26 October 2016

Most research in psychology is conducted on WEIRD people. WEIRD stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. But studies have shown that WEIRD people are outliers. Even in the West, Americans are outliers compared to Europeans. And even in the US, educated upper middle class people are outliers.

The WEIRDer you are, the more you see the world as separate objects rather than relationships.

The West vs East can be viewed as Individual vs Group (in terms of identity). This difference manifests itself even in visual abilities. Participants are shown a square with a horizontal line in it. Then they are shown a square without the line (need not be of the same size), and are asked to draw the line they saw.

Some people were given the task of drawing the line of the same length. Americans and Westerners excelled at it. They saw the line and the square as independent entities.

Others were asked to draw lines of the same relative size as before: East Asians excelled at this. They did not see the shapes as independent, but as a whole.

tags : trm, morality, Haidt