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"In 2010, the cultural psychologists Joe Henrich, Steve Heine, and Ara Norenzayan published a profoundly important article titled “The Weirdest People in the World?” The authors pointed out that nearly all research in psychology is conducted on a very small subset of the human population: people from cultures that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (forming the acronym WEIRD). They then reviewed dozens of studies showing that WEIRD people are statistical outliers; they are the least typical, least representative people you could study if you want to make generalizations about human nature. Even within the West, Americans are more extreme outliers than Europeans, and within the United States, the educated upper middle class (like my Penn sample) is the most unusual of all." --The Righteous Mind (2012) by Jonathan Haidt

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The acronym W.E.I.R.D. describes populations that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Thus far, W.E.I.R.D. populations have been vastly overrepresented in psychological research. Findings from psychology research utilizing primarily W.E.I.R.D. populations are often labeled as universal theories and are inaccurately applied to other cultures.

Abstract from "The Weirdest People in the World" (2010) by Joseph Henrich:

"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."

In psychology

In 2008 Arnett (Arnett, J. J. (2008). "The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American". American Psychologist. 63: 602–614. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.63.7.602.) pointed out that most articles in American Psychological Association journals were about US populations when U.S. citizens are only 5% of the world’s population. He complained that psychologists had no basis for assuming psychological processes to be universal and generalizing research findings to the rest of the global population. In 2010, Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan reported a systemic bias in conducting psychology studies with participants from WEIRD ("western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic") societies. Although only 1/8 people worldwide live in regions that fall into the WEIRD classification, the researchers claimed that 60–90% of psychology studies are performed on participants from these areas. The article gave examples of results that differ significantly between people from WEIRD and tribal cultures, including the Müller-Lyer illusion. Arnett (2008), Altmaier and Hall (2008), and Morgan-Consoli et al. (2018) saw the Western bias in research and theory as a serious problem considering psychologists are increasingly applying psychological principles developed in W.E.I.R.D. regions in their research, clinical work, and consultation with populations around the world.

Kurtis, Adams, Grabe, and Else-Quest describe a transnational feminist psychology (also called transnational psychology) that applies transnational feminist lenses to the field of psychology to study, understand, and address the impact of colonization, imperialism, and globalization. In order to counter the Western bias in the field of psychology, Kurtis and Adams suggested that people in the non-Western, "Majority World" (areas where the majority of the world's population lives), be viewed as resources for revising traditional psychological science. They proposed applying the principles of transnational feminism, developed through interdisciplinary work in postcolonial and feminist studies, and using a context-sensitive cultural psychology lens to reconsider, de-naturalize, and de-universalize psychological science. In 2015 a Summit was organized by Machizawa, Collins, and Rice to further develop "transnational psychology." Grabe and Else-Quest proposed the concept of “transnational intersectionality” that expands current conceptions of intersectionality, adding global forces to the analysis of how oppressive institutions are interconnected. In addition, Bhatia believes that a transnational cultural psychology is needed examine the psychology of diasporas, who are impacted by globalization and consequently have many “homes,” languages, and selves.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "W.E.I.R.D." or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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