henrich   12

The weirdest people in the world?
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 – 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. 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 – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. 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. 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.
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november 2017 by nhaliday
If You May Do It for Free, You May Do It for Money | Cato Unbound
Many people, such as Michael Sandel, claim that markets “crowd out” moral behavior, and make us worse people. But they rely upon shaky or ambiguous evidence, and ignore strong evidence to the contrary.

Herbert Gintis, Joseph Henrich, Daniel Houser, and many others have done extensive research on what cultural factors induce people to be fair, trusting, trustworthy, generous, and honest. In general, they find that people from market-based societies are more fair, trusting, trustworthy, generous, or honest than people from socialist or traditional societies. As Gintis summarizes the research, “The notion that the market economy makes people greedy, selfish, and amoral is simply fallacious.”
randy-ayndy  nl-and-so-can-you  rhetoric  essay  culture  society  polisci  wonkish  org:ngo  ideology  morality  civil-liberty  markets  capitalism  henrich 
october 2016 by nhaliday

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