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A WEIRD View of Human Nature Skews Psychologists' Studies

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Science  25 Jun 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5986, pp. 1627
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5986.1627

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Although undergraduates from wealthy nations are numerous and willing research subjects, psychologists are beginning to realize that they have a drawback: They are WEIRDos. That is, they are people from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic cultures. In a provocative review paper published last week, a pair of researchers argues that WEIRDos aren't representative of humans as a whole and that psychologists routinely use them to make broad, and quite likely false, claims about what drives human behavior.

    Dan Jones is a freelance writer in Brighton, U.K.