In DepthPsychology

Psychologist aims to study diverse minds, not WEIRDos

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Science  12 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6449, pp. 110
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6449.110

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Nine years ago, a research team argued that psychology studies relied to an alarming rate on people from WEIRD societies: Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. But such societies are outliers in some traits, with members—WEIRDos, as they were dubbed—tending to view themselves positively and to be susceptible to certain optical illusions. WEIRDos "may represent the worst population on which to base our understanding of Homo sapiens," the authors wrote in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. In 2017, psychologist Daniel Haun reported that little had changed: In 2015, about 92% of all papers in his specialty of developmental psychology featured participants from English-speaking countries and non–English-speaking Europe—a percentage matching that of 2008. As the new director of the comparative cultural psychology department at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Psychology in Leipzig, Germany, Haun hopes to help change that.