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Homework answers / question archive /  In the review of Henrich’s and Heine’s WEIRD article, the authors make numerous points against the use of WEIRDos in psychological research

 In the review of Henrich’s and Heine’s WEIRD article, the authors make numerous points against the use of WEIRDos in psychological research

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 In the review of Henrich’s and Heine’s WEIRD article, the authors make numerous points against the use of WEIRDos in psychological research. They explain how several psychological studies use WEIRDos as their study subjects and how that results in a lack of sampling and external validity. WEIRDos refers to “people from Western, educated, idustrialized, rich, and democratic cultures(SCIENCE).” These types of candidates make up a large sum of the candidates used by psychologists in their studies. As the article points out, Jeffrey Arnett of Clark University analyzed all empirical papers published in “six top tier psychology journals between 2003 and 2007,” and found out that 68% of the study subjects were provided by the US. Along with that, 27% of study subjects were provided by the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Obviously the authors are pointing out a major flaw in all these psychological researches, which is the lack of sampling. Subjects from specific areas of the world are used as a representation of the whole world, and that’s all because of the inability and lack of effort to obtain study subjects at random from across the globe. In psychological research, a lack of sampling can lead to skewed and inaccurate data and results which in return leads to the inability to translate the results of an experiment into other conditions. This is referred to as low external validity.  Take the Muller-lyer Illusion experiment for example. The results of the experiment stated that “people in industrialized societies often think line A is shorter than line B, but that illusion is weaker or absent in some small-scake societies, whose members perceive the lines as equally long (SCIENCE).” The illusion tricks adults and children in industrialized societies, but has little to no effect on the same subjects in small-scale societies. If a psychological experiment was conducted using the Muller-lyer Illusion, the results of the experiment would be an inaccurate assessment of the human population if the sample subjects were all WEIRDos. This would result in low external validity of the experiment as well, since the outcome of the study would not be applied to other settings. As Henrich states in the article, “we will never figure out human nature by studying American undergrads.” Suggestions are given in the article by Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan to prevent such issues in psychological studies. One suggestion is to “build links to diverse subject pools (SCIENCE).” This would provide a decent representaive groups in studies, which can result in better conclusions that can be generalized to other situations. 

1b.The article “A WEIRD View of Human Nature Skews Psychologists’ Studies” talks about a research study that assesses human behavior, but does not use a diverse group of individuals. This study in particular was focusing on figuring out what drives human behavior and used a group of individuals that some believe to be the “most unusual on the planet”.  By only using those who are similar to one another and not using a diverse sample presents a biased picture of human psychology.  (Jones, 2010)

            The point the authors were trying to make is that this study is not a true representation of human behavior. The sample used are those from similar backgrounds, Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic cultures (WEIRD). It should be recognized, that the data collected, analyzed and reported is not representative of the world and only looks at a targeted group with similar backgrounds. Using individuals who are similar to one another greatly influenced the results of this study and therefore should be acknowledged as limitations of this study.

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