Navigation Links
Psychological research conducted in WEIRD nations may not apply to global populations
Date:6/30/2010

A new University of British Columbia study says that an overreliance on research subjects from the U.S. and other Western nations can produce false claims about human psychology and behavior because their psychological tendencies are highly unusual compared to the global population.

According to the study, the majority of psychological research is conducted on subjects from Western nations, primarily university students. Between 2003 and 2007, 96 per cent of psychological samples came from countries with only 12 per cent of the world's populations. The U.S. alone provided nearly 70 per cent of these subjects.

However, the study finds significant psychological and behavioral differences between what the researchers call Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies and their non-WEIRD counterparts across a spectrum of key areas, including visual perception, fairness, spatial and moral reasoning, memory and conformity.

The findings, published in Nature tomorrow and Behavioral Sciences this week, raise questions about the practice of drawing universal claims about human psychology and behavior based on research samples from WEIRD societies.

"The foundations of human psychology and behavior have been built almost exclusively on research conducted on subjects from WEIRD societies," says UBC Psychology and Economics Prof. Joe Henrich, who led the study with UBC co-authors Prof. Steven Heine and Prof. Ara Norenzayan. "While students from Western nations are a convenient, low-cost data pool, our findings suggest that they are also among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans."

The study, which reviews the comparative database of research from across the behavioural sciences, finds that subjects from WEIRD societies are more individualistic, analytic, concerned with fairness, existentially anxious and less conforming and attentive to context compared to those from non-WEIRD societies.

According to the study, significant psychological and behavioral differences also exist between population groups within WEIRD nations. For example, U.S. undergraduate students are typically more analytic and choosy and less conforming than U.S. adults without college educations.

"Researchers often implicitly assume that there is little variation across human populations or that these 'standard subjects' are as representative of the species as any other population," says Henrich. "Our study shows there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations. In fact, there is enough evidence that researchers cannot in good faith continue to make species-generalizing claims about Homo sapiens in the absence of comparative evidence."

The research team calls on universities, peer reviewers, funding agencies and journal editors to push researchers to explicitly support any generalizations to the species with evidence or potent inductive arguments. Additionally, they envision the creation of research partnerships with non-WEIRD institutions to further and expand and diversify the empirical base of the behavioral sciences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Basil Waugh
basil.waugh@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Five Organizations Receive APAs Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Ten Honored for Best Practices
2. New study reveals prevalence of cyberbullying and its psychological impact on nonheterosexual youth
3. Association for Psychological Science 22nd Annual Convention
4. Childhood psychological problems create long-term economic losses, study finds
5. Kids Psychological Problems Have Long-Term Effects
6. Psychological intervention provides enduring health benefits for women with breast cancer
7. New research identifies modifiable risk factors for heart disease
8. Nuvo Research announces early redemption of 5% convertible debentures
9. Researcher to track spread of disease, malware and power outages
10. UCSF Researchers Identify Regulator of Human Sperm Cells
11. Octapharma Accepting Applications for Research Grants Through March 31
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... health care communications company offering education, research and medical media, has launched ... specialists working in infectious diseases. , As the all-inclusive resource for infectious ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Walton Beach, Florida (PRWEB) , ... February 10, ... ... the innovative weather-forecasting company is unveiling its revolutionary new 2.0 version at the ... platform, MetLoop has “put the power of the world's most advanced weather technology ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... InDemand Interpreting , a ... partnered with Heart City Health Center to improve access to language ... City Health Center has provided the Elkhart community with access to high quality, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 10, 2016 , ... Compliancy Group LLC is pleased to ... throughout the country. The Guard was specifically designed to handle each element required ... regulatory updates, and compliance coaching. , In addition to meeting the compliance needs ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... Emergency rooms provide ... to find. Unfortunately, this can leave patients with dental emergencies at risk of losing ... now offering emergency dental care. , Common dental emergencies include:, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , February 10, 2016 Puerto Rico ... Puerto Rico Healthcare and Life Sciences Report 2016 ... page Puerto Rico Healthcare and Life Sciences Report 2016 ... into the fifth largest territory in the world for pharma ... device and diagnostics manufacturing, and more universities per square mile ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016 Mast Therapeutics, Inc. ... clinical-stage therapies for sickle cell disease and heart failure, ... of 29,090,910 units at a price to the public ... share of the Company,s common stock and one warrant ... at an exercise price of $0.42 per share. The ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  Silicon Biosystems Menarini ... products that help uncover the biological complexities of ... Inc., a developer of innovative technologies for genomics ... partnership aimed at enabling translational researchers to obtain ... couple hundred tumor and normal cells in an ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: