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      The weirdest people in the world?

      , ,
      Behavioral and Brain Sciences
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          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 priorigrounds 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 humannature 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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          Fairness versus reason in the ultimatum game.

          In the Ultimatum Game, two players are offered a chance to win a certain sum of money. All they must do is divide it. The proposer suggests how to split the sum. The responder can accept or reject the deal. If the deal is rejected, neither player gets anything. The rational solution, suggested by game theory, is for the proposer to offer the smallest possible share and for the responder to accept it. If humans play the game, however, the most frequent outcome is a fair share. In this paper, we develop an evolutionary approach to the Ultimatum Game. We show that fairness will evolve if the proposer can obtain some information on what deals the responder has accepted in the past. Hence, the evolution of fairness, similarly to the evolution of cooperation, is linked to reputation.
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            Developpement du langage et de la cognition spatiale geocentrique

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              Author and article information

              Journal
              Behavioral and Brain Sciences
              Behav Brain Sci
              Cambridge University Press (CUP)
              0140-525X
              1469-1825
              June 2010
              June 15 2010
              June 2010
              : 33
              : 2-3
              : 61-83
              Article
              10.1017/S0140525X0999152X
              20550733
              1847a433-cd27-4ca2-bed4-ac099dcc4be7
              © 2010

              https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms

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