Psychological research and WEIRD nations

A new University of British Columbia psychological study used a new acronym to help explain why results from behavioral studies on people in Western nations don't usually represent the rest of the world. It's because we're WEIRD ("Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.") The research is in the scientific journals Nature and Behavioral and Brain Sciences. From the UBC:

"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.

Psychological research conducted in WEIRD nations may not apply to global populations