17: Learning about Bushmen by Studying Freshmen?
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Thousands of studies in psychology rely on data from North American undergraduates. Can we really conclude anything about the “human” mind from such a limited sample— especially since Westerners are probably more different from the rest of the world’s population than any other group? We talk about Joseph Henrich and colleagues’ critique of the behavioral sciences in their paper “The WEIRDEST People in the World.” David offers a defense of psychology, arguing that it’s usually not the goal of lab studies to generalize findings to all humans in the first place. Also, Tamler gives a brief, heartfelt, completely non-awkward rant about monkey torturer Harry Harlow and David defends the practice of electrocuting baby monkeys for no reason. LinksThe Gods Must Be Crazy [IMDB.com]Bushmen [wikipedia.org]Homo Economicus [wikipedia.org]The Ultimatum Game [wikipedia.org]Müller-Lyer illusion [wikipedia.org]We aren’t the world [psmag.com]Harlow studies [wikipedia.org]Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010).The…