Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, April by Paul Bloom & Barbara L. Finlay (Editors)

By Paul Bloom & Barbara L. Finlay (Editors)

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S critical review demonstrating that psychology research is over-reliant on WEIRD samples is an important contribution to the field. Their stronger claim that “WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual” is less convincing, however. We argue that WEIRD people’s apparent distinct weirdness is a methodological side-effect of psychology’s over-reliance on WEIRD populations for developing its methods and theoretical constructs. In their important article, Henrich et al. offer both weak and strong versions of an argument against the widespread use of research with WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic) people as a means to learn about general human psychology.

Dis)advantages of student subjects: What is your research question? 1017/S0140525X10000099 Simon Ga¨chter School of Economics, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, United Kingdom. gaechter Abstract: I argue that the right choice of subject pool is intimately linked to the research question. At least within economics, students are often the perfect subject pool for answering some fundamental research questions. : The weirdest people in the world? Student subject pools can provide an invaluable benchmark for investigating generalizability across different social groups or cultures.

Herrmann et al. 2008). However, my main point is this: The “right choice” of subject pool depends on the research question. If the researcher is interested in understanding behavioral variation between particular groups of people, then the right choice is running experiments with these people. The landmark study by Henrich et al. (2005) is a shining example. Yet, at least in economics, substantial effort is also devoted to test formal theories or to detect interesting behavioral regularities (Bardsley et al.

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