5 votes

There's nothing "WEIRD" about conspiracy theories

2 comments

  1. [2]
    Micycle_the_Bichael
    Link
    Can someone explain the concept of WEIRD to me? I don't think I fully understand what it means or its use. It feels really strange to me that "Western" is listed as part of being unbiased. That...

    Can someone explain the concept of WEIRD to me? I don't think I fully understand what it means or its use.

    A relatively small share of the world’s population does not engage in “motivated reasoning”, rather they form beliefs based on evidence, apart from what they wish to believe. Of course these are just tendencies, I suspect that everyone engages in motivated reasoning to at least some extent (including myself), but some do it more than others. [...] Psychologist describe a certain type of relatively unbiased person as “WEIRD”, which doesn’t mean strange, it means people from areas that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.”

    It feels really strange to me that "Western" is listed as part of being unbiased. That rubs me wrong but I don't know much about psychology or WEIRD and the reading I've been trying to do about it hasn't helped clarify anything for me.

    2 votes
    1. skybrian
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It’s kind of a fuzzy concept. It arose because some people realized that doing psychology experiments on undergrads is not ideal and they wanted to call attention to the fact that most people in...

      It’s kind of a fuzzy concept. It arose because some people realized that doing psychology experiments on undergrads is not ideal and they wanted to call attention to the fact that most people in the world are not like them (us). If you want to know what all people have in common, maybe you should be including poor Indian or African villagers as well in your experiments? But that is harder.

      They needed to come up with an acronym that’s politically correct, so they could concentrate on the scientific issues and not get blamed for dumping on people who are not like us. Each letter is a dimension for which you might want to include people who are the opposite in your scientific study. So it shouldn’t have all westerners, for example. You should include some uneducated people. And so on.

      As for what they found, I’m mostly going to pass on that, but part of it is that thinking in abstract or universal terms is something you learn and not everyone thinks that way.

      The usage of WEIRD here is not scientific though. It’s just a blog post based on personal observations.

      4 votes