The Difference Between Americans and Humans?
The academic psychologist Joseph Henrich brought the Ultimatum game to the Amazon jungle and found that the Maschiguenga people of southeastern Peru make decisions like economists: “[T]hey felt rejecting was absurd, which is really what economists think about rejection. It’s completely irrational to turn down free money.” This led him to hypothesize that maybe they’re not the outliers — but that we Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic (weird) folks are. His new paper in Behavioral and Brain Sciences asks a trenchant question: since 96% of the test subjects in behavioral science are from the West, with the U.S. owning 70% of all journal citations, can such experimental results really speak for the entire human race? [%comments]