Saturday, April 03, 2021

The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

City Journal: Robert Henderson reviews the new book by Joseph Henrich. An excerpt:

Relative to other populations, WEIRD people are more likely to be fair-weather friends, assigning a higher value to impartiality, believing in universally applicable rules, and showing less favoritism toward friends, family members, and members of their ethnic group. This is illustrated in the Passenger’s Dilemma. Suppose you are in a car being driven by your close friend, who hits a pedestrian while speeding. His lawyer tells you that if you testify under oath that he was not speeding, it may save him from serious legal consequences. Does your friend have a right to expect you to lie for him, or do you think he has no right to expect this? People from Canada, Switzerland, and the U.S. generally tell researchers that your friend has no right to expect you to lie. But most non-WEIRD citizens, from places like South Korea, Nepal, and Venezuela, say they would willingly lie to help their friend.

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