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Americans Are Weird “We Aren’t the World.” (March, 2013). Ethan Watters. Pacific Standard.

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Presentation on theme: "Americans Are Weird “We Aren’t the World.” (March, 2013). Ethan Watters. Pacific Standard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Americans Are Weird “We Aren’t the World.” (March, 2013). Ethan Watters. Pacific Standard. joe -henrich-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics

2 Fairness Do all cultures think the same way about fairness? – The ultimatum game – In Peru researchers produced different splits than in America (50/50) vs. (95/5) Joe Henrich’s research shows that we see the world in culturally constructed ways: – I.E. that we should welcome and celebrate people of all backgrounds (yes), but the implied corollary – that people from different backgrounds and cultures are all alike under the skin (no).

3 Cultures, including religious beliefs, shape human cognition, and, thus influences bonding and behavior.

4 Muller-Lyer Illusion AB

5 Americans see A as bigger. – Grow up in box-shaped rooms, surrounded by carpentered corners. San foragers of the Kalahari see A and B as the same. – Grow up in natural environments, see things in context. There are wide cultural differences in how we infer motivations, categorizing things, moral reasoning, and the boundaries between the self and others.

6 Our cultures and our economics are not shaped by our sense of fairness, but the other way around. – Our sense of fairness shapes our culture and our economics. Americans are weird. We are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic – unlike the vast majority of people in the world. Thus, social scientists could not have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. – Most self-aggrandizing and egotistical people on the planet.

7 Tight cultures = strong norms, low tolerance for deviant behavior, high impulse control, more self- monitoring (India, Pakistan) Americans tend to reason analytically, not holistically. Americans tend to think individualistically, not interdependently.


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