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"Westerners vs. The World: We Are The Weird Ones"

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posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 05:44 PM
Nothing about this study surprises me. In fact, what surprises me is that it took psychologists this long to figure it out. I don't know if 60 years of Marketing has warped our brains or if it's just a common denominator of the Western experience, particularly Americans, that makes us all feel special or that we are owed something in this world.

Either way, I really didn't need this analysis to understand that Western values and thought processes differed greatly from the rest of the world or that we viewed the world from an entirely different perspective but it is interesting nonetheless. I suspect it doesn't surprise you either.

When I ran the "Ultimatum Game" on several people close to me, they all agreed to 10 bucks with no ill will. I guess they love me.
I'd like to see the results of other members as well. In retrospect, it's obviously best tested on an acquaintance or stranger though.

I'm very curious if this new information trumps the findings of most of the experiments done up until now that were limited to Westerners as test subjects.

The Ultimatum Game works like this: You are given $100 and asked to share it with someone else. You can offer that person any amount and if he accepts the offer, you each get to keep your share. If he rejects your offer, you both walk away empty-handed.

How much would you offer? If it's close to half the loot, you're a typical North American. Studies show educated Americans will make an average offer of $48, whether in the interest of fairness or in the knowledge that too low an offer to their counterpart could be rejected as unfair. If you're on the other side of the table, you're likely to reject offers right up to $40.

It seems most of humanity would play the game differently. Joseph Henrich of the University of British Columbia took the Ultimatum Game into the Peruvian Amazon as part of his work on understanding human co-operation in the mid-1990s and found that the Machiguenga considered the idea of offering half your money downright weird — and rejecting an insultingly low offer even weirder...

...Most people from non-Western cultures introduced to the Ultimatum Game play differently than Westerners. And that is one clue that the Western mind differs in fundamental ways from the rest of humanity, according to Dr. Henrich. He and two other UBC researchers authored a paper shaking up the fields of psychology, cognitive science and behavioural economics by questioning whether we can know anything about humanity in general if we only study a "truly unusual group of people" — the privileged products of Western industrial societies, who just happen to make up the vast majority of behavioural science test subjects.

The article, titled "The weirdest people in the world?", appears in the current issue of the journal Brain and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Henrich and co-authors Steven Heine and Ara Norenzayan argue that life-long members of societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic — people who are WEIRD — see the world in ways that are alien from the rest of the human family.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:10 PM
And this is important because...?

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:18 PM
reply to post by kosmicjack

Just on the subject of the ultimatum game, I think that the rest of the world just does'nt understand mathematics.

I DO however also believe that westerners do have a selfish kind of quirkiness about them....

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:26 PM
reply to post by Soldier of God

Oh, it's not, necessarily. Unless you like to look at the world inside and out. Unless you might see this a slightly conspiratorial since most of what the world knows of human psychology is based on experiments performed on westerners.

Otherwise, feel free not to click.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:34 PM
The reason most of the rest of the world is siting naked on a dirt farm is because they would be willing to accept 1 dollar while their counterpart walks away with 99. I would gladly see myself AND my counterpart with nothing if I felt that they wouldnt work WITH me to split the 100 semi fairly. We both NEED each other equaly to get anything. And knowing that I have the power to take all 100 from my counterpart(the money is in THEIR hands to begin with, so I realy lose nothing)If a fair deal isnt struck is UNDERSTOOD by my counterpart.
I think that this "study" was done by a wierdo trying to discredit Americans, and he found the people with the least amount of financial knowledge to "compare" us to.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:49 PM
reply to post by Tyler 720

Tell us what you really think.

And I tend to mostly agree with your assessment...with one exception. We don't seem to apply this same logic to corporations.

We seem perfectly happy to take whatever token they give us in order to maintain our employment and/or keep them here in the states and we demonize unions when when they demand better benefits and wages for workers, without whom corporations could not exist.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:56 PM
dont know if this makes me a shifty sod but when I thought about it I would have told the other guy i had 20 dollars and offer him 10.

If he knew I had 100 I would offer him 30.

So what does this say about me?

Not too sure if im sold on this game, though one I did like was the cube I thought that it told you quite a bit about the other person

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by mackblack27

It probably means that, not only would you not get kicked off the island, you would probably win the game.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 07:08 PM
reply to post by kosmicjack

True, corporations and big gov tend to give 1$ and keep 99$ and send a bill for 25% of your 1$

I'm not too educated or computer smart but I tend to think that a 1 on 1 encounter is much more simply understood. When hundreds or thousands of people converge, even with a common goal, the colective IQ drops dramaticaly (mob mentality, crab in pot syndrome) When 1 corporate elite asks 10,000 people to accept 1$.... collectively they are too "stupid" to deny.

posted on Sep, 4 2010 @ 08:03 PM
reply to post by kosmicjack

I was worried it made me a bad person but when i think about it it makes me human.

but thank you very much for kind words

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