Americans Are Weird “We Aren’t the World.” (March, 2013). Ethan Watters. Pacific Standard. http://www.psmag.com/magazines/pacific-standard-cover-story/ joe -henrich-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135. 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). • Cultures, including religious beliefs, shape human cognition, and, thus influences bonding and behavior. Muller-Lyer Illusion A B • 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. • 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. • Tight cultures = strong norms, low tolerance for deviant behavior, high impulse control, more selfmonitoring (India, Pakistan) • Americans tend to reason analytically, not holistically. • Americans tend to think individualistically, not interdependently.