Acronym for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.
published on: Schott's Vocab
Research from the University of British Columbia suggested that some psychological studies could be skewed because of their narrow samples:
According to the study, the majority of psychological research is conducted on subjects from Western nations, primarily university students. Between 2003 and 2007, 96 per cent of psychological samples came from countries with only 12 per cent of the world’s populations. The U.S. alone provided nearly 70 per cent of these subjects.
However, the study finds significant psychological and behavioral differences between what the researchers call Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies and their non-WEIRD counterparts across a spectrum of key areas, including visual perception, fairness, spatial and moral reasoning, memory and conformity.
The findings, published in Nature tomorrow and Behavioral Sciences this week, raise questions about the practice of drawing universal claims about human psychology and behavior based on research samples from WEIRD societies.