Marriage Made the West WEIRD by Brendan W. Case [Genealogies of Modernity]

March 23, 2021

New op-ed by Brendan W. Case (Associate Director for Research) dialogues with Joseph Henrich's book The Weirdest People in The World in his "Marriage Made the West WEIRD" published on Genealogies of Modernity. Access to the whole article unders this link:


Some of the differences between “modern” and “developing” nations are visible at a glance, in the former’s scientific and technological culture, centralized and (professedly) democratic nation-states, and fluid social organization of nuclear families and voluntary associations. Modernity, however, extends not just to our machines, but also to our minds. In an influential 2010 paper (“The weirdest people in the world?”), the anthropologist Joseph Henrich and his co-authors pointed out that those of us who are “Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic” are psychologically “WEIRD” as well, outliers among not only among past civilizations, but also among other populations around the world today. We are “individualists” rather than “collectivists,” and are unusually disposed to “impersonal” rather than “inter-personal pro-sociality,” and to inward-oriented guilt rather than other-oriented shame, among other traits.