Beyond WEIRD Psychology: Measuring and Mapping Scales of Cultural and Psychological Distance
52 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2018 Last revised: 19 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 15, 2020
We present a tool and method for measuring the psychological and cultural distance between societies and creating a distance scale with any population as the point of comparison. Since psychological data is dominated by samples drawn from WEIRD nations, and overwhelmingly, the United States, we focus on distance from the US. We also present distance from China, the largest population, second largest economy, and common cultural comparison. We apply the fixation index (F_ST), a meaningful statistic in evolutionary theory, to the World Values Survey of cultural beliefs and behaviors. As the extreme WEIRDness of the literature begins to dissolve, the tool will become more useful for designing, planning, and justifying a wide range of comparative psychological projects. Our code and accompanying online application allow for comparisons between any two countries. Analyses of regional diversity reveal the relative homogeneity of the United States. Cultural distance predicts various psychological outcomes.
Keywords: WEIRD people, cultural psychology, cultural distance, cross-cultural differences, replication crisis
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