Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, April by Paul Bloom & Barbara L. Finlay (Editors)

By Paul Bloom & Barbara L. Finlay (Editors)

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Extra resources for Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 33, Issue 2-3, April June 2010

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Would it matter if we discovered that these age-specific developmental milestones are in fact only characteristic of infants in middle-class families? If we found that infants living in poverty are actually one or several months slower than higher-SES infants to show evidence of “core knowledge of spatial relations” or “speech segmentation ability”? It should matter, because to ignore such differences is to ignore the potential role of environmental support in the ontogeny of these critical capacities.

2008; 2010; Goodall 1986; Mitani & Watts 2005). Second, comparative psychology has favored experimental studies using anthropocentric designs and assumptions. These might allow testing human abilities in other species, but are unlikely to uncover cognitive abilities of nonhuman animals. For example, to understand the altruistic abilities of chimpanzees, experiments have been designed on the ethnocentric assumption that sharing should be preferred over nonsharing when there is no cost to oneself (Silk et al.

Medin Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208. ’s critical review demonstrating that psychology research is over-reliant on WEIRD samples is an important contribution to the field. Their stronger claim that “WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual” is less convincing, however. We argue that WEIRD people’s apparent distinct weirdness is a methodological side-effect of psychology’s over-reliance on WEIRD populations for developing its methods and theoretical constructs.

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