Joseph Henrich coined the term WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic to describe individuals who were noted to be the predominant sample subjects in psychology research studies and whose behavior is often used to represent behavioral studies (Henrich et al., 2010). Three distinctive conclusions were drawn from a review of a compilation of psychological and behavioral science research: massively biased samples – with approximately 96% of the experimental participants being drawn from northern Europe, North America, or Australia, and 70% of this subpopulation being American undergraduates; psychological diversity; and psychological peculiarity. In Henrich’s book, he discusses the points in history when the West began to differentiate themselves, psychologically speaking, from other cultures and the various driving factors that contributed to this change. Henrich emphasizes the narrowness of sampling within the psychological and behavioral sciences due to the nature of WEIRD societies. As such, it is difficult to generalize the normative ways of development in cross-cultural settings when there is a lack of representation for non-WEIRD societies. For example, shame is one of the vehicles that heavily influences non-WEIRD societies while guilt appears to be a driving factor in WEIRD societies. An idea that is guided by shame, “losing face,” is prominent in multiple non-WEIRD populations and may act as the driving force for adolescents to adopt ‘adult-like’ behaviors. Specifically, “migrant youth” is a phenomenon whereby youth from underdeveloped and developing nations leave some vestige of home to better themselves (Cortina et al., 2014). There is evidence to suggest that unaccompanied Latino migrant youth (LMY) in particular, live as “adults” despite being adolescents (Carlos Chavez et al., 2021). Whether their migration to the U.S. is motivated for a better life and future (Carlos Chavez et al., 2022) or as a family strategy (Stark & Stark, 1991) for the financial survival of the household, it may be possible that unaccompanied LMY are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to ‘save their parents’ face’ from poverty, hunger, and poor health. This type of ‘adult-like’ behavior among LMY challenges the normative human development literature and brings to surface the cultural implications and psychological consequences of non-WEIRD individuals who live in WEIRD societies.
- Shame, Guilt, and Adolescents’ ‘Adult-Like’ Roles: Cultural Implications and Psychological Consequences Among Non-WEIRD Populations in the U.S.: A Review, Example, and Discussion Reflecting on Joseph Henrich’s WEIRD Concept to Human Psychology
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