Do people in the West think differently to other populations across the globe? Are they psychologically peculiar? If so, why: and what role has this point of difference played in the rise of the industrialised world, and the recent dominance and prosperity of the West?
In order to explore the WEIRD nature of the West and how it was created, the Ramsay Centre presents our fourth Ramsay Lecture for 2023, Dr Joseph Henrich on WEIRD Minds: How religion, marriage and the family made the West psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous.
According to Dr Henrich, an accumulating body of evidence reveals not only substantial global variation along several important psychological dimensions, including conformity, individualism, moral judgment, guilt, patience, trust and analytic thinking, but also that people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual, often anchoring the ends of global psychological distributions.
Drawing on the principal thesis of his 2020 best-seller, The WEIRDest People in the World, he shows how the most fundamental of human institutions—those governing marriage and family—influence motivations, perceptions, intuitions and emotions. He also explores how the Western Catholic Church systematically dismantled the intensive kin-based institutions in much of Latin Christendom, effectively altering people’s psychology and opening the door to new forms of voluntary organizations (charter towns, universities, guilds, monasteries), impersonal markets and eventually modern organizational competition.
Please join us for this thought-provoking lecture with Dr Joseph Henrich.