We Aren’t the World
By Ethan Watters for Pacific Standard
This month’s article comes from a relatively new—but highly respected magazine—Pacific Standard. Writer Ethan Watters explores the idea that much of what social scientists believe is hard-wired (or innate) may actually be influenced by culture. To anybody who has ever taken a psychology class this fact may not be all that surprising. A vast majority of psychological studies are based on the performance of a tiny sliver of humanity: the college student.
The article follows the seminal work of onetime anthropology student, Joe Henrich, who set out to show that people across the world think very differently from the Western mind, or at least the Western college student.
I like how this article doesn’t just describe the potential impact of Henrich’s study, but also has Watters sit down with Henrich and colleagues to discuss the implications of his work. The writer’s reaction and ruminations after this little chat make for interesting reading. The article itself is relatively challenging, and the fact that it clocks in at 5,000 words should give your reading synapses quite a workout.
As with any Article of the Month, I’ve included a list of GRE words that you should pay attention to.