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Issues and Debates – WEIRD Populations

1. Understanding WEIRD Populations

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about what a WEIRD population is, focusing in particular on: i) the acronym being short for white/Western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic; (ii) limitations of studying only these populations including poor external validity; (iii) review data, which suggests that individuals who fall into the WEIRD category are unusual, when compared to the rest of the human population; (iv) a range of key behavioural differences between populations.


In this course, Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University) explores research with WEIRD and non-WEIRD populations. In the first lecture, we think about what a WEIRD population is. In the second lecture, we think about altruistic punishment as a forensic psychology example of research which differs in results across different populations. Next, we think about moral reasoning as a second example of a concept which WEIRD and non-WEIRD populations differ in their presentation of. In the fourth and final lecture, we think of some key reasons as to why these differences occur.


Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor of education and research and head of the School of Human and Social Sciences at Buckinghamshire New University. Professor O’Keeffe’s research interests include investigative psychology and parapsychology, and has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities. Some of Professor O’Keeffe’s recent publications include 'Things That Go Bump In The Literature: An Environmental Appraisal of 'Haunted Houses'' (2020) and 'Restorative Justice and Recidivism: Investigating the impact of victim-preference for level of engagement' (2014).

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APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, July 20). Issues and Debates – WEIRD Populations - Understanding WEIRD Populations [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Keeffe, C. "Issues and Debates – WEIRD Populations – Understanding WEIRD Populations." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Jul 2022,

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