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Strange or just plain weird? Cultural variation in mental illness
By Dominic Murphy, University of Sydney
MATTERS OF THE MIND – a series which examines the clinician’s bible for diagnosing mental disorders, the DSM, and the controversy surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition.
There’s an old saying that psychology has two model organisms: the rat and the American college student. As research subjects rats are fine, the problem is that that Americans are, as evolutionary psychologist Joe Henrich and his colleagues recently pointed out, WEIRD. That is, they’re Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic. In fact, most westerners are WEIRD, but Americans are the WEIRDest of all.
People in western countries have values and…
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