Mental Sorbet : 154/420

Machiguenga by Asier Solana Bermejo on Flickr

You may know this famous psychology experiment. As a research subject, you get a $100 windfall, but you must share it with a stranger. You have the power to decide how much… with a caveat. If he accepts, you both walk away more flush. If your offer is refused, no one gets anything. What to do? We used to think the response was universal across humans: you offer something close to a 50/50 split, afraid of incurring a stranger’s wrath. Turns out, that’s a WEIRD response. WEIRDos—members of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic societies—are in the minority in their reactions to dilemmas of fairness. For example, if you’re one of the indigenous Machiguenga in Peru (pictured here by Asier Solana Bermejo on Flickr) studied by Joseph Henrich, you offer a much smaller split and your partner accepts happily. After all, he’s better off, and why should he be snarky just because you had the good fortune to be the decider? Who’s weird here?