Sunday, March 9, 2014

CURMUDGUCATION: What We Don't Know About Normal

CURMUDGUCATION: What We Don't Know About Normal:

What We Don't Know About Normal

I only just heard about Joe Henrich and his groundbreaking work, but I plan to educate myself further. Henrich's work has implications for anyone who works with human beings and their brains. So, teachers.

Let me try to simplify Henrich's work and then I'll try to explain why we should care.

Normal Isn't 

Henrich was doing anthropology grad school field work in Peru in 1995 when he decided to rerun a well-worn economics study game. In the Ultimatum Game, one person receives a chunk of money and then offers a chunk to a second person. If person #2 refuses the offer, both people lose all the money. Both players know the rules.

This is a classic in its field, one of many experiments that is used to argue for certain cognitive consistencies across all human beings, how it is normal to enforce certain standards of fair play.