In The WEIRDest People in the World, Henrich offers something of a big-think, global, social-science history that covers everything from psychology experiments to anthropological narrative, economic argumentation, and kinship studies, all grounded in a purported history of religious and family law. The book seeks to persuade that the West is cognitively different from the rest of the world and that its uniqueness explains every fundamental aspect of its modern trajectory—its wealth and education distributions, the progress and spread of its innovations, the presence or absence of trust outside its local communities, its formal institutions of democratic governance, and its beliefs about fairness and equality. Even more important for historically oriented readers, the book seeks to uncover how this major cognitive development emerged. The quantitative methods that the book employs to support its sweeping claims, however, are flawed, and its version of European church- and family-law history is inconsistent with the consensus view of specialist historians.

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