Author Archive

The Weirdest People in the World?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world’s top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers – often implicitly – assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these “standard subjects” are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified?

Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species – frequent outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, cooperation, spatial reasoning, categorization and inferential induction, moral reasoning, reasoning styles, self-concepts and related motivations, and the heritability of IQ. The findings suggest that members of WEIRD societies, including young children, are among the least representative populations one could find for generalizing about humans. Many of these findings involve domains that are associated with fundamental aspects of psychology, motivation, and behavior – hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re‐organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges.


Beautiful Minds – human camera

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Stephen Wiltshire is a British man who was diagnosed as autistic when he was a child. He’s also been noted for his exacting memory, which allows him to recreate [in drawings] vast scenes he sees only once. This video shows his 16-foot-panorama of Rome after taking one helicopter ride above the city.

Ada Lovelace

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Today is Ada Lovelace day!

If you don’t know who that is – you should check it out (see

Ada Lovelace, 1838

Big Shadow

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Check out the Interactive Wall, Big Shadow

08.Elite or Everyman

Posted in 08.Elite or Everyman on February 22, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Reading this week (3/3)

Margaret Boden’s book, The Creative Mind: Myths & Mechanisms – Chapter 10, Elite or Everyman – media:boden-chapter10.pdf

Also, Chapter 3 of Creative Cognition! Creative Visualization in (eds) Ronald A. Finke , Thomas B. Ward and Steven M. Smith. MIT Press – find online reader here [Creative Cognition]

Midterm Idea presentation 3/10 and 3/17

How to Design like an Architect

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

for your amusement

concerning style

Sketches of Frank Gehry

Frank on Frank – Charlie Rose

Digital Project –

My Architect – the movie – a son’s journey

Barbie is a Computer Engineer!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 12, 2010 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do

Well it certainly says something that Barbie’s new career is a computer engineer. Read all about it here and see what you too can aspire to be (and look like, I guess) Notice the cool pink glasses and the all-binary screen!

(from ACM-W by Elaine Weyuker)