Usage example with a context:

It’s impossible to miss that European fans of Putin increase in number the farther you travel from Russia’s borders. Closer to Russia, the sort of far-right activists who agree with a lot of Moscow’s critique of the West’s WEIRD problem are intensely anti-Putin, out of fear; they know the Kremlin has no place for them in their plans for a New Europe, free of Atlanticism and the United States.

Another example:

The volunteers who are bearing so much of the defense of Ukraine’s East include many right-wingers whose views on the WEIRD West are indistinguishable from the Kremlin’s, but they know that Putin does not want allies, he seeks vassals. They are acquainted with what control by Moscow means.

I think this is a newly-coined term that's now being widely used, especially in the media, but it's very difficult to find anything about it online. Has anyone here heard of this word before? Do you know what it means? If so, please share your knowledge.

  • 1
    Until I read CopperKettle's excellent answer below, I had no idea the word weird was written in ALL CAPS in the article itself; I thought maybe you had written it that way for emphasis to help us find it in the quote.
    – J.R.
    Jan 29, 2015 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


It means Western Educated Industrialized Rich and Democratic. I had not heard it before yesterday's question.

Its usage originated with the social scientists Joe Henrich, Steven Heine and Ara Norenzayan. Their paper was published in 2010.

Wikipedia summarizes:

In 2010, a group of researchers reported a systemic bias in psychology studies towards WEIRD ("western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic") subjects. Although only 1/8 people worldwide fall into the WEIRD classification, the researchers claimed that 60–90% of psychology studies are performed on WEIRD subjects. The article gave examples of results that differ significantly between WEIRD subjects and tribal cultures, including the Müller-Lyer illusion.

I think its usage in political analyses is limited to John Schindler in his blog, which is called XX Committee. I have not seen it used elsewhere, except in the one article in Business Insider.

So it is a phrase that Schindler has borrowed from the social sciences to apply to what he sees as a deep cultural divide between the WEIRD West and other cultures that do not share its values, including, according to Schindler, Putin's Russia.

I don't think it is used widely. Have you seen the term used anywhere else but in the one article from which you keep drawing your recent questions?


It's the first time I met this acronym. The author explains the term in his earlier article:

The WEIRD demographic, as I’ve explained before, standing for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic, is wholly dominant among our media elites that play a huge role in forming opinions and judging the acceptability of the same.

And another mention:

In the end they titled their paper “The Weirdest People in the World?” (pdf) By “weird” they meant both unusual and Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. It is not just our Western habits and cultural preferences that are different from the rest of the world, it appears. The very way we think about ourselves and others—and even the way we perceive reality—makes us distinct from other humans on the planet, not to mention from the vast majority of our ancestors. Among Westerners, the data showed that Americans were often the most unusual, leading the researchers to conclude that “American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners—outliers among outliers.”


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