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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Toward a psychology of Homo sapiens: Making psychological science more representative of the human population

Mostafa Salari Rad, Alison Jane Martingano, and Jeremy Ginges
PNAS November 6, 2018 115 (45) 11401-11405; published ahead of print November 6, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1721165115


Two primary goals of psychological science should be to understand what aspects of human psychology are universal and the way that context and culture produce variability. This requires that we take into account the importance of culture and context in the way that we write our papers and in the types of populations that we sample. However, most research published in our leading journals has relied on sampling WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic) populations. One might expect that our scholarly work and editorial choices would by now reflect the knowledge that Western populations may not be representative of humans generally with respect to any given psychological phenomenon. However, as we show here, almost all research published by one of our leading journals, Psychological Science, relies on Western samples and uses these data in an unreflective way to make inferences about humans in general. To take us forward, we offer a set of concrete proposals for authors, journal editors, and reviewers that may lead to a psychological science that is more representative of the human condition.

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