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, 115 (45), 11401-11405

Toward a Psychology of Homo sapiens: Making Psychological Science More Representative of the Human Population

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Toward a Psychology of Homo sapiens: Making Psychological Science More Representative of the Human Population

Mostafa Salari Rad et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Abstract

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.

Keywords: cognition; culture; diversity; methodology; psychological science.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.
Proportion of samples with demographic information reported in samples used in all studies published in Psychological Science in 2014.

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