The Weirdest People in the World
How representative are experimental findings from American university students? What do we really know about human psychology?
Broad claims about human psychology and behavior based on narrow samples from Western societies are regularly published. Are such species‐generalizing claims justified? This review suggests not only substantial variability in experimental results across populations in basic domains, but that standard subjects are unusual compared with the rest of the species—outliers. The domains reviewed include visual perception, fairness, spatial reasoning, moral reasoning, thinking‐styles, and self‐concepts. This suggests (1) caution in addressing questions of human nature from this slice of humanity, and (2) that understanding human psychology will require broader subject pools. We close by proposing ways to address these challenges