“Traditional societies are far more diverse in many of their cultural practices than are modern industrial societies,” writes Jared Diamond in his recent The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? . Modern societies are outliers on the spectrum.
So it’s rather weird that “psychologists base most of their generalizations about human nature on studies of our own narrow and atypical slice of human diversity. Among the human subjects studied in a sample of papers from the top psychology journals surveyed in the year 2008, 96% were from Westernized industrial countries . . . , 68% were from the U.S. in particular, and up to 80% were college undergraduates enrolled in psychology courses, i.e., not even typical of their own national societies” (8).
Diamond modestly suggests that psychologists could generalize more accurately if they broadened their samples.