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Am Psychol. 2008 Oct;63(7):602-14. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.63.7.602.

The neglected 95%: why American psychology needs to become less American.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610, USA. arnett@jeffreyarnett.com

Abstract

This article proposes that psychological research published in APA journals focuses too narrowly on Americans, who comprise less than 5% of the world's population. The result is an understanding of psychology that is incomplete and does not adequately represent humanity. First, an analysis of articles published in six premier APA journals is presented, showing that the contributors, samples, and editorial leadership of the journals are predominantly American. Then, a demographic profile of the human population is presented to show that the majority of the world's population lives in conditions vastly different from the conditions of Americans, underlining doubts of how well American psychological research can be said to represent humanity. The reasons for the narrowness of American psychological research are examined, with a focus on a philosophy of science that emphasizes fundamental processes and ignores or strips away cultural context. Finally, several suggestions for broadening the scope of American psychology are offered.

PMID:
18855491
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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