The January/February issue of Foreign Policy has an article by Joshua E. Keating summarizing the state of experiments in psychological sciences (“WEIRD Science”). Over the period 2003 to 2007 a "whopping 96% [of studies came] from Western, industrialized countries.” That is, psychological experiments were performed largely on students from Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies.
Keating points out that “WEIRDos tend to be more individualistic and more competitive than people from non-industrialized Asian and African societies…. Westerners -- and Americans in particular -- are far more likely to look out for themselves.” Cultural differences apparently affect even studies of visual perception, with Westerners doing more poorly on some dimensions.
Are we victims of WEIRD science?