Does psychology’s over-reliance on American undergraduates distort our image of the human species?
Imagine that you’re in a room with 100 psychopaths. The first thing you’ll probably want to do is leave that room. However, once you do, you discover a booth installed with one-way glass where you can watch what’s taking place without anyone seeing you. Comfortably seated, you observe a strange experiment taking place. A few of the individuals have on white coats and are carrying around clipboards while most are being run through a battery of psychological tests.
Slowly the frantic activity begins to make sense. Some test subjects are looking at video monitors and have sensors attached that measure their galvanic skin response to the images they see. Others are being given questionnaires to elicit their answers to a variety of social situations. Still others are being placed inside an fMRI scanner to measure the blood flow in different regions of their brains. All of these are standard methods in the psychological and brain sciences. But what’s most striking to you is the fact that this study is being conducted on psychopaths by psychopaths.
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