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Talk and Poster Submissions

Poster Abstracts Deadline:

Extended *

April 28th 12pm PST

Talk Abstract Submissions are Closed

We encourage poster submissions from students at ALL stages of their education. 

Abstracts should be 250 words or less.

Low Round Stage

With Keynote Speaker

Dr. Clark Barrett

Rethinking the role of small-scale societies in cross-cultural research

Psychologists and anthropologists are interested, again, in gathering data from small-scale societies to test hypotheses about human cognition and behavior. While this interest is not new, it has been reinvigorated by calls to expand research outside typical convenience samples used by psychologists. While this turn away from college and online populations is commendable, it is not without its own pitfalls. One such pitfall is what I call the “ancestral gambit”: treating some living human populations as proxies for the human ancestral past. This gambit has been heavily criticized by anthropologists for good reasons, some of which I review here. When used inappropriately, this assumption can cause harm to people and distort the inferences we draw from data. Another pitfall of focusing excessively on small-scale societies is that it skirts over the vast middle ground of people who are neither cosmopolitan city-dwellers nor remote rural villagers, but who have much to tell us about human psychology. Here, I review these problems and the concerns they raise for inferences drawn from cross-cultural work, and offer suggestions for increasing the inclusivity, representativeness, and realism of cross-cultural research. These include expanding the range of people we include in cross-cultural research, being more explicit and theoretically precise about the reasons why data drawn from a given population are relevant for a particular hypothesis, and ending the treatment of majority cultures as the “unmarked” category for psychological research.