PerspectiveSocial Psychology

The upside of aging

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Science  23 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6515, pp. 403-404
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe9110

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Summary

A primary goal of science is to produce robust and generalizable theories of empirical phenomena. For psychologists, the phenomena of interest are the human mind and behavior. Both the robustness and generalizability of psychological theories have come into question over the past decade. Experimental findings from some of the most widely known theories in social psychology could not be reproduced, provoking what is sometimes called the replication crisis (1). Moreover, results derived from studies of Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies do not always generalize to a more diverse range of human societies (2). Comparative studies of humans and other species can reveal which psychological theories generalize to other species and which apply only to humans. On page 473 of this issue, Rosati et al. (3) use comparative data to assess the tenets of one prominent theory in social psychology.

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