Scientific experiments are designed to extract a general truth from a specific sample — for example, if all 200 people in a study sneeze when they smell pepper, it's pretty safe to say that pepper has the potential to make any given person sneeze. To get a result that applies to the general population, though, it's best to use a sample that represents that population, and that's where many studies go wrong. Most scientists are at universities, after all, and university students are ready and willing to act as guinea pigs. Problem is, most people on Earth aren't university students, so when you try to apply those results to a different group of people, it doesn't always work. That's what an international team of researchers tried to do with one of the most influential measures of personality traits out there — and, yeah, it didn't work.
Written by Ashley Hamer August 12, 2019
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