In 2010, Joe Henrich, Steven J. Heine, and Ara Norenzayan published a paper which shows that much of the behavioral research performed during the last 50 years, which often uses American and European college students, is useless for predicting behavior in other cultures.
Adbusters: Is There Such a Thing as "Human Nature"?, 2013-Oct-25 by Ethan Watters
In their paper the trio pointed out cross-cultural studies that suggest that the “weird” [Western, Educated, Industrial, Rich, Democratic] mind is the most self-aggrandizing and egotistical on the planet: we are more likely to promote ourselves as individuals versus advancing as a group.
Individualism is not universal, but it is the driving force in innovation. If we're going to solve our pressing problems, instead of drifting into extinction, we'll have to accept some pockets in society where self-promotion and ignoring social norms is tolerated.