The cultural (mis)attribution bias in developmental psychology in the United States

Published on Feb 1, 2018in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology1.826
· DOI :10.1016/j.appdev.2018.01.003
José M. Causadias6
Estimated H-index: 6
(ASU: Arizona State University),
Joseph A. Vitriol5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Lehigh University),
Annabelle L. Atkin3
Estimated H-index: 3
(ASU: Arizona State University)
Abstract In this article, we provide evidence for the cultural (mis)attribution bias in developmental psychology in the United States: the tendency to see minorities as members of a group whose development is shaped primarily by culture, and to perceive Whites as independent individuals whose development is largely influenced by psychological processes. In two studies, we investigated this bias with a decade of peer reviewed developmental research conducted in the US ( N  = 640 articles), and an experiment and a survey with developmental psychologists in the US ( N  = 432 participants). In both studies we found that developmental psychologists in the US favor cultural over psychological explanations when considering the development of minorities, while the opposite pattern emerged in reference to Whites. This bias is exacerbated by the endorsement of the idea that minorities are more collectivistic and Whites more individualistic. We discuss the implications of this bias for diversity and inclusion initiatives in applied developmental sciences.
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