Developmental Psychology Journal Analysis

Developmental Psychology Journal Analysis

Student’s Name

Institution of Affiliation


Question 1: Title of the article and author:

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

Authors – José M. Causadias, Joseph A. Vitriol, and Annabelle L. Atkin.

Question 2: Institutions of location

José M. Causadias is an associate professor at the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.

Joseph A. Vitriol is a Senior Researcher in the Political Science Department at Stony Brook University.

Annabelle Lin Atkin is an assistant professor at Purdue University in human development and family studies.

Question 3: What age groups are they looking at?

There are no specific age groups focused in the article, as the study focuses on providing evidence for 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.

Question 4: Is this an experiment, a correlational study, or some other type of study?

The study is both an experiment and a correlational study. A correlational study involves examining the relationship between multiple dependent variables without manipulating any of the variables. Based on this, the findings of the relationship among the variables do not provide information regarding the causal relationship between the variables being investigated. The study involves archival research design in that it involves the search for and extracting information and evidence from past research on developmental psychology. The study investigated bias using peer-reviewed developmental research conducted in the United States in the last decade, which included a total of 640 articles. The study is also an experiment in that it conducted an experiment and a survey with developmental psychologists in the United States where it involved a total of 432 participants in providing raw data for analysis. Experimental research adheres to a scientific research design and includes such features as a hypothesis, variables that can be manipulated by the researcher as well as variables that can be measured, calculated, and compared. All these are characteristics embodied in the two studies in that they involved research questions, hypotheses, as well as data analysis. Based on this, the research qualifies to be both a correlational and experimental study.

Question 5: Summary of what is being done in the study

The article looks at the plight of diversity and inclusion in developmental sciences. There are two major goals of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), which are part of its strategic plan to pursue diversity. The two goals include; encouraging the consideration of the role of culture as essential in supporting diversity as it is essential in shaping human development and promoting diversity through inclusion of underrepresented groups. However, the emphasis on the goals of diversity and inclusion is articulated to focus on the significance of culture in the development of racial minorities, but not on how culture shapes the development of whites, which leads to cultural misattribution. Based on this, the article aims to provide evidence regarding cultural misattribution bias between the whites and racial minorities, which involve the perception that the development of minorities is influenced by social-level cultural processes while perceiving Whites as autonomous and independent actors whose development is influenced by individual-level psychological processes and not cultural processes. To help in the provision of evidence, two major studies were used in which bias in developmental research was investigated in the United States by the use of experimental, archival, and correlational methods. The first study involved journal analysis and focused on proving the hypotheses based on two major questions. The first question focused on determining the degree that the developmental studies of culture, ethnicity, and race differed from comparison studies. The second question focused on determining the degree to which the sample composition found in each of the studies deviated from what would have been expected from a random sample drawn from the United States population. The second study involved an experiment and survey with the psychologists. The second study involved two different studies, with both aimed at examining if the responses from the experiment and the survey were moderated by ethnicity of the participants, thus determining if both groups perceived culture had a larger role in the development of minorities which would support the cultural misattribution bias.

Question 6: Summary of the results

The results of the study are divided into two parts based on the two studies. The first hypothesis used the t-test to examine the mean differences, with the findings revealing differences of large magnitude with developmental studies of culture, race, and ethnicity with significantly higher percentages (67%) compared to non-culture-ethnic-race studies. The results of the second hypothesis indicate that studies in culture, race, and ethnicity in the United States were overrepresented among the minority groups. The results of the second research study were divided into two. The results involving the experiment with psychologists indicate that the participants of the study described a sample composed of minorities compared to whites as more appropriate for the study of the role of culture in development. Also, the results indicate that developmental psychologists rated a sample composed of minorities more approvingly for a study on the role of culture in development compared to noncultural developmental studies. The results from the second study involving a survey with developmental psychologists revealed that both white and minority participants reported that culture, race, and ethnicity, as well as group membership and social identity, tend to be more influential on the development of minorities compared to whites. In the same context, the results indicated that the participants of the study believed that personality, but not cognitive factors are more influential for the development of whites compared to minorities in the United States. In response to the question as to whether the researchers should recruit whites for reasserting questions that help examine the effects of culture, race, and ethnicity of development, the participants reported that minorities were more appropriate than whites for such studies examining the effect of culture, race, and ethnicity on development. Based on the study findings, it can be summed that both white and minority developmental psychologists tend to undermine the role of psychological processes while exaggerating the role of culture, race, and ethnicity in shaping the development of minorities. However, these developmental psychologists tend to overemphasize the role of the psychological process while undermining the role of culture, race, and ethnicity in the development of whites.

Question 7: One other question raised by the study

Based on the article, there are various questions that emerge from the study results. One of the questions that I would like to investigate is: Is cultural (mis)attribution bias involving the effect of culture, race, and ethnicity to minorities versus whites consistent with stereotypical representations of non-prototypical members of American society.? I think this to be an important question that requires further investigation because the two studies have produced similar results, that culture, race, and ethnicity tend to affect the development of minorities while having minimal impact on the development of whites. I believe that all individuals are equal and are affected the same by the culture in which they grow from childhood. If a minority’s psychological development will be affected by their culture, race, and ethnicity, then the same case, though at different levels, will happen to whites. Children are a product of the environment, which means the interaction with people close to them, including culture, race, and ethnicity, will have a higher role in influencing a child’s cognitive development. There is no special child, whether from a minority or white background, and thus, with developmental psychologists suggesting that culture, race, and ethnicity only tend to influence the development of minorities, while the development of Whites is influenced by individual psychological processes is a mere exaggeration. This can only be true if the Whites have no culture, which is next to impossible. Therefore, I would like the question “Is cultural (mis)attribution bias involving the effect of culture, race, and ethnicity to minorities versus whites, consistent with stereotypical representations of non-prototypical members of American society,” considering that most of the developmental psychologists are white.


Causadias, J. M., Vitriol, J. A., & Atkin, A. L. (2018). The cultural (mis) attribution bias in developmental psychology in the United States. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 59, 65-74.