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Ethical Considerations in Research on Human Development and Culture

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on ethical issues in culturally based research on human development. The authors consider ethics both in terms of ways to guarantee the cultural adequacy of procedures for the protection of human subjects and of ways to enhance the cultural sensitivity of the theory and methods underlying psychological inquiry. After briefly discussing the historical context in which human subjects protocols emerged, the chapter focuses on cultural issues entailed in achieving informed consent, safeguarding the privacy of research participants, and protecting research participants from harm. It then focuses on ethical issues involved in ensuring the cultural adequacy of research findings, including issues of sampling and generalization, avoiding bias in assessment, and cultural broadening of research constructs. It concludes by underscoring respects in which taking cultural meanings and practices more fully into account makes it possible to enhance both the ethics of research and its quality.
CHAPTER
14
Research ethics is concerned with protecting the
human rights of research participants, including,
most basically, the right to privacy and to protec-
tion from harm. Professional codes of ethics have
been elaborated in response to ethical abuses that
have occurred in research, as well as to chang-
ing sensitivities to human rights issues and to the
growth of new methodologies and study popula-
tions. Codes of research ethics thus represent his-
torical and cultural creations, even as they seek
to embody timeless principles. In this chapter, we
consider issues of research ethics that arise in cul-
turally based research over the life span.
To illustrate the types of ethical challenges that
exist in research on culture and human develop-
ment, we provide here an example of an ethi-
cal issue that one of the authors of this chapter
encountered in conducting research among Indian
and US populations. She had plans to conduct an
interview study on social attribution with a univer-
sity population in southern India and approached a
university psychology professor with the request to
recruit participants from her class. Arriving to class
that day, however, the professor not only graciously
introduced the author to the students and gave a
brief description to the class of the type of research
that she was conducting, but also announced to
everyone that they would all be taking part in the
study. e students greeted this announcement
with equanimity, as an appropriate expectation
with which they were not only comfortable but also
all ready to comply.
In this context, the consent form took on a for-
eign and almost superfluous air. It was foreign in
the sense that it was not a practice that was indig-
enous to the local cultural context, but rather one
that had been introduced by Western research-
ers. It was also superfluous, in the sense that, in
Abstract
This chapter focuses on ethical issues in culturally based research on human development. The
authors consider ethics both in terms of ways to guarantee the cultural adequacy of procedures for
the protection of human subjects and of ways to enhance the cultural sensitivity of the theory and
methods underlying psychological inquiry. After briey discussing the historical context in which
human subjects protocols emerged, the chapter focuses on cultural issues entailed in achieving
informed consent, safeguarding the privacy of research participants, and protecting research
participants from harm. It then focuses on ethical issues involved in ensuring the cultural adequacy
of research ndings, including issues of sampling and generalization, avoiding bias in assessment, and
cultural broadening of research constructs. It concludes by underscoring respects in which taking
cultural meanings and practices more fully into account makes it possible to enhance both the ethics
of research and its quality.
Key Words: ethics, condentiality, informed consent, institutional review boards, privacy, harm,
attachment, parenting, motivation, culture
Joan G. Miller, Namrata Goyal, and Matthew Wice
Ethical Considerations in Research
on Human Development and Culture
2
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
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, ,  15
this context, students were motivated to meet the
expectations of their professor to participate in
the project and did not approach the situation as
one in which the decision about whether or not to
participate was theirs alone. In showing a willing-
ness to participate in the project, the students were
fulfilling what they viewed as their role-related
responsibilities to meet the expectations of their
professor. Although the students potentially could
have declined to participate, they shared a tacit
understanding that being responsive to the for-
eign researcher was being responsive to a guest,
in accord with the expectations of their profes-
sor. Nonparticipation would have meant a loss of
face for the professor that would be shared by the
students.
e author’s response to this situation, as is
often the case, was improvised, in that the ethi-
cal guidelines of institutional review board (IRB)
committees do not typically address how to make
accommodations in this type of situation and may
even differ in terms of what types of accommo-
dations, if any, are considered appropriate. She
collected the consent forms from the students,
all of whom had signed the form indicating their
willingness to participate, but later went out of
her way, in a procedure that would not have been
necessary with a US population, to emphasize
with each student individually the acceptability of
declining to participate. In response to this further
informal elaboration of the consent agreement, a
few students later declined to participate, even stu-
dents who had initially signed the consent form.
In this way, a real option to decline to participate
was afforded to the students by acting in a way that
more fully took into account local cultural norms
and that had not been achieved by the written con-
sent form required by the IRB and which everyone
had signed.
In this chapter, we present an overview of ethi-
cal issues arising in culturally based research on
human development in terms of both the consider-
ations taken into account in contemporary human
subjects procedures that are stipulated in IRB
protocols, as well as in terms of more general con-
cerns in cultural psychology with ensuring that the
content of research is both culturally sensitive and
culturally fair. In the first half of the chapter, we
address the cultural adequacy of procedures for the
protection of human subjects. In the second half,
we consider steps that are necessary to ensure the
cultural sensitivity of the constructs, methods, and
conclusions of psychological research.
Cultural Adequacy of Procedures
for Protection of Human Subjects
In this section, we discuss cultural challenges
that arise in protecting the human rights of research
participants. After briefly describing the histori-
cal and cultural context in which human subjects
protocols developed, we focus on cultural issues
entailed in achieving informed consent, ensuring
the privacy of research participants, and protecting
research participants from harm.
Historical Context of IRB
e evolving and historically sensitive nature of
human subjects concerns is seen in their recent evo-
lution and elaboration in relation to harmful pro-
tocols adopted in actual medical and social science
research. e concerns with protection of research
subjects first came to prominence with the extreme
conduct of Nazi doctors and scientists during
World War II. Concentration camp inmates and
other prisoners were commandeered into research
without having given consent and were subject
to medical interventions that resulted in great
harm, frequently leading to death. In response to
these abuses, e Hague Court formulated the
first written statement of ethical guidelines in the
Nuremberg Code, a code that stipulates the neces-
sity of informed consent, balancing risks with
anticipated benefits, and avoidance of harm.
Whereas many researchers distanced themselves
from the conclusions of the Nuremberg Code in
assuming that no such extreme practices existed
in research practices elsewhere, abuses that arose
in medical and social science research increas-
ingly made clear that harmful practices occur
more widely in scientific inquiry and represent
an ever-present hazard. One of the most cited
examples of ethical violations in medical practice
occurred in the Public Health Service Syphilis
Study (1932–1971), known also as the Tuskegee
Syphilis Experiment (Jones, 1993). A sample of
African American men had been recruited, without
their informed consent, into a multiyear longitu-
dinal study that explored treatments for syphilis.
e study enrolled hundreds of men who had con-
tracted syphilis and a comparison group of hun-
dreds who were syphilis-free to serve as controls. In
terms of ethical problems, study participants were
given false information about the need for certain
extremely painful study procedures, such as spinal
taps. Also, the longitudinal study was continued
with the study participants being denied access to
antibiotics even after penicillin had been shown,
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
Press, Incorporated, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1962354.
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16       
during the 1940s, to be a safe and effective treat-
ment for syphilis. e study raised questions about
the potential for harm in medical experimentation
and the need to fully inform participants about the
risks of research, as well as broader questions about
the potential for discrimination and bias, with
questionable practices having been undertaken
with a minority population.
Psychological investigators became particularly
sensitive to the potential for harm in psychological
research in response to the human subjects abuses
associated with some of the classic and highly
influential controlled experiments undertaken by
US social psychologists in the mid-20th century
(De Vos, 2010). For example, this occurred in the
Milgram obedience to authority study (Milgram,
1963) that documented the tendency for respon-
dents to comply with the admonitions of an author-
ity to administer ever-increasing levels of shock to a
confederate in a learning task. Although providing
a powerful demonstration of obedience to author-
ity, the research came under fire in later years for
having subjected participants to the psychological
harm of believing that they had inflicted severe
physical pain on a fellow research participant and
for engaging in deception in feigning the situation
presented to subjects, with no actual shock having
taking place (Brandt, 1971; Kaufmann, 1967).
Notably, other contemporary social psycho-
logical studies that also provided dramatic dem-
onstrations of the power of the situation and that
prompted individuals to engage in harmful behav-
ior were also not identified at the time as ethically
problematic (Zimbardo, 1973). For example, simi-
lar types of harm occurred in a prison experiment
conducted at Stanford University by Zimbardo and
his colleagues (Zimbardo, Haney, Banks, & Jaffe,
1973). is study involved research participants
being assigned to roles as guards and prisoners in a
simulated prison, in a procedure that continued for
6 days despite evidence of participants experiencing
extreme distress, with the “guards” acting in ways
that were physically and psychologically abusive to
the “prisoners.
Other contemporary studies employing less
reactive behavioral observation techniques also
were later recognized to involve human rights viola-
tions, such as an ethnographic study (Humphreys,
1970) that involved surreptitiously conducting
observations of homosexual practices in public
restrooms. Although producing findings of great
interest at the time, the study was later recognized
as involving ethically problematic behaviors such
as invasion of privacy, exploitation of a vulnerable
population, and lack of informed consent.
In response to the increasing recognition of
questionable ethical practices existing not only in
medical research but more broadly in all research
with human subjects, the US Department of
Health and Human Services became involved in
the formal regulation of the conduct of research,
with the National Research Act (1974) mandating
the establishment of IRBs to protect the rights and
safety of research participants. is was followed
in 1979 by the publication of the Belmont Report,
which articulated the basic ethical principles that
underlie all contemporary research with human
subjects. Centering on human rights and moral
values, these principles include (a) the principle of
respect for persons as autonomous agents capable
of making their own decisions, which underlies
such considerations as the requirement to obtain
informed consent and to respect the privacy of
research participants; (b) the principle of benefi-
cence, which underlies such considerations as min-
imizing risks and maximizing benefits, as well as
maintaining confidentiality; and (c) the principle
of justice and fairness, which underlies such con-
siderations as selection of research subjects in ways
that are equitable and that avoid the exploitation of
vulnerable populations.
Procedures for the protection of human rights
in research and for the realization of the standards
set forth by the Belmont Report are widely avail-
able, with major professional organizations of psy-
chologists articulating codes of conduct based on
these considerations. For example, the American
Psychological Association’s (APA) “Ethical
Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”
elaborates the standards that must be met to pro-
tect the rights of research participants (American
Psychological Association, 2002), while more spe-
cialized professional organizations, such as the
Society for Research in Child Development, dis-
seminate ethical standards specifically applicable
to particular research populations, such as children
(Society for Research in Child Development, 2007).
Our discussion here does not seek to replicate
this type of widely available information but rather
points to ways human subject guidelines need to
be elaborated to ensure that they are responsive to
the challenges of cultural research. Our discussion
in this section focuses on three of the central issues
considered in contemporary human subjects pro-
tocols: informed consent, protecting privacy, and
minimizing harm.
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
Press, Incorporated, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1962354.
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, ,  17
Informed Consent
Informed consent involves providing individu-
als with prior information about the nature of the
research procedures in which they are being asked
to engage, as well as about the benefits and poten-
tial for harm involved. In the case of children, IRB
procedures involve additional complexity because
of the assumption that children lack the legal right
to consent to research or the perceived power to
refuse to participate, nor do they possess, in many
cases, the cognitive maturity to fully understand
research procedures. To address these develop-
mental concerns, it is recognized as important for
researchers to obtain consent from parents or legal
guardians, as well as from school teachers or prin-
cipals who may be interacting with or overseeing
the child’s activities during the period of the study,
as well as to secure the child’s verbal and/or writ-
ten assent to participate. In conducting research in
diverse cultural contexts, however, additional chal-
lenges arise in (a) ensuring that respondents fully
understand the nature of the procedures and the
risks involved, (b) securing consent from the rel-
evant parties, and in (c) making certain that any
consent given is fully voluntary.
To achieve informed consent, efforts must
be made to address the limited prior familiar-
ity of certain populations with the theoretical
concepts motivating research and with negative
aspects of the research procedures to be employed.
ese types of issues have been documented in
research with children from Western cultures. For
example, in a series of studies conducted among
elementary-school aged Canadian children, the
children proved accurate in describing the pur-
pose of the studies being conducted but did not
fully appreciate potential negative consequences
involved in participating, such as feelings of being
embarrassed or upset by their performance on cog-
nitive tests or of being bored by the length of study
procedures (Abramovitch, Freedman, Henry, &
Van Brunschot, 1995). ese same kinds of con-
cerns may be even more pronounced in the case
of cultural populations who have limited famil-
iarity with the norms of experimentation. In such
cases, individuals may not anticipate respects in
which psychological research may involve rela-
tively impersonal modes of interaction and thus
may react particularly negatively to research con-
texts. For example, in a study on AIDS conducted
among African Americans, investigators observed
that research participants interpreted structured
tests, with their repetitive items, as a sign that
the researchers lacked respect for their feelings
and experiences (Stevenson, DeMoya, & Boruch,
1993). In these types of situations, the imperson-
ality of informed consent procedures may lead
individuals to be reluctant to agree to participate
in research, with study procedures experienced as
violating local cultural norms, such as the value
placed among Hispanics on an individual’s ability
to be simpatico to others in everyday social interac-
tion (Browner, Preloran, & Cox, 1999). To address
these concerns, researchers not only need to add
information to informed consent agreements that
explain more fully the nature and potential benefits
and risks associated with the research, but to make
efforts to ensure that the language of consent agree-
ments is written in as clear and culturally familiar a
way as possible and that it accords as much as pos-
sible with local cultural norms (Freeman, 1994).
Attention also needs to be given to cultural vari-
ation in conceptions of authority that may affect
the range of parties from whom consent needs to
be secured. For example, in the case of American
Indian or Alaska Native tribes, it is important to
consult with and obtain the prior approval of tribal
leaders about whether and how investigators should
approach potential child and adolescent research
participants and their families (Beauvais &
Trimble, 1992; Norton & Manson, 1996). Given
the family-oriented values emphasized in certain
Asian cultures (Tai & Lin, 2001), consent may
tend to be viewed as a family right, meaning that
informed consent must be secured from parents,
guardians, or even grandparents, even in cases in
which the child is above the age of legal consent.
Extra care also needs to be taken to ensure the
voluntariness of consent in research conducted in
diverse cultural contexts. Whereas consent forms
include a stipulation that respondents are free to
withdraw their participation from a study at any
time without negative repercussions, this freedom
may not be experienced by research participants.
In this regard, it has been demonstrated that chil-
dren tend to be reluctant to withdraw from a study
unless the experimenter reiterates this freedom to
withdraw during the actual course of the study
procedures, such as by explicitly stating that he or
she would not be upset by the child stopping par-
ticipation (Abramovitch et al., 1995). A tendency
not to recognize the acceptability of withdrawing
from a study once it has begun, however, may be
particularly pronounced in cultural communities
in which individuals are particularly inclined to
defer to the authority of the researcher or where
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
Press, Incorporated, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1962354.
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18       
they may be even less familiar with the norms of
psychological research than are study participants
from middle-class European-American contexts.
Attention also needs to be given to the contrast-
ing meanings of research compensation in groups
of different cultural and socioeconomic back-
grounds. For example, in cases in which family
beliefs support the child’s participation in research
as an altruistic act, getting paid for participation
may tend to be perceived negatively as an infringe-
ment on family values (Sanchez, Salazar, Tijero, &
Diaz, 2001). Likewise, researchers need to take spe-
cial care to ensure that any compensation offered is
both fair and noncoercive. is means, on the one
hand, adequately compensating research partici-
pants for their time and effort and for any financial
costs that they may have incurred, such as travel
expenses or loss of time at work, while, on the other
hand, ensuring that the compensation offered is
not so great as to be experienced as compelling
participation.
Protecting Privacy
Privacy in the conduct of research involves
many different types of considerations. As Allen
(1999) notes, research privacy entails concerns
with (a) physical privacy, in terms of providing spa-
tial seclusion; (b) informational privacy, in terms
of assuring confidentiality and protection of data;
(c) decisional privacy, in terms of allowing indi-
viduals and families to make important decisions
for themselves, such as those concerning sex, repro-
duction, or religion; and (d) proprietary privacy, in
terms of control over names and other indicators
of personal identity. Assuring each type of privacy,
however, can only be achieved through taking
into account the ecological constraints of different
social settings and contrasting cultural definitions
and practices related to privacy.
Standard IRB requirements focus on protecting
the privacy of the data collected, including under-
taking such measures as using participant codes,
rather than names, and employing secure methods
of data storage. However, such strategies may be
insufficient to protect participant privacy in the
case of small, close-knit communities, in which
recruitment efforts and participation in research
may tend to become widely known public activi-
ties. In such cases, media reports of research may
lead to the public identification and thus violation
of the anonymity of members of distinctive cul-
tural or linguistic subgroups (Norton & Manson,
1996 ).
Contrasting cultural norms concerning pri-
vacy may also affect the meaning and desirability
of physical and informational privacy in the con-
duct of the research itself. is was illustrated dra-
matically in a recent public health interview study
conducted in Sri Lanka, which compared the out-
looks of Ayurvedic, Buddhist, and Western healers
(Monshi & Zieglmayer, 2004). In seeking to pro-
tect the privacy of the information collected, inter-
views were first undertaken, in accord with Western
norms, in an enclosed terrace in the home of one
of the healers. Participants, however, accepted this
setting with resistance. As the local interpreter
explained to the foreign researchers, respondents
were uncomfortable with the seclusion of what they
viewed as this “hidden” interview space. It was only
when the researchers moved the interviews to the
public space of an open patio that the Sri Lankan
healers participated in the interviews without hesi-
tation or unease. Furthermore, as is common in
many other cultural settings, research participants
came to the interviews accompanied by significant
others, including young children in their care, as
well as adult family members and close friends.
Not only were the participants unconcerned about
disclosing information in front of these bystand-
ers, but they also experienced such open commu-
nication as normatively appropriate and desirable,
leading the participants to feel more comfortable
and to be more forthcoming in their responses than
had the researchers interviewed them alone. Also,
in many instances, the bystanders contributed
their own responses to the interviews, in ways that
enhanced the readiness of the research participants
to speak freely with the interviewer.
Variation in the cultural values underlying deci-
sional privacy also must be taken into account in
determining who should be given information that
an individual is participating in research or given
access to information being collected on an individ-
ual as part of a study. In this regard, a central issue
that arises is the weight to be given to the rights
of adolescents to control their own behavior versus
the rights and responsibilities of parents to oversee
the behavior of their offspring. It is recognized that
older adolescents not only have the cognitive capac-
ities of adults but also the societal right to engage in
consequential adult-like behaviors, such as drink-
ing alcohol or driving. us, the cognitive imma-
turity of the adolescent or his financial dependence
on his parents no longer constitutes clear grounds
for giving priority to the parent’s rights to decision
making in research over the rights of the adolescent
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
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, ,  19
himself. However, how such conflicts between the
rights of adolescents and those of their parents need
to be resolved is culturally variable.
In recent work conducted with US samples,
researchers have concluded that in cases involving
major health care decisions, such as seeking care
at a family planning clinic, where the rights of a
youth to control her own behavior conflict with the
authority of her parents to oversee the youth’s con-
duct, priority should be given to the rights of the
adolescent: “a youth’s rights to care must supersede
a parent’s rights to know what is happing to their
youth” (Brooks-Gunn & Rotheram-Borus, 1994,
p. 120). It is argued that, in these cases, the youth
should have autonomy over her own behavior and
that involvement of the parents may preclude the
adolescent from gaining access to the care she
needs.
However, in many non-Western cultural com-
munities, or even in the case of certain minority
subgroups within the US, families play a greater
normative role in the planning of the adolescent’s
life, with the expectation by the parents and by the
adolescents themselves that the family will be con-
sulted and involved in major life decisions. us,
it tends to be experienced as disrespectful of the
parental role or an intrusion on parent–child com-
munication to bypass parents in health care matters
involving adolescent children, with the adolescents
themselves generally viewing parental involvement
and input as legitimate and valuable (Casas &
ompson, 1991; Fisher, 2002). Also, in terms of
proprietary privacy, the requirement of nondis-
closure of information obtained in research may
be rejected in such cases as being in conflict with
the perceived goals of research. us, it has been
found that teenagers who self-identify as members
of minority subgroups in the US commonly expect
researchers to assist them with obtaining help with
any problems uncovered as part of the research and
thus support the disclosure of information about
their experiences to third parties, including not
only family members but also social service and
public health agencies (O’Sullivan & Fisher, 1997).
e present considerations underscore the
extent to which culturally variable notions of
privacy must inform research procedures, or, as
Prost and Vincent (1993) argue “e private life
is not a natural fact; it is a historical reality that
is constructed in different ways by various societ-
ies” (p. 12). Respecting privacy as it is understood
in culturally variable terms and in the context of
contrasting local sociocultural constraints has the
potential to better meet the needs and expectations
of research participants while also yielding better
quality research data.
Minimizing Harm
Research with human subjects, as noted earlier,
seeks to balance benefits that derive from research
with risks to the human subjects involved. ese
risks, however, may be heightened in research to the
extent that the procedures employed are culturally
inappropriate or involve vulnerable populations.
Most procedures adopted in research with chil-
dren have been created taking into account the
cultural expectations and practices of middle-class
European-American families. Although these pro-
cedures may induce some stress in children, the
stress is generally judged to be temporary and to be
no greater than that experienced in everyday fam-
ily life. However, to the extent that research proce-
dures violate the socialization practices emphasized
in particular cultural communities, they may entail
greater potential for harm or discomfort.
is type of potential for greater harm or dis-
comfort may be seen in the cross-cultural use of
the Strange Situation procedure to assess attach-
ment (Rothbaum, Pott, Azuma, Miyake, & Weisz,
2000). As created by Ainsworth (1963), the Strange
Situation procedure is designed to assess secure
base behavior by subjecting the infant to what is
intended to be a mild level of stress related to a tem-
porary separation from the mother or other care-
giver. During the course of the procedure, the child
is put in a situation in which, for brief periods, he or
she interacts with an unfamiliar adult and also, in
turn, is left alone. Although this procedure invari-
ably evokes some distress for the child, the distress
is judged to be warranted as a means to gain insight
into processes of attachment and is routinely
approved by Human Subjects Reviews Committees
as entailing an acceptable level of risk. According to
Ainsworth and her colleagues (Ainsworth, Blehar,
Waters, & Wall, 1978), the procedure is congruent
with commonly experienced American parenting
practices, with American mothers generally com-
fortable with taking their babies into unfamiliar
environments and leaving them for a few minutes
with a stranger or, even briefly, alone. However, as
Takahashi (1982) notes, this type of behavior rarely
occurs among Japanese mothers who seldom go
out leaving the child with another caregiver, even
with a grandmother or father. In cases in which the
Strange Situation has been ad ministered to a sample
of Japanese infants (Takahashi, 1986), the anxiety
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
Press, Incorporated, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1962354.
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20       
involved for the Japanese infants has been found to
be intense, leading the infants to display patterns of
response that appeared to be more reflective of their
efforts to cope with the stress of the procedure than
of enduring patterns of attachment.
e Strange Situation procedure also may
cause significant anxiety for the mothers who are
expected, as part of the procedure, to expose their
children to a highly unusual and anxiety-provoking
experience. Although mothers may routinely com-
ply with the experimenters’ requests to separate
from their infants during the Strange Situation
procedure, given the deference accorded to sci-
ence, they may also feel that, in doing this, they
are failing to protect their infants from a nega-
tive psychological experience and thus breaching,
at least temporarily, their protective role as a par-
ent. However, although this type of concern may
be experienced to some degree by all mothers, it
is likely to be even greater in cultural contexts in
which the separation from the caregiver involved in
the Strange Situation procedure is more discordant
with everyday parenting practices and conceptions
of good parenting.
e potential for discomfort or risk in psycho-
logical research may also be seen in other topic
domains, given the relatively common use of
stressful experimental procedures in research with
very young children. To give another example,
the Still Face paradigm is a widely used labora-
tory procedure in which, after a 2-minute period
of face-to-face play, mothers are asked to maintain
a still face while looking toward their infant for 2
minutes, followed by 2 minutes of reunion play
(Tronick, Als, Adamson, Wise, & Brazelton, 1978;
Tronick & Cohn, 1989). e interaction is later
coded for such features as the infant’s capacity to
maintain affective self-regulation during the period
of the still-face, maternal expressive behavior, and
the level of coordination achieved in mother–
infant interaction during the reunion period. It
is anticipated that all infants will show emotional
distress in this task, in that the mother’s behavior is
unexpected and highly troubling in its sudden and
extreme nonresponsiveness. However, none of the
safeguards are present that are routinely employed
in research with adults. us, no effort is made to
obtain the child’s assent to participate or to inform
him or her in advance about the upcoming stress,
and no experimental effort is undertaken to debrief
the infant by informing him or her of the deception
involved in their caregiver having feigned nonre-
sponsiveness. e Still Face Procedure, however, is
considered ethically acceptable by Human Subjects
Review Committees in that the discomfort induced
is only relatively short-term in duration and is gen-
erally congruent with what are assumed to be every-
day parenting practices in which infants commonly
experience delays in maternal responsiveness.
e Still Face procedure, like the Strange
Situation paradigm, however, is discordant with
parenting practices and beliefs in cultural com-
munities outside the dominant white, middle-class
model that is taken by default to be normative in
developmental psychology and thus may induce
much greater stress among infants and mothers
in such communities than among middle-class
European-American mothers. Marked cultural dif-
ferences exist in caregiver responsiveness to babies’
fussing and cries and in the processes through
which self-regulation is achieved (Meléndez, 2005).
To give an example, whereas 98% of the time the
!Kung San hunter–gatherers of Botswana respond
to babies’ frets within 10 seconds, Western moth-
ers tend to refrain from responding to their infant’s
cries in as much as 40% of the cases (Barr, 1999)
and may not even identify a baby’s crying as requir-
ing of a response until the crying has persisted for
as long as 10 minutes (Small, 1998). Furthermore,
in many cultures of Africa and Southeast Asia, a
contrasting style of self-regulation has developed
in which infants come to self-regulate before mak-
ing a full-blown cry (Papousek, 2000). Given
this expectation of relatively immediate paren-
tal responsiveness to infant distress among such
infants and their parents, the Still Face paradigm
then would tend to involve much greater likelihood
of psychological harm than among middle-class
European-American mothers.
In terms of the Strange Situation and the Still
Face Paradigm, as well as of other similar experi-
mental paradigms that induce culturally variable
levels of stress, there is a need to make significant
modifications in the consent agreements, if not
also in the procedures of the experimental para-
digm itself, to minimize any potential for harm.
In terms of consent agreements, it is important to
more fully inform parents in advance of the risks
involved. us, although it may be reasonable
among middle-class European-American parents
to portray such experimental procedures as elicit-
ing no more than routine levels of distress among
infants or as not exposing children to experiences
that are highly unusual in terms of their everyday
lives, this type of assurance does not apply in the
case of cultural communities in which parenting
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, ,  21
practices differ markedly. Also, it is important to
modify the procedures themselves in ways that
reduce the level of harm or discomfort induced
while still preserving the construct validity of the
theoretical concepts being assessed, such as by
markedly shortening the duration of the stressful
interactions in these tasks.
Greater potential for harm also exists in the
case of research conducted among populations
who are particularly vulnerable because of mental
or physical problems, immaturity, or particular
historical-political circumstances (Macklin, 1999).
Hernandez et al. (2013) provide a convincing case
for the designation of immigrant populations as
vulnerable due to many potential factors includ-
ing lack of language proficiency, undocumented
status, and poverty. Moreover, research conducted
in war zones constitutes another example of a con-
text in which sensitivity to population vulnerabil-
ity extends beyond the IRB emphasis on disability
and immaturity. Goodhand (1999) notes, in writ-
ing about the challenges of conducting research in
the context of contemporary conflict areas such as
Afghanistan, that the issues of physical security
and the threat of harm from participation in the
research arise not only for the investigators them-
selves, but also for research participants. It is noted
that when choosing issues for discussion, research-
ers must be aware of the political sensitivity of
particular issues and avoid topics that are not only
taboo but that would put the participants at physi-
cal risk—such as discussion of the opium economy
in Afghanistan or issues of caste in the case of Sri
Lanka. In the case of research conducted in conflict
zones, researchers also need to be sensitive to the
tensions that arise between the need to maintain
confidentiality versus addressing extreme threats to
human safety and security. Researchers also must
seek to give back to the local community while
avoiding creating false impressions of the improve-
ments that individuals may expect in their condi-
tions of life from involvement in the research.
Cultural Adequacy of Conclusions
Drawn from Research
In this section, our discussion goes beyond top-
ics typically addressed by Human Subjects Review
committees to consider issues that are critical in
conducting research that is fair to diverse cultural
populations in the sense of adequately tapping
and representing their outlooks in psychological
inquiry. ese issues involve not only questions of
sampling and of avoiding bias in the conclusions
drawn, but also of working to culturally broaden
the constructs, methods, and conclusions of psy-
chological inquiry.
Sampling and Generalization
from Research
Sampling involves issues of fair treatment in
that it bears on representing cultural perspectives
in a way that is inclusive while avoiding either
engaging in stereotyping or in otherwise oversim-
plifying the nature of particular cultural outlooks.
Psychology presently rests on a skewed sampling
of the world’s populations, with researchers in
many cases making claims that are presented as
generalizing to all of humanity on the basis of
samples drawn from a highly skewed database
consisting primarily of individuals from Western
industrialized societies (Arnett, 2008; Henrich,
Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). As critics have
charged, psychological research tends to proceed
as though the cultural context for human develop-
ment is homogenous, with middle-class European
Americans treated as the default or unmarked sub-
ject of research:
Culture has been assumed to be homogeneous,
that is based on a standard set of values and
expectations primarily held by White and
middle-class populations For example, in
developmental psychology, children means White
children (McLoyd, 1990); in psychology of women,
women generally refers to White women (Reid,
1988). When we mean other than White, it is
specified.
(Reid, 1994, p. 525)
Strikingly, not only has culture and ethnicity
been neglected in research on human develop-
ment, but limited attention has been given to social
class. As Fernald (2010) notes in underscoring this
neglect at the 2010 International Conference on
Infant Studies, fewer than 1% of the research pre-
sentations sampled children from disadvantaged
families, despite 20–40% of children in the United
States living in poverty.
In seeking to broaden the database on which
conclusions are drawn in psychological inquiry,
however, it is vital not only to adopt more culturally
inclusive sampling practices, but also to avoid ten-
dencies to approach culture, ethnicity, and social
class in ways that involve overly global claims. For
example, overgeneralization can be seen in the
heavy reliance on the individualism-collectivism
construct and the related construct of an
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
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22       
independent versus interdependent cultural view
of self-formulations that presently dominate much
developmental and social psychological research
on culture. In this work, although the popula-
tions sampled involve primarily individuals from
particular national groups, such as Japanese,
claims are made that apply to all East Asians or
to all Asians, or even to all Easterners, with simi-
lar broad generalizations made to all Westerners
on the basis of research conducted exclusively in
the United States or Canada (e.g., Nisbett, 2003).
Likewise, little attention tends to be given to varia-
tion linked to ethnicity despite findings that the
perspectives of minority group populations, such
as African Americans, may not only differ from
those of European Americans, but also show dis-
tinctive patterns of cross-cultural variation (Miller,
Kapadia, & Akiyama, 2013). ese same kinds
of considerations also apply in the case of work
on social class, with an onus on investigators to
avoid making global claims about the impact of
social class or assimilating social class differences
to the same processes seen as underlying cultural
differences. For example, as observed in work on
attachment conducted among Puerto Rican and
European-American families (Harwood, Miller, &
Irizarry, 1995), the nature of any social class dif-
ferences observed may vary depending on the val-
ues and practices emphasized in different cultural
contexts.
It is also critical to avoid the stereotypical
stance that results from relying on pan-ethnic or
pan-cultural labels or from making pejorative
assumptions in efforts to “measure” culture as
an individual difference variable. For example,
investigators note that the common tendency to
categorize respondents into subgroups in terms
of general national labels (such as Hispanic or
American Indian) obscures the moderating effects
of national origin, immigration, and religion, as
well as of social and personal histories on psycho-
logical outlooks, and may be insensitive to mixed
race or bicultural self-identification (Fisher, 2002).
An over-homogenizing stance in cultural research
is also exacerbated by the use of scale measures of
culture that promote categorization of populations
into dichotomous categories and often embody
pejorative assumptions. For example, on scale mea-
sures of collectivism, such as the widely used mea-
sure assessing independent versus interdependent
self-construal (Singelis, 1994), interdependence is
tapped in terms of items such as “I will sacrifice
my self-interest for the benefit of the group that
I am in,” which portray collectivism as a nona-
gentic stance that is emotionally nonsatisfying. As
critics have charged (e.g., Miller, 2002), this type
of claim involves a problematic tendency to view
collectivistic outlooks in terms of an assumed ten-
sion or opposition between the desires of the indi-
vidual and social requirements—a tendency that,
although it may reflect certain Western cultural
outlooks, does not characterize collectivist cul-
tural outlooks that view the social and the natu-
ral as inherently mutually constitutive rather than
as in tension (e.g., Marriott, 1976; Miller, Das, &
Ch a k ravarthy, 2011).
Avoiding Bias in Assessment
To achieve fairness in the conclusions drawn
from research, it is also vital to ensure that assess-
ment procedures are interpreted in the same way
in different cultural contexts and thus provide
valid indices of the constructs being assessed. is
assumption is often violated when research instru-
ments do not adequately take into account the con-
ditions of life or cultural viewpoints emphasized
in different cultural contexts and fail to consider
cultural variation in familiarity with research.
Assessment of attachment with the Strange
Situation procedure provides an example of ways
in which a standard behavioral assessment proce-
dure may be interpreted differently than intended
in a particular cultural context and thus be tapping
other dimensions than those planned. As discussed
earlier, in the context of the close parent–child con-
tact maintained in Japanese families, the Strange
Situation typically ends up inducing more stress
than tends to occur among American populations
(Takahashi, 1986). In creating this stress, however,
the validity of the procedure as an index of attach-
ment is called into question. It thus becomes diffi-
cult, if not impossible, to assess whether findings of
greater insecurity in the Strange Situation among
Japanese as compared with US children arise from
variation in attachment or from the different mean-
ing of the task in each cultural context.
Notably, a similar problem of cultural differ-
ences in the fairness of research procedures has been
noted in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI),
presently the most respected and widely used
instrument for assessing attachment among adults
(Hesse, 1999; Main, 1995). e measure involves
an open-ended interview that is tape-recorded and
later transcribed, in which the participant is asked
to narrate real-life autobiographical memories of
relationships with their parents during childhood,
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
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, ,  23
as well as to generate five adjectives that best
describe these relationships and to provide episodic
memories to illustrate why they have selected the
adjectives. e open-ended free response nature of
the interview might suggest that it is a culturally
fair measure. However, cultural differences in dis-
course norms and in the meaning of the interview
context introduce cultural bias in the responses
given. Takahashi and Hatano (2009) note that
Japanese respondents tend not to be forthcoming
in their responses to the AAI, often responding
by saying “I do not remember” or by giving very
brief answers because the interview context vio-
lates Japanese norms that discourage disclosure of
private information about the family to strangers.
Japanese respondents also tend to give more mea-
sured responses than would typically be observed
in a US sample because of their maintaining con-
trasting culturally based conversational styles, and
they are particularly reluctant to speak of nega-
tive family experiences, particularly in relation to
mothers. Takahashi and Hatano (2009) point out
that, although a literal scoring of the responses
given by Japanese respondents to the AAI might
show respondents to be unconsciously idealizing
their relationships with their parents, this scor-
ing would lack validity in that it fails to take into
account the noncomparability of the meaning of
the AAI probes and interview among Japanese as
compared with among the Western populations on
which it has been normed. Rather than responding
in a defensive way to the AAI, Japanese respond in
a way that is considered culturally appropriate in
what to them is a socially uncomfortable interview
context.
Contrasting culturally based presuppositions
about the purpose and nature of experimentation
may also lead to bias in measurement that under-
mines the validity of results. Greenfield (1997)
illustrates such a situation in describing the con-
trasting performance displayed by Zinacantecan
Mayan child weavers in a task assessing their abili-
ties to continue striped patterns. e children dis-
played great competence on this task when it was
presented in a familiar everyday form in which the
sticks were arrayed in a wooden frame and the chil-
dren were asked to continue the pattern with addi-
tional sticks. However, they failed at the task when
it was presented in the format of a multiple choice
procedure in which they were asked to select which
among three different possible patterns arrayed in
front of them correctly continued the pattern. eir
response to the multiple–choice format involved an
effort to construct something meaningful, such as
by pairing choices with each other to make some
kind of a larger pattern, rather than identifying
the one best response. As Greenfield (1997) sug-
gests, the issue is not only the children’s unfamil-
iarity with the multiple–choice format per se, but
also their adherence to the broader conversational
assumption that communication should serve a
functional purpose and their lack of understanding
that experimentation involves specialized norms in
which information is given solely for the purpose of
testing understanding, without regard to the prac-
tical relevance of this information.
Cultural Broadening of Constructs
Finally, to achieve fairness in the conclusions
drawn in research, it is important to attend to the
cultural inclusiveness and sensitivity of the con-
structs and theories being assessed. Even in cases
in which respondents are familiar with research
procedures and experience them in a way that is
congruent with local cultural norms, the research
may fail to capture the perspective of a particu-
lar cultural group because the constructs being
assessed embody culturally specific conceptual
assumptions.
is type of concern may be seen, for example,
in research that has called attention to the need
for cultural broadening of the meaning of paren-
tal control. In the dominant models of parenting
behavior, a distinction is drawn between “behav-
ioral control,” which involves the active guidance
and direction of behavior and that is assumed to
have adaptive consequences, particularly with
younger children, as compared with “psychological
control,” which involves the use of strategies such
as manipulation, guilt induction, and coercion and
that is assumed to have negat ive consequences at any
age (Barber, Olsen, & Shagle, 1994). Authoritative
parenting, which is based on behavioral control, is
seen as leading to close parent–child relationships
and is positively related to academic achievement
among European Americans, whereas authoritarian
parenting, which is based on psychological control,
is seen as leading to affectively distant parent-child
relationships and is negatively related to aca-
demic achievement among European Americans
(Baumrind, 1966, 1996; Conger, Conger, Elder,
Lorenz, Simons, & Whitbeck, 1992). However,
unexpected relationships have been observed when
parenting measures based on these distinctions
are employed among cultural groups other than
those on whom they were originally developed.
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
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24       
For example, authoritarian parenting has been
associated with positive academic performance
among Asian youth and observed to have no
associations with academic performance among
African-American youth (Dornbusch, Ritter,
Leiderman, Roberts, & Fraleigh, 1987). Research
has also shown that affective warmth tends to be
experienced in the case of Asian Americans whose
parenting is characterized as being authoritarian
(Chao, 1994; 1995).
ese unexpected findings appear to arise from
the same parenting behaviors having contrasting
affective meaning in different cultural communi-
ties. is was demonstrated in a study documenting
cultural variation in the affective associations made
to items from standard parenting scales—such as
the following item in the Child Report of Parenting
Behavior Inventory (CRPBI; Schaefer, 1965): “[my
mother or primary caregiver] says if I really cared
for her, I would not do things that cause her to
worry” (Mason, Walker-Barnes, Tu, Simons, &
Martinez-Arrue, 2004). All youth associated feel-
ings of being controlled and manipulated with this
“control through guilt” item and other similar items.
However, African Americans linked the item and
other similar items with greater feelings of being
loved or cared for than did European Americans.
Attention to the contrasting cultural meanings
accorded to parental control is important in ensur-
ing the validity of theoretical claims being made.
As Mason et al. (2004) point out, parenting that
researchers may have classified as authoritarian
according to distinctions made on conventional
parenting scale measures may actually be reflec-
tive among Asian Americans of a “training” style
of parenting. Also, it is unclear whether what is
presently scored as authoritarian among African
Americans actually is reflective of such an orien-
tation, given the positive affective meanings that
African Americans tend to associate with parental
control. Attention must also be given to local cul-
tural meanings in order to avoid any unintended
harm resulting from the real-world application of
psychological findings. For example, a parent edu-
cation program might inadvertently encourage par-
ents to behave in ways that may lead their children
to feel rejected or unloved or to make the parents
feel that their own parenting practices are being
disparaged unless the program and the research on
which it is based has taken into account the affec-
tive meanings linked with the parenting practices
being displayed in the specific cultural communi-
ties under consideration.
e need for cultural sensitivity in the constructs
underlying research and in associated measuring
instruments may also be seen in work on motivation
in the context of the tradition of self-determination
theory (SDT) (Deci & Ryan, 1985; 1987; 2002).
In the case of all scale measures developed to assess
self-determination (Self-determination theory,
n.d.), references to role expectations are included
only as either introjected or external scale items,
which are items designed to tap a noninternalized
and thus nonagentic stance. Work in the tradition
of self-determination theory acknowledges that
individuals may internalize social expectations as
fully in collectivist cultures as in individualistic
cultures (Chirkov, Ryan, Kim, & Kaplan, 2003).
However, this feature of the scale items means that
anyone who sees themselves as acting in response
to role expectations would invariably be scored as
lower in agency than someone who does not see his
or her behavior as responsive to role expectations,
since this is the only place on SDT scale measures
where social expectations are mentioned. Given
the greater emphasis placed on role expectations
in social attribution and moral reasoning in collec-
tivist than individualistic cultures, this may then
lead to the conclusion that collectivist populations
tend to be less agentic than individualistic cultural
populations (e.g., Bontempo, Lobel, & Triandis,
1990) or that individuals with collectivist cultural
backgrounds experience a type of agency that
does not involve a subjective sense of choice (e.g.,
Iyengar & Lepper, 1999; Markus & Kitayama,
2003). However, when effort is made to treat con-
ceptions of duty as potentially internalized motiva-
tional stances associated with a subjective sense of
choice, certain collectivist populations have been
found to score high in agency even when giving
greater overt emphasis to duty or obligation than
do Americans (Miller et al., 2011).
Conclusion
Taking cultural considerations into account in
research on human development is integral not
only to ensuring the ethics of research, but also to
ensuring its quality. Research, it has been seen, can
only be conducted in an ethically sensitive way by
incorporating local cultural practices and outlooks,
just as incorporating such practices and outlooks is
vital to ensuring the construct validity of the data
being collected and the theoretical significance of
the findings obtained. Systems of research eth-
ics, as formulated by IRBs, need to be treated in
a flexible way that recognizes that they have been
<i>Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture : An Interdisciplinary Perspective</i>, edited by Lene Arnett Jensen, Oxford University
Press, Incorporated, 2015. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1962354.
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, ,  25
formulated at particular historical points in time
from particular cultural viewpoints, with these
guidelines unable to anticipate all of the consider-
ations that must be taken into account to ensure
that any ethical standards being applied are cultur-
ally inclusive. As research on human development
comes increasingly to utilize new types of method-
ologies and to become increasingly international,
the types of ethical challenges that the field faces
will continue to change, with attention to culture a
key part of responding to such challenges.
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... : respect for the person, beneficence, and fairness and justice. These principles set standards for the ethical conduct of research, but they can serve as the foundation for practice as well (e.g., Berman et al., 2016;Guttman, 2017;Miller, Goyal, & Wice, 2015). ...
... Without such information, the ethics of research and practice are compromised. Miller et al. (2015) give an example of this. The Strange Situation, a procedure to assess the quality of a child's attachment to his or her caregivers, was developed based on child care assumptions of people primarily in Western lifestyle communities. ...
... Furthermore, change agents often misconstrue a child-rearing practice in another cultural setting because of prior commitments they have to a Western academic concept or theory. One such conceptual pitfall is the willingness of many social scientists to make an overly broad distinction between "Western" societies, deemed "individualist" in contrast to Asian (and sometimes all other) societies, thought of as "collectivist" (Miller et al., 2015). As Miller and her coauthors point out, such dichotomization obscures significant variation across class and ethnic groups in what is considered "individualist" or "collectivist" (see, for example, Kusserow, 2004 for a description of American "individualisms" across class, and Spiro, 1993 for a summary of variations in collectivism). ...
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This article explores ethical issues raised by parenting interventions implemented in communities in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) with rural, subsistence lifestyles. Many of these interventions foster “positive parenting practices” to improve children’s chances of fulfilling their developmental potential. The practices are derived from attachment theory and presented as the universal standard of good care. But attachment-based parenting is typical primarily of people living Western lifestyles and runs counter to the different ways many people with other lifestyles care for their children given what they want for them. Thus, such parenting interventions involve encouraging caregivers to change their practices and views, usually with little understanding of how such changes affect child, family, and community. This undermines researchers’ and practitioners’ ability to honor promises to uphold ethic codes of respect and beneficence. Support for this claim is provided by comparing positive parenting practices advocated by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF; with the world health organization [WHO]) Care for Child Development (CCD) intervention with parenting practices typical of communities with rural, subsistence lifestyles—the most common of lifestyles worldwide and largely observed in LMICs. As UNICEF has a considerable presence in these countries, the CCD intervention was selected as a case study. In addition, parenting interventions typically target people who are poor, and the issues this raises regarding ethics of fairness and justice are considered. Recommendations are made for ways change agents can be sensitive to the living conditions and worldviews of communities, and, thus, be appropriately effective and ethically sensitive to the diverse needs of different communities.
... The codes and standards vary somewhat with the mission of the institution, but most of them include a version of the core principles established in the Belmont Report (1978): respect for the person, beneficence, and fairness and justice. These principles set standards for the ethical conduct of research, but they can serve as the foundation for practice as well (e.g., Berman et al., 2016;Guttman, 2016;Miller, Goyal, & Wice, 2015). there is a greater benefit, whether on a physiological, psychological, or sociocultural level. ...
... Without such information, the ethics of research and practice are compromised. Miller et al. (2015) give an example of this. The Strange Situation, a procedure to assess the quality of a child's attachment to his or her caregivers, was developed based on childcare assumptions of people primarily in Western lifestyle communities. ...
... Furthermore, change agents often misconstrue a child rearing practice in another cultural setting because of prior commitments they have to a Western academic concept or theory. One such conceptual pitfall is the willingness of many social scientists to make an overly-broad distinction between "Western" societies, deemed "individualist" in contrast to Asian (and sometimes all other) societies, thought of as "collectivist" (Miller et al., 2015). As Miller and her co-authors point out, such dichotomization obscures significant variation across class and ethnic groups in what is considered "individualist" or "collectivist" (see, e.g., Kusserow, 2004 for a description of American "individualisms" across class; and Spiro, 1993 for a summary of variations in collectivism). ...
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This paper explores ethical issues raised by parenting interventions implemented in communities in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) with rural, subsistence lifestyles. Many of these interventions foster “positive parenting practices" to improve children’s chances of fulfilling their developmental potential. The practices are derived from attachment theory and presented as the universal standard of good care. But, attachment-based parenting is typical primarily of people living Western lifestyles and runs counter to the different ways many people with other lifestyles care for their children given what they want for them. Thus, such parenting interventions involve encouraging caregivers to change their practices and views, usually with little understanding of how such changes impact child, family, and community. This undermines researchers and practitioners ability to honor promises to uphold ethic codes of respect and beneficence. Support for this claim is provided by comparing positive parenting practices advocated by the UNICEF (with WHO) Care for Child Development (CCD) intervention with parenting practices typical of communities with rural, subsistence lifestyles – the most common of lifestyles worldwide and largely observed in LMICs. As UNICEF has a considerable presence in these countries, the CCD intervention was selected as a case study. In addition, parenting interventions typically target people who are poor, and the issues this raises regarding ethics of fairness and justice are considered. Recommendations are made for ways change agents can be sensitive to the living conditions and worldviews of communities, and, thus, appropriately effective and ethically sensitive to the diverse needs of different communities.
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This paper provides a roadmap for engaging in cross-cultural, developmental research in practical, ethical, and community-engaged ways. To cultivate the flexibility necessary for conducting cross-cultural research, we structure our roadmap as a series of questions that each research program might consider prior to embarking on cross-cultural examinations in developmental science. Within each topic, we focus on the challenges and opportunities inherent to different types of study designs, fieldwork, and collaborations because our collective experience in conducting research in multiple cultural contexts has taught us that there can be no single “best practice”. Here we identify the challenges that are unique to cross-cultural research as well as present a series of recommendations and guidelines. We also bring to the forefront ethical considerations which are rarely encountered in the laboratory context, but which researchers face daily while conducting research in a cultural context which one is not a member. As each research context requires unique solutions to these recurring challenges, we urge researchers to use this set of questions as a starting point, and to expand and tailor the questions and potential solutions with community members to support their own research design or cultural context. This will allow us to move the field towards more inclusive and ethical research practices.
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Erik Erikson introduced identity as a universal developmental task that provides the foundation for an individual’s general sense of well-being. Erikson’s (1968) theorizing about the self, however, was simultaneously about society—a psychosocial process. The contemporary identity literature privileges the “psycho” over the “social,” which limits our understanding of the role of identity processes in society more broadly. This article returns to Erikson’s concept of psychosocial relativity, which he used to define identity, in order to describe a transactional approach to examining identity processes, an approach wherein self and society are actively and jointly (re)constructed. The paper also provides examples of three approaches to transactional identity research from the existing literature and concludes with recommendations for how to further such scholarship. The thesis is that adopting a transactional approach extends the relevance of identity research and positions identity as a tangible lever that can shift who we are becoming in the direction of a more equitable and humane society.
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Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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Birth marks the beginning of the transition from external to internal self-regulation for infants. Acquiring regular sleep patterns, regulating crying and later, emotions are universal developmental tasks. Nevertheless, the values, beliefs, and parenting practices prevalent in different cultures both determine and mediate how these important self-regulatory tasks are accomplished. This article examines the impact that culture in general and immigration in particular can have on parental practices and beliefs, and the implications of a possible mismatch between the beliefs and practices of immigrant families and the developmental expectations of the host culture, particularly around infants' self-regulatory tasks. Implications for practitioners working with immigrant families and their infants are also considered.