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Presidential Column

Diversity Makes Better Science

When diverse perspectives shape research, everyone wins, say Douglas L. Medin and Carol D. Lee. ... More>

A New Way to Study Clinical Psychological Science

Founding Editor Alan E. Kazdin wants APS’s newest journal, Clinical Psychological Science (CPS), to be a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, international publication that draws from a variety of fields and methods. “It’s not that we want diversity for diversity’s sake,” Kazdin says. “We want to solve problems, and that’s what requires the diversity.” ... More>

Study of the Day: ‘Diversity’ Has Become a Useless Concept

The Ever-Expanding Definition of “Diversity”

Diversity has become a goal for all sorts of institutions—but what it means may depend on who you ask. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people’s ideologies help determine what they count as “diverse.” Miguel Unzueta, the study’s lead author, notes that “diversity” historically meant inclusiveness toward historically disadvantaged groups. Now, however, the term is commonly used to refer to people who are different in any way (even personality traits and food preferences)—and that, Dr. Unzueta argues, may be making the concept useless. Dr. Unzueta saw this play out first hand at the universities he was part of and the organizations he studied. “It seemed like everyone was very comfortable talking about diversity, but not really race and gender,” says Unzueta, of the Anderson School of Management and University of California, Los Angeles, who co-wrote the paper with Eric Knowles of the University of California, Irvine, and Geoffrey Ho of UCLA. “The problem is, we could all be talking about diversity and we could all mean different things. It's a very abstract, euphemistic catch-all.” ... More>

Majority Groups Support Assimilation—Except When They’re Not Majorities

We generally think that views about how to integrate a diverse society depend on people’s positions in that society—that is, whether they’re in the racial, religious, or cultural majority or a member of a minority. In the U.S., “people tend to believe that blacks prefer pluralism and whites prefer assimilation,” says University of Delaware psychologist Eric Hehman. Assimilation asks minorities—whether newly arrived or historically rooted—to drop their cultural identities and adopt the ways of the majority. Pluralism recognizes and even celebrates minority cultures, which live cooperatively within the majority culture. Now a study by Hehman—along with University of Delaware colleagues Samuel L. Gaertner and David C. Wilson; John F. Dovidio of Yale University; Eric W. Mania of Quinsigamond Community College; Rita Guerra of Lisbon University Institute; and Brian M. Friel of Delaware State University—suggests that our views are more fluid and contextual than that. “The role the group occupies in a particular environment influences its preferences,” says Hehman. The study appears in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science.... More>