Race Science and Racism in Psychology

Why: The support of racial hierarchies is a major aspect of the history of psychology particularly in regards to cognition and intelligence. Work that claims cognitive superiority and inferiority based on racial classification continues to this day. Counter active research has also been considerable. Below includes a small sample of work that catalogues racism in psychology,  offers strategies for countering racism and discusses how to consider race in behavioral science.


Buchanan, N. T., Perez, M., Prinstein, M. J., & Thurston, I. B. (2021). Upending racism in psychological science: Strategies to change how science is conducted, reported, reviewed, and disseminated. American Psychologist, 76(7), 1097–1112. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000905


Camacho, T. C., & Echelbarger, M. (2021). Decentering whiteness: Rethinking the instruction of undergraduate research methods within developmental science. Infant and Child Development. https://doi.org/10.1002/icd.2272


Cardenas-Iniguez, C., & Gonzalez, M. R. (2023). “We controlled for race and ethnicity…” Considerations for the use and communication of race and ethnicity in neuroimaging research. Preprint posted online June 27, 2023. doi:

10.31234/osf.io/xs8t  Crossref


Cikara, M., Martinez, J. E., & Lewis, N. A. (2022). Moving beyond social categories by incorporating context in social psychological theory. Nature Reviews Psychology, 1(9), 537–549. https://doi.org/10.1038/s44159-022-00079-3


Clancy, K. B. H., & Davis, J. L. (2019). Soylent Is People, and WEIRD Is White: Biological Anthropology, Whiteness, and the Limits of the WEIRD. Annual Review of Anthropology, 48(1), 169–186. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-102218-011133


Dupree, C. H., & Kraus, M. W. (2022). Psychological Science Is Not Race Neutral. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(1), 270-275. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691620979820

Gravlee, C. C. (2009). How race becomes biology: Embodiment of social inequality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 139(1), 47–57. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20983


Hochman, A. (2017). Replacing Race: Interactive Constructionism about Racialized Groups. Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy, 4(20201214). https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.12405314.0004.003


Kaiser Trujillo, A., Kessé, E. N., Rollins, O., Della Sala, S., & Cubelli, R. (2022). A discussion on the notion of race in cognitive neuroscience research. Cortex, 150, 153–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.11.007


Martinez, J. E., & Paluck, E. L. (2020). Analytic racecraft: Race-based averages create illusory group differences in perceptions of racism [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/kfpjg


Morning, A. (2007). “Everyone Knows It’s a Social Construct”: Contemporary Science and the Nature of Race. Sociological Focus, 40(4), 436–454. https://doi.org/10.1080/00380237.2007.10571319


Roberts, D. E., & Rollins, O. (2020). Why Sociology Matters to Race and Biosocial Science. Annual Review of Sociology, 46(1), 195–214. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-121919-054903


Roberts, S. O., Bareket-Shavit, C., Dollins, F. A., Goldie, P. D., & Mortenson, E. (2020). Racial Inequality in Psychological Research: Trends of the Past and Recommendations for the Future. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(6), 1295–1309. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691620927709


Roberts, S. O., & Mortenson, E. (2022). Challenging the White = Neutral Framework in Psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 174569162210771. https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916221077117

Saini, Angela. (2019). Superior: The return of race science.


Syed, M. (2021). Reproducibility, Diversity, and the Crisis of Inference in Psychology [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/89buj


Syed, M., & Ajayi, A. A. (2018). Promises and Pitfalls in the Integration of Intersectionality with Development Science: Promises and Pitfalls in the Integration of Intersectionality. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2018(161), 109–117. https://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20250

Syed, M., Santos, C., Yoo, H. C., & Juang, L. P. (2018). Invisibility of racial/ethnic minorities in developmental science: Implications for research and institutional practices. The American psychologist, 73(6), 812–826. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000294

Thomas, A. K., McKinney De Royston, M., & Powell, S. (2023). Color-Evasive Cognition: The Unavoidable Impact of Scientific Racism in the Founding of a Field. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 32(2), 137–144. https://doi.org/10.1177/09637214221141713

Auguste, E., Nobles, W., & Rowe, D. (2021, November 21). Why the APA’s apology for promoting white supremacy falls short. NBC News.


Winston, A. S. (2020). Why mainstream research will not end scientific racism in psychology. Theory & Psychology, 30(3), 425–430. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354320925176

Zuberi, T., & Bonilla-Silva, E. (2008). White logic, white methods: Racism and Methodology.