Cultural Awareness Needed in Studies

COLUMBIA, Mo., May 14 (UPI) — Psychological research based on U.S. samples may have cultural blind spots, a doctoral student suggests.

Reid Trotter of the University of Missouri says the vast majority of published U.S. psychological research is based on American samples and excludes 95 percent of the world’s population. However, the researcher is generalized and taken as universal, Trotter says.


Trotter says he has tried to broaden his research on perfectionism by developing a cross cultural relationship with Hsiao-Pei Chang — a doctoral student in Taiwan.

The two scholars used technology — especially Skype — to communicate. Chang sent data collected onsite in Taiwan to Trotter, participated in Trotter’s dissertation defense meeting and contributed other feedback — all via Skype.

“My collaboration with Chang helped me illuminate cultural differences and understand the intersection of culture and psychology,” Trotter says in a statement. “I found that perfectionism means different things to different cultures. This study strongly suggests that perfectionism models are not universal.”

Trotter is scheduled to present his findings at the American Psychological Association Conference in August.

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