Diversifying Participation: The Rarity of Reporting Racial Demographics in Neuroimaging Research
Researcher ORCID Identifier
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Background: Functional neuroimaging techniques have been instrumental to progress in the cognitive and behavioral sciences; however, their increasing prevalence has evoked conversations concerning limitations associated with reproducibility and bias (Gilmore et al., 2017). While the literature has explored several mechanisms driving issues of replicability, few discussions have considered the effects of confounding social and environmental variables such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, and race (Sauce & Matzel, 2013). The prevailing racial, cultural, and socioeconomic bias in scientific research and the methodological limitations of EEG perpetuate racial and ethnic homogeneity in participation, eliciting qualms regarding the generalizability of findings (Henrich et al., 2010). Thus, across-study differences in participant racial demographics and racial homogeneity may contribute to replicability and generalizability issues, driving inaccurate representations of neurological normalcy.
Methods: A systematic search and subsequent exploratory analysis were used to evaluate the current practices surrounding the transparency and diversity of participation in the field.
Results: The systematic search demonstrated a dearth in the reporting of race and ethnicity demographics of participants in cognitive neuroscience research, as less than five percent of the papers identified documented such information. The exploratory analysis further investigated this trend with respect to EEG research, ultimately supporting the findings of the systematic search and offering future directions for the field of EEG research. Small sample sizes limited analyses with respect to participant diversity and sampling bias.
Conclusions: Moving forward, the field of cognitive neuroscience should aim to increase transparency surrounding research participation and strive for more diverse cohorts. Reporting guidelines and progressive solutions to prejudicial technology will support such directions.
Goldfarb, Madeline, "Diversifying Participation: The Rarity of Reporting Racial Demographics in Neuroimaging Research" (2021). Pitzer Senior Theses. 118.