Implications of research staff demographics for psychological science

Serena Does*, Naomi Ellemers, John F. Dovidio, Jasmine B. Norman, Avital Mentovich, Romy van der Lee, Phillip Atiba Goff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Long-standing research traditions in psychology have established the fundamental impact of social categories, such as race and gender, on people's perceptions of themselves and others, as well as on the general human cognition and behavior. However, there is a general tendency to ignore research staff demographics (e.g., researchers' race and gender) in research development and research reports. Variation in research staff demographics can exert systematic and scientifically informative influences on results from psychological research. Consequently, research staff demographics need to be considered, studied, and/or reported, along with how these demographics were allowed to vary across participants or conditions (e.g., random assignment, matched with participant demographics, or included as a factor in the experimental design). In addition to providing an overview of multidisciplinary evidence of research staff demographics effects, we discuss how research staff demographics might influence research findings through (a) ingroup versus outgroup effects, (b) stereotype and (implicit) bias effects, and (c) priming and social tuning effects. Finally, an overview of recommended considerations is included (see the Appendix) to help illustrate how to systematically incorporate relevant research staff demographics in psychological science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-650
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Demographics
  • Experimenter effects
  • Generalizability
  • Intergroup processes
  • Validity


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