Recent research in cultural psychology suggests that therapists in the United States overemphasize culture when explaining the behavior of racial and ethnic minorities. There is recent evidence showing the existence of what is called the “cultural (mis)attribution bias.” This is the belief that American therapists place more emphasis on culture for racial and ethnic minority groups. Two recent studies found that psychologists in the United States place greater emphasis on culture to explain the personality and cognition of minorities compared whites. These research findings further support the existence of the cultural (mis)attribution bias in American psychology. Knowing that current research supports the presence of the cultural mis(attribution) bias, how can this affect a client seeking therapy? In this regard, knowing that the cultural mis(attribution) bias exists can help both clients and therapists to take part in more meaningful conversations about the importance of culture in one’s identity. Speaking openly about culture can help to personalize one’s treatment, therefore making therapy more valuable for clients.
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Author: Paige Martin, M.A.
Causadias, J. M., Vitriol, J. A., & Atkin, A. L. (2018). Do we overemphasize the role of culture in the behavior of racial/ethnic minorities? Evidence of a cultural (mis) attribution bias in American psychology.