Research Directions of Black Psychologists

Research Directions of Black Psychologists

A. Wade Boykin
Anderson J. Franklin
J. Frank Yates
Copyright Date: 1979
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 464
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610440776
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  • Book Info
    Research Directions of Black Psychologists
    Book Description:

    Focusing on issues of particular importance to black people, and confronting the rich variety and the complexity of the black experience, the many contributors demonstrate the broad diversity of research interests and strategies among black psychologists, from the traditional to the innovative. Topics covered include studies of motivation, cognitive development, life-span development, and cultural difference versus deficit theories. Many of the studies directly refute previous conceptions of the psychological functioning of blacks and offer alternative models and formulations.

    This book is the first to present soundly designed and executed research that is emphatically linked to the perspectives and the psychological concerns of black Americans. In designing these studies, the authors aimed to ameliorate the pressing educational and social problems of blacks through a better understanding of their life conditions.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-077-6
    Subjects: Psychology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. viii-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    A.W.B., A.J.F. and J.F.Y.
  6. PART I Introduction
    • 1 Work Notes on Empirical Research in Black Psychology
      (pp. 3-20)
      A. Wade Boykin, Anderson J. Franklin and J. Frank Yates

      This chapter examines the extent and the nature of the current participation by Black psychologists in the empirical research enterprise. Prior to this decade, programs of empirical research implemented by Black psychologists were extremely rare. Only in the past six years have Black psychologists organized conferences exclusively devoted to the presentation and discussion of empirical research. In recent years the number of Black researchers has grown steadily but not dramatically. There is still nowhere near a critical mass. When we consider how recent is the influx of Black psychologists into the research field and how few their number, it becomes...

  7. PART II Methodology
    • 2 An Approach to Characterizing Parent-Infant Interactions
      (pp. 23-32)
      Ewart A. C. Thomas

      An interest in the nature of parent-infant interactions, and in the mechanisms that might underlie such interactions, can arise for many reasons. First, one might be interested in the appearance of certain critical behaviors—for example, aggressive behaviors—during a bout of interactive behavior. Identifying which behaviors of one person generally precede aggressive behaviors of the other is a necessary first step in some intervention programs designed to modify the critical behaviors (e.g., Patterson 1974). Second, one might start from the position that the nature of these interactions influences the future development and performance of the infant. Studies deriving from...

    • 3 Crosscultural Methods for Survey Research in Black Urban Areas
      (pp. 33-46)
      Carl O. Word

      Kenneth Clark (1965) is credited with first focusing attention on problems associated with survey research conducted on Black respondents. So little attention is typically paid to pretesting questions for use with Black populations that the results of such surveys are scientifically unsound and probably misleading. Questions are seldom derived from cognitive categories utilized by and meaningful to respondents, but instead they represent university and research center concepts. Further, as Cedric X (Clark) points out, the very act of conceptualizing a problem under investigation introduces a systematic error to the questions when the researchers are not themselves immersed in the culture...

    • 4 Bias and Discriminability in Group Performance
      (pp. 47-56)
      Ewart A. C. Thomas and Lillian Patterson

      The notions of bias and discriminability have provided a useful way of describing two independent aspects of a single person’s performance on tasks requiring the processing of stimulus information.Biasrefers to the tendency to make responses disproportionately often in one region of a response scale, anddiscriminability(sometimes labeledsensitivity) refers to the ability to discriminate among possible stimuli. This latter ability usually corresponds to a measure of accuracy when there is no response bias. Not only are these notions applied to persons (performing on tasks), but also they apply equally well to tasks (on which persons perform). Thus,...

    • 5 Scale Construction in the Assessment of Sex-Role Stereotypes among Minorities
      (pp. 57-84)
      O. Jackson Cole

      Numerous researchers have documented the existence of pervasive sex-role stereotypes—that is, consensual attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about the dispositions and typical behaviors supposedly characteristic of males and females in our society (Anastasi and Foley 1949; Fernberger 1948; Komarovsky 1950; Kagan 1964; McKee and Sherriffs 1957; Sherriffs and McKee 1957). The usual procedure whereby the existence of sex-role stereotypes was demonstrated in these earlier studies simply was to require male and female subjects to select from a list of traits those they thought characteristic of men and those they thought characteristic of women (e.g., Sherriffs and McKee 1957). Under this...

    • 6 Black Psychology and the Research Process: Keeping the Baby but Throwing out the Bath Water
      (pp. 85-104)
      A. Wade Boykin

      Basic empirical research on the psychological affairs of Afro-Americans has surely been a misunderstood phenomenon. For all too many years “traditional” research in this regard has incorrectly posited that truth is inherent in the data per se. The research process regardless of problem areas is a sacred mode for gathering information, making inferences, and arriving at decisions (Braginsky and Braginsky 1974). When “truth” is not obtained, it is said that the fault lies, more or less exclusively, with poor theory, insensitive measuring instruments and devices, and improper operationalizations (Lachenmeyer 1973).

      In the past decade a large and effective chorus of...

  8. PART III Identity and Adjustment
    • 7 The Negro-to-Black Conversion Experience: An Empirical Analysis
      (pp. 107-130)
      William E. Cross Jr.

      Hall, Cross, and Freedle (1972) have suggested that the empirical and nonscientific literature on Black identity change that has occurred within the contemporary Black movement is dominated by two analytic perspectives: nonprocess and process. The non process literature seeks to develop sociological, political, and psychological profiles of the “average” Black militant, generally as juxtaposed with a conception of the average non-militant. The works of Caplan (1970), Marx (1967), Tomlinson (1970), Dizard (1970), Hahn (1970), Edwards (1970), Sowell (1972), and Kilson (1973) are examples of the profile analysis of nonprocess approach. The process orientation—as reflected in the works of Gerlach...

    • 8 Correlates of Adjustment in Urban Black Aged
      (pp. 131-145)
      James S. Jackson, John D. Bacon and John Peterson

      Much of the prior research in social gerontology has focused upon the variables related to reported adjustment or life satisfaction during the aging period (Adams 1971). In a review of the literature in this area, however, the lack of empirical research conducted in Black aged populations is immediately evident (Jackson 1967, 1971). The available literature on the Black aged is characterized by an emphasis on research needs (Jackson 1971), a delineation of priority areas (Kent 1971), or a description of the plight of aged Blacks (National Urban League 1964). For the most part, prior research on the social and psychological...

    • 9 Sharing in Black Children: The Impact of Reference Group Appeals and Other Environmental Factors
      (pp. 146-161)
      Sandra A. Sims

      The major purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the importance of reference group appeals in facilitating sharing among Black children. Specifically, the reference group appeal stresses the importance of sharing with “brothers” and “sisters” in an extended family of Black people. Other environmental factors are also considered, including an examination of how children’s sharing is affected by their observation of sharing models, inductive techniques that focus on the implications of the child’s behavior for others, and the amount of resources the child has to share.

      Previous research has rarely examined group effects on children’s willingness to share with others....

    • 10 External Feedback, Self-Evaluation, and Performance of Black and White College Students
      (pp. 162-187)
      Oscar Barbarin

      Attempts to delineate the adverse effect of racism and social systems on the behavior of Blacks and other Third World peoples frequently focus on self-evaluation, usually under the rubric of self-identity, self-concept, or self-esteem. Much of the thinking in this area is influenced by the early work of Clark and Clark (1939), which suggests that real differences exist between Blacks and Whites in self-acceptance as a consequence of the different value ascribed to them by dominant social systems. In response to this negative feedback, Blacks tend to develop a less than adequate level of self-esteem than do Whites. More questions...

    • 11 Patterns of Coping in Black Schoolchildren
      (pp. 188-210)
      Diane S. Pollard

      During the last two decades a great deal of research has been generated concerning Black children’s performance in school. Much of this research has emphasized the difficulties Black children have encountered in successfully adjusting to the school situation and has endeavored to determine the reasons behind their failure. One result of previous research has been a variety of often conflicting explanations of why Black children continue to perform poorly in the school setting.

      In this report two studies are described that attempt to delineate the factors underlying successful coping strategies in Black elementary school-children. The major purpose of this research...

  9. PART IV Cognitive Abilities
    • 12 Locus of Control and Problem-Solving Abilities in Young Black Children: An Exploratory Analysis
      (pp. 213-228)
      Algea Othella Harrison

      The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between locus of control and aspects of problem-solving abilities in young Black children. The locus-of-control (LOC) construct is an integral part of social learning theory (Rotter 1966) and refers to the degree to which people believe they exercise control over their lives. A person who perceives events as being under his own control or as the consequences of his own actions is viewed as internal; whereas one who perceives events as being beyond his control, unrelated to his own behavior, or largely determined by luck, fate, and/or powerful others is...

    • 13 Cultural Content of Materials and Ethnic Group Performance in Categorized Recall
      (pp. 229-240)
      Anderson J. Franklin and Lenora Fulani

      In the study of memory, free recall has become a popular measure of mnemonic ability and cognitive development (Appel et al. 1972). An attractive feature of this free recall procedure is that it allows the individual to employ his own strategy for remembering words presented randomly. If the list consists of recognizable categories or of other bases for intra-list organization, the subject is free to employ clustering as a recall strategy. Taxonomic classification into “conceptual categories” is widely considered to be both a facilitator of memory and a measure of higher-order cognitive abilities (Tulving and Donaldson 1972). A great deal...

    • 14 Recall and Memory Organization from Variations in List Content: A Test of the Culture-Specific Hypothesis
      (pp. 241-252)
      Anderson J. Franklin

      Since Bousfield’s (1953) study of memory in free recall, researchers in this area have sought to investigate the dimensions of memory organization. Mandler (1970) and Bower (1972) have been leading proponents in postulating an organizational theory of free recall performance. The substance of this theory has its roots in the tenets of gestalt psychology which emphasize the importance of the principles of organization or, specifically, the laws of perceptual grouping. One assumption in organizational theory is that the manner of organization imposed upon a list is contingent upon the subject’s perception of the structure of the list. Moreover, it is...

    • 15 Story Recall in Young Black and White Children: Effects of Racial Group Membership, Race of Experimenter, and Dialect
      (pp. 253-265)
      William S. Hall, Stephen Reder and Michael Cole

      A great deal of research in the past decade has been devoted to an evaluation of the significance of dialect differences for educational performance of Black and White schoolchildren. Two general questions, neither of them definitively resolved, have dominated inquiry in this area. First, what is the linguistic status of “Black English”? Is it a degraded version of Standard English or an autonomous linguistic system? Despite a great deal of disagreement about specifics, the bulk of scholarly evidence suggests that Black English is a separate system, historically connected to Standard English, but possessing distinct phonological and grammatical forms (cf. Baratz...

    • 16 Relationship between Cognitive Style and Selective Attention in Black Children
      (pp. 266-274)
      Algea Othella Harrison

      Cognitive style was defined as the stable characteristic manner the individual displays in perceptually organizing and categorizing the external environment (Kagan, Moss, and Sigel 1963). Aspects of cognitive style that have been distinguished as relevant to the description of cognitive activity were the reflection-impulsivity dimension in hypothesis selection and an analytic/nonanalytic style in the analysis of visual stimuli (Kagan, Moss, and Sigel 1963). The present study examined the relationship between reflection-impulsivity, analytic/nonanalytic style, and selective attention.

      The primary operational index of the reflection-impulsivity dimension is latency of first response in complex visual discrimination tasks in which a standard stimulus and...

  10. PART V Motivational Issues
    • 17 Occupational Expectations and Dropout Propensity in Urban Black High School Students
      (pp. 277-293)
      M. Belinda Tucker, James S. Jackson and Ronald M. Jennings

      The quality of public education in urban areas has steadily declined over the past several decades (Stein 1971). Not only are inner city schools burdened with antiquated physical plants and equipment, but they also lack the specialized educational facilities available to newer and wealthier suburban localities (Clark 1970; Sexton 1961). In addition, public school educators generally prefer the amenities found in better-financed systems. Consequently, inner city schools are characterized by low morale and high turnover rates, particularly among teachers, which necessitate frequent replacements—often with young, inexperienced, and insufficiently trained teachers (Ashmore and McConahay 1975; Clark 1970; Stein 1971).

      Further...

    • 18 Toward a Reconceptualization of the Social-Cognitive Bases of Achievement Orientations in Blacks
      (pp. 294-311)
      W. Curtis Banks, Gregory V. McQuater and Janet L. Hubbard

      The search for the important psychological antecedents of divergent patterns of achievement in Whites and Blacks has given rise to a plethora of literature on that topic over the past several years. The conceptual thrust of the research conducted so far may be characterized as falling largely into either of two (admittedly global and arbitrary) camps. On one hand, much energy has been devoted to uncovering the dispositional causes of poor achievement in Black persons. In this regard, empirical evidence has been accumulated on the motivational (e.g., Mech 1972; Minigione 1965; Mussen 1953), intellectual (e.g., Deutsch and Brown 1964; Jones...

    • 19 Scholastic Motivation among Urban High School Students: An Expectancy Analysis
      (pp. 312-326)
      J. Frank Yates and Ozzie L. Edwards

      What sorts of things lead one student to engross himself in schoolwork while other students adopt a more casual approach to their studies? What kinds of action can a teacher or a parent take to get an uninterested student to work vigorously in his academic endeavors? These are questions that consume the attention of many people today—psychologists interested in understanding fundamental human behavior, as well as school officials and parents with more personal investment in the problems.

      The present research was intended to contribute at least partial answers to these questions. That is, we attempted to identify factors that...

    • 20 Self-Confidence and Motivation among Black and White College Freshmen: An Exploration
      (pp. 327-339)
      J. Frank Yates and William Collins

      Yates and Mayers (1973) asked university students to estimate their chances of winning or being judged superior on a variety of competitions and personal abilities vis-à-vis typical classmates. White students were asked to make their judgments with their (presumably) White classmates as the reference standard. Black students were to make their judgments relative to their Black classmates. All students were to compare themselves with those of the same sex. Both groups of students generally expressed high estimates of their chances of favorable outcomes—regardless of the skill or the personal quality in question. It also appeared that the Black students...

    • 21 Relationship of Internal-External Locus of Control, Self-Concept, and Masculinity-Femininity to Fear of Success in Black Freshmen and Senior College Women
      (pp. 340-350)
      James E. Savage Jr., Anita D. Stearns, Yvonne B. Kelley and Janet Williams

      The motive to avoid success, or what is commonly known as the fear of success (FOS), is a concept originally postulated and operationalized by Horner (1972a). When she presented verbal cues depicting achievement situations to White male and female undergraduate students, she found that a greater incidence of fear of success imagery occurred in female as opposed to male subjects. Eight of eighty-eight men as compared with fifty-nine of ninety women expressed fear of success imagery. Horner attributed this sex difference to the belief by many women that success in competitive situations (especially with men) will lead to such negative...

    • 22 Psychological/Behavioral Verve: Some Theoretical Explorations and Empirical Manifestations
      (pp. 351-368)
      A. Wade Boykin

      In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that the presuppositions, perspectives, and cultural biases of the social science researcher are inextricably tied to the research process in almost every phase. They influence (l) the kinds of problems one chooses to work on, (2) the kinds of questions one decides to ask, (3) the hypotheses one formulates, (4) the operationalization of the independent and dependent variables, (5) the way one observes the phenomena under scrutiny, (6) the inferences one draws from the data, and (7) the applications and implications of one’s findings. Clearly, it is quite well documented that the...

  11. PART VI Problems for Future Research
    • 23 The Military’s Coping Patterns with Problems of Race
      (pp. 371-379)
      Herman W. Dorsett

      Many psychologists have been slowly shifting their interests from one-to-one forms of intervention to group (small and large) methods of intervention. The emergence of community mental health, organization development, and community psychology attests to the changes in professional orientation of a number of mental health practitioners and theoreticians. Moreover, descriptions of macrosystem change efforts are not uncommon in the literature of the behavioral sciences today (e.g., Klein 1968; Hornstein et al. 1971; Golann and Eisdorfer 1972; Zax and Specter 1974).Readings in Minority Group Relations(Ford 1976) and “Cultural Influences on Organizational Behavior” (Ford 1978) have recently addressed specifically some...

    • 24 Hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus: A Challenge for Black Behavioral Scientists
      (pp. 380-389)
      William B. Lawson

      A low life expectancy is one way of demonstrating the continuing crisis of health care among Black people. The persistence of this phenomenon is illustrated in Table 24.1. Note that for Black men life expectancy is far below retirement age and has had a very slow growth rate. Although direct social factors, such as homicide, contribute to the low life expectancy of Black people, especially Black men, it is clear nevertheless that recent gains in medical science and health care delivery have done little to close the gap between Blacks and Whites in quality of health.

      Hypertension and diabetes mellitus...

    • 25 Conceptual and Strategic Issues in the Relationship of Black Psychology to American Social Science
      (pp. 390-432)
      James M. Jones

      One of the remarkable developments of the first three-quarters of twentieth-century America has been the burgeoning of social science. The Federal government spends billions of dollars for social science research under the varied auspices of the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and numerous departments and agencies like the Office of Education, the National Institute of Education, and the Defense Department. It appears that every major policy stance or legislative decision is buttressed by some piece of “evidence” from social science research. If we add the substantial allocations of private foundations to the enormous expenditures of the...

  12. Index
    (pp. 433-440)