Towards a more inclusive and equitable developmental cognitive neuroscience

Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2021 Dec;52:101014. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101014. Epub 2021 Sep 20.


Brain and cognitive development is a burgeoning area of scientific inquiry, with tremendous potential to better the lives of children. Large scale longitudinal neuroimaging studies offer opportunities for significant scientific advances in our understanding of developing brain structure and function. The proposed manuscript will focus on the scientific potential of the HEALthy Brain and Cognitive Development (HBCD) Study, highlighting what questions these data can and what they cannot answer about child development. Specifically, we caution against the misuse of these data for advancing de-contextualized and scientifically questionable narratives about the development of children from marginalized communities. We will focus on building and organizing a framework for interpreting HBCD data through the lens of sampling, cultural context, measurement, and developmental science theory. Our goal is to thoughtfully offer the scientific community opportunities to use the large scale and collaborative nature of HBCD to collectively revise practices in developmental science that to-date have not carefully considered their own role in perpetuating narratives that support systemic injustice.

Keywords: Bias; Brain; Child development; Cultural context; HBCD; Social justice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Neuroscience*
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging