A plea to demystify measurement equivalence › view all


BIGSSS Faculty member Klaus Boehnke invited for an essay in 'American Psychologist'

Last year, Klaus Boehnke, Professor of Social Science Methodology at Constructor University and faculty member of BIGSSS, has received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology for 2022 from the American Psychological Association (APA). See also our news from February 2, 2022.

Now the renowned journal American Psychologist has invited Klaus Boehnke to submit an article on a topic of his choice as part of the prize awarded to him. In this peer-reviewed paper he pleads for more fairness in comparative psychological studies. He sheds light on how uncritically transferring the procedures of the Western world to other regions in comparative cultural studies distorts reality.

According to Boehnke, Anglo-American methodology dominates quantitative psychology but fails to extensively acknowledge cultural differences: As an example, he quotes a cross-cultural questionnaire to measure paternal warmth. “There is of course a huge difference in how paternal warmth is shown in Scandinavia or in Zimbabwe,” said Boehnke. However, different forms of affection are not being extensively recognized when only using Western survey tools, which might consequently lead to the false assumption that an African father is less affectionate.

While there are standard procedures for applying psychological research tools in different cultural contexts, they appear insufficient. In his recently published essay “Let’s compare apples and oranges” the scientist presents a method meeting strict mathematical and statistical criteria, as well as recognizing cultural aspects and allowing comparison of the results in an intercultural context. “My aim is to better include non-Western cultures in our scientific tools,” Boehnke explained.

Find the full paper here: Boehnke, K. (2022). Let’s compare apples and oranges! A plea to demystify measurement equivalence. American Psychologist, 77(9), 1160–1168. https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0001080

Source: Constructor University, press release from January 19, 2023