About this Research Topic
For decades, researchers have used neuroscience methods to investigate human cognition, and the neural mechanisms underlying neurological disease and disorders. The vast majority of this work has under-sampled and/or not considered the demographic variables including gender, race, socioeconomic status, culture, and adversity that undoubtedly influence the neural and behavioral results and consequently, their generalizability to the broader population. Emerging results from developmental and clinical neuroscience show that these variables make major contributions to inter-individual differences in brain structure, function, cognition, behavior, risk and impact of neurodegenerative disease. The lack of similar consideration of the impact of these factors in the vast majority of cognitive neuroscience research is highly problematic, in part, because this work has been assumed to represent the “normal” adult population.
There are several objectives of this Research Topic: 1) provide an opportunity for an open discussion about the lack of diverse representation in existing human neuroscience data; 2) use emerging data to highlight the potential impact of gender, race, socioeconomic status, culture, and adversity on human neuroscience research; 2) discuss goals and strategies that neuroscientists can implement going forward to enhance the inclusion of diversity factors in their research.
The NIH requires clinical researchers to report gender, race, and ethnicity statistics of subjects to ensure inclusion of underrepresented groups. Nonetheless, these groups remain hugely underrepresented in neuroscience research. Given the recent broadening of the NIH definition of clinical research, it seems more timely than ever to discuss the manner in which we consider diversity of our research subjects and its influence on our research outcomes.
Neuroscientists are becoming more diverse and perhaps related to this change, the interest in the impact of demographic variables on research outcomes across sub disciplines (i.e. human, animal models, etc.) is growing. This Research Topic should be broadly appealing both for its diversity theme and its diverse editorial panel.
Keywords: Aging, cognition, development, neuroimaging, diversity, individual differences
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