Envisioning a Culturally Imaginative
Ronnel B. King
Dennis M. McInerney
Riddhi J. Pitliya
Published online: 28 May 2018
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract Culture has mostly been neglected in mainstream educational psychology research.
In this paper, we argued for the need to cultivate a cultural imagination and provided seven key
recommendations for conducting culturally imaginative research. We explained how these
recommendations could prove useful in avoiding the two types of errors that trap cross-
cultural researchers. The first type is the cultural attribution error which pertains to attributing
any observed difference to culture even if culture is not the relevant factor. The second type is
the cultural blind spot error which pertains to the failure to see how culture influences psycho-
educational processes and outcomes. We proffered seven recommendations to avoid these twin
pitfalls. We reviewed the papers published from 2006 to 2016 in four flagship educational
psychology journals including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educa-
tional Psychology, Cognition and Instruction,andBritish Journal of Educational Psychology.
Our review focused on how educational psychologists have studied culture over the past decade
and how the published studies aligned with our seven recommendations. The content analysis
indicated that only a small percentage of the articles dealt with culture, most of the studies drew
on Western samples, and that almost all studies relied on an etic approach with very few studies
using an emic bottom-up perspective. We ended with a justification for why a culturally
imaginative educational psychology is urgently needed in an increasingly diverse world.
Cross-cultural educational psychology
Educ Psychol Rev (2018) 30:1031–1065
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-018-
9440-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Ronnel B. King
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, Hong
Australian Catholic University, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong