Call for Papers: Exploration of Human Cognitive Universals and Human Cognitive Diversity

Letters of Intent & Abstracts are due November 1, 2020.
Papers are due April 1, 2021. 

Guest Editors:
Dana Basnight-Brown, 
United States International University-Africa, Kenya
Jennifer Clegg, Texas State University, USA
Steve Janssen, University of Nottingham Malaysia, Malaysia

Memory & Cognition is seeking submissions for a special issue or section featuring studies that present data from underrepresented populations. We are looking for empirical studies in human cognition in which the participants are drawn from populations that are underrepresented in the cognitive psychology literature. One of the primary goals of this Special Issue is to highlight cross-cultural cognitive research and to interrogate the ideas of human cognitive universals and human cognitive diversity. 

All research questions in the realm of cognitive psychology are appropriate, including (1) testing the generalizability of a memory and cognition phenomenon in a population that is underrepresented in the literature, in which it has not been tested before, and when there is good theoretical or practical reason for testing generalizability, (2) testing a novel research question that uses a sample that happens to be drawn from an underrepresented population, or (3) testing a research question that is directly about the underrepresented population. Examples of potential participant populations include but are not limited to: people living in non-WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic; Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010) cultures or other geographic locations not well-represented in the cognitive psychological literature, or people whose race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status is underrepresented in typical samples. 

We recognize that research using non-tradition samples have often included a young adult WEIRD comparison group. If inclusion of this group is necessary for the hypotheses under investigation, then we welcome it. However, inclusion of this comparison group is not necessary for high quality work.

As always, we will evaluate all submissions according to the standards reflected in our policies. All submissions will be subjected to the standard peer review process in place at M&C. We recognize that recruiting participants from underrepresented populations often presents unique practical challenges. We are open to multiple approaches to tackling these challenges, including the use of online platforms, archival data, and pre-existing datasets to achieve statistical power/precision. 

Online platforms, for example, are appropriate when the design and methods most suited to the research question are amenable to online assessment or implementation, but should be avoided when such approaches require making substantial compromises to validity. Another approach is to use more intensive methods. This is appropriate when statistical power/precision can be achieved using these methods, or when a strong case can be made for publishing studies that provide only weak evidence presented in a calibrated way (e.g., for very important research questions for which strong evidence can only realistically be accumulated across multiple publications). The more that studies can achieve all of these goals (statistical power/precision, valid methods, calibration of claims to the evidence, etc.) the better, and to the extent that compromises must be made, these decisions should be explained and reported transparently.

Submission Deadline
Letters of Intent and Abstracts are due November 1, 2020. Submit LOIs and Abstracts to the Co-Editors at

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for suitability for this Special Issue. We welcome abstracts that include information about the hypotheses, sample, and methodology, and ask that abstracts are no longer than 500 words. Abstract acceptance does not guarantee manuscript acceptance.

Papers are due April 1, 2021. Submission guidelines are here. Authors should select the Special Issue/Invited Manuscript type when submitting papers.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted research output. If you are interested in contributing to this Special Issue but require additional time, please contact the Guest Editors.

Questions? Email the Guest Editors:
Dana Basnight-BrownUnited States International University-Africa, Kenya
Jennifer Clegg, Texas State University, USA
Steve JanssenUniversity of Nottingham Malaysia, Malaysi