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Cultural Bias in Psychological Testing

  1. Janet E. Helms

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0244

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Helms, J. E. 2010. Cultural Bias in Psychological Testing. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Boston College

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Cultural bias has no a priori definition. Instead, its presence is inferred from differential performance of socioracial (e.g., Blacks, Whites), ethnic (e.g., Latinos/Latinas, Anglos), or national groups (e.g., U.S. Americans, Japanese) on measures of psychological constructs such as cognitive abilities, knowledge or skills (CAKS), or symptoms of psychopathology (e.g., depression). Historically, the term grew out of efforts to explain between-group score differences on CAKS tests primarily of African American and Latino/Latina American test takers relative to their White American counterparts and concerns that test scores should not be interpreted in the same manner across these groups. Although the concept of cultural bias in testing and assessment also pertains to score differences and potential misdiagnoses with respect to a broader range of psychological concepts, particularly in applied psychology and other social and behavioral sciences, this aspect of cultural bias has received less attention in the relevant literature (Tyson, 2004). Therefore, cultural bias as it pertains to CAKS testing is the primary focus herein.


  • cultural bias;
  • cultural equivalence;
  • test validity;
  • psychological testing