A perspective on enhancing representative samples in developmental human neuroscience: Connecting science to society


Marginalized groups are often underrepresented in human developmental neuroscientific studies. This is problematic for the generalizability of findings about brain-behavior mechanisms, as well as for the validity, reliability, and reproducibility of results. In the present paper we discuss selection bias in cohort studies, which is known to contribute to the underrepresentation of marginalized groups. First, we address the issue of exclusion bias, as marginalized groups are sometimes excluded from studies because they do not fit the inclusion criteria. Second, we highlight examples of sampling bias. Recruitment strategies are not always designed to reach and attract a diverse group of youth. Third, we explain how diversity can be lost due to attrition of marginalized groups in longitudinal cohort studies. We provide experience- and evidence-based recommendations to stimulate neuroscientists to enhance study population representativeness via science communication and citizen science with youth. By connecting science to society, researchers have the opportunity to establish sustainable and equal researcher-community relationships, which can positively contribute to tackling selection biases.