Psych society denounces study claiming coloured women have low cognitive functioning

2019-04-26 22:36
Stellenbosch University. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Stellenbosch University. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The Psychological Society of South Africa's (PsySSA) Division for Research and Methodology (DRM) has denounced a study that claims coloured women in South Africa have an increased risk of low cognitive functioning, owing to low education levels and unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.

The study, published by a group of scholars from the Stellenbosch University, titled Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in colored South African women was widely circulated during the Easter weekend and criticised on social media by many who labelled it racist and offensive.

"We are disturbed by and strongly opposed to the practice of misusing racial classification in scientific research and the consequent perpetuation of stigma, discrimination and racism within our society, as exemplified in the recent publication of, Age-and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in Colored South African women," said DRM in a statement.

Professor Eugene Cloete, deputy vice-chancellor for research, innovation and postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch said the institution neither condones nor evaluates the opinions reached by its scholars as participants in this academic debate.

READ: Stellenbosch University responds to furore over coloured women 'low cognitive' risk study

The statement from DRM continued to batter the study, and said the methodology used was fatally flawed, in terms of sampling, instruments, data analysis, and the interpretation of data.

"Although the authors declare, at the end of their paper, that the study is limited by the small sample size of 60 women, sampling procedure, and inability to generalise to the larger 'Coloured' population in South Africa, they also go on to say that the study provides novel and valuable insight into the cognitive performance of Coloured women, this claim is unbelievable".

The research division also called upon researchers and scientists to reflect on their own personal biases and conceptualisations of race with the aim of self-development, to reduce and eradicate racism and discrimination, which can be manifested in their research teaching and practice.

"Institutions of higher learning [should] take responsibility for the management of knowledge produced by staff, students and groups within the organisations and contribute to their training in research integrity, social relevance of research and good ethical practice."

Project Amandla has also strongly objected to the publication of the study and urged the publishers to retract the article because of "its racist ideological underpinnings, flawed methodology, and its reproduction of harmful stereotypes of 'Coloured' women". 

The project, which runs campaigns online about issues affecting the black majority of South Africa and women in particular, initiated an online petition against the study which had over 6 000 signatures by the time of publishing this article on Friday night.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    racism

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.