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Center for Research on Culture, Education, and Development


The Center for Research on Culture, Development, and Education (CRCDE) is dedicated to advancing knowledge on the intersections of human development, culture, diversity, and context in the United States and regions across the globe (Europe, Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, South America, and the Middle East). Our focus is inclusive of multiple social categories including ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual orientation, and is grounded in the perspective that culture, and the diverse beliefs, goals, practices, and experiences that cultural group membership entails, matter in peoples’ everyday lives and systematically shape relationships between individuals and larger institutions and society. Moreover, issues related to culture and diversity are infused in all contexts – including family, school, neighborhood, and economic contexts – in ways that shape learning and development across cognitive, language, social, psychological, and emotional domains. Examples of the types of issues we focus on are how context for early learning, language, motor skills, etc. vary across cultural contexts; experiences of inequality, exclusion/inclusion, discrimination, and stereotyping; sources of variation in identity beliefs and development; cultural underpinnings of parental socialization goals, beliefs and practices; social relationships within peer and school contexts, and more.

Executive Summary

The CRCDE includes scholars across interdisciplinary units at NYU campuses who engage in collective conversation and research collaboration on child development within a cultural/contextual/diversity framework. CRCDE faculty apply a rich variety of methods to the study of culture, context, diversity, and development – physiological, behavioral, genetic, observational, survey, interview, ethnographic, and experimental. Each faculty runs weekly lab meetings with students across levels (undergraduate, masters, doctoral). In addition, we host an informal workshop/seminar series in which affiliated faculty, students, and invited guests present recently published work or work in progress that are central to the study of culture and context. We are also developing research-focused working groups on topics such as identity, language, parental socialization, and peer relationships as well as a working paper series, sponsored by the CRCDE.

Public and private grants support studies and projects on such topics as:

  • Language experiences and development of infants and toddlers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including dual-language learners;
  • Cognitive and social-emotional development of infants, preschoolers, and adolescents;
  • Adolescents’ and parents’ discrimination experiences in school, peer, employment, and neighborhood contexts;
  • Children and adolescents’ academic performance, family relations, peer relations, and concepts of self and ethnic and gender identities; and
  • The influences of micro-level contexts (such as parents, family, peers, and schools) and macrolevel contexts (such as social and economic policies and stereotypes) on the development of children and youth.

Research teams conduct their studies and outreach efforts in partnerships with hospitals, school systems, and community agencies throughout New York City and internationally, with ongoing projects in Nanjing, China; Hong Kong; and Seoul, South Korea.

CRCDE is seeking grants to advance new research in such areas as infants’ and toddlers’ learning through play; the early development of math cognition; the language experiences and development of dual-language learners; adolescents’ ethnic and gender identity; mothers’ socialization of gender and race; the influences of gender and racial socialization on social, emotional, and cognitive development; and how features of settings and cultures shape identity processes among ethnic/racial minority youth in the United States.

Representative Work

Infancy and Early Childhood

Early childhood studies focus on how children develop skills, the dynamics among these developing skills, and the roles of context and culture in children’s development. Cultural similarities and differences is a cross-cutting theme in these studies, and observations and assessments of children and families from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds are essential to this research. An example study is the Center’s longitudinal research on parent-child interactions and developmental changes in hundreds of children from predominantly low-income African American, Chinese, Dominican, and Mexican backgrounds.

Early Adolescence

Studies of early adolescents examine the factors that shape the course of social-emotional development, academic success, peer and parental relationships, self perceptions, and racial and gender identities throughout adolescence. A primary focus of this work is on structural factors that shape the course of development among immigrant and ethnic-racial minority youth, including discrimination experiences, school and neighborhood contexts, and parental immigration status. An example study is the Center’s longitudinal study that followed adolescents from sixth through eleventh grade, gathering information from them and their parents. The adolescents represented a range of ethnicities and races, including African American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Chinese-American, and European-American. This work seeks to improve educational and other types of interventions focused on these populations.

International Collaborations

CRCDE has several ongoing cross-cultural studies, including a large longitudinal project following children and parents in Nanjing, China. It focuses on how changing social, economic, and cultural contexts influence Chinese parents’ parenting practices and children’s development. The project is a collaboration with NYU Shanghai, University of Pennsylvania, and Southeast University in China. Research papers are examining issues such as Chinese mothers’ gender socialization, adolescents’ gender beliefs and their academic achievements, Chinese fathers’ parenting style and children’s friendship quality, parents’ workplace climate, and families’ mental health.


Diane Hughes


Catherine Tamis-LeMonda
Niobe Way
Hirokazu Yoshikawa