Cultural Influences on Access to ‘Reality’

Is generalizability to the Global South predictable?

Research team

Anisha Singh, Principal Investigator (until September 2023)
Patrick Forscher, Principal Investigator (from September 2023)
Joel Wambua, Co-Investigator
Fiona Fidler, Collaborator


Key information

Full title: Can we predict which behavioral science claims will generalize to East Africa?
Host institution: Busara Center for Behavioral Economics (Kenya)
Research location: Kenya


Project overview 

Most behavioral science is conducted in the Global North — usually, the United States or Europe. Because this research is conceived by Global North researchers and the evidence is gathered with Global North participants in Global North settings, the relevance of this research to settings in the Global South, such as East Africa, is unknown.

This project is an extension of the University of Melbourne’s repliCATS project, in which we see whether the generalizability of claims to East Africa is predictable

This project asks experts to make predictions about whether findings from the Global North are indeed relevant to the Global South. We generate predictions about the generalizability of different behavioral science claims using a series of structured group discussions. These discussions will follow a protocol called IDEA (Investigate, Discuss, Estimate, Aggregate) developed by our colleagues at the University of Melbourne (read more about their project here). The people who make the predictions in our study will be behavioral science experts who are living and working in East Africa; these experts should therefore have knowledge of East African society, relationships, and politics. We will compare their predictions to those of experts who do not live and work in East Africa. By creating a database of all these predictions, we lay the foundation for future studies in East Africa that use the same methods as past studies conducted in the Global North, but that recruit East African participants. The database of predictions will allow us to compare whether East African experts or Global North experts are more accurate in their predictions of generalizabiltiy. 

We hope this project expands our growing knowledge of whether a finding discovered in one setting can be usefully applied to a new setting. 


Update

Behavioural science experts in East Africa have gathered for two rounds of predictions so far, the image above is from the most recent round. Photo received from Patrick Forscher, 18 August 2023.

Project contacts

If you would like to contact the project team, please email the grant management team in the first instance, at ces.transformationfund@durham.ac.uk.

Patrick Forscher: Twitter