Cross-cultural effects on IQ test performance: a review and preliminary normative indications on WAIS-III test performance

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2004 Oct;26(7):903-20. doi: 10.1080/13803390490510824.


This article presents a review of cross-cultural influences on Wechsler IQ tests, together with a preliminary investigation into WAIS-III test performance (English administration) for a southern African sample (age range 19-30) stratified for white English first language and black African first language, level and quality of education. ('African language' is the term used to denote the indigenous languages of black populations in southern Africa). A two-way ANOVA revealed highly significant effects for both level and quality of education within the black African first language group. Scores for the white English and black African first language groups with advantaged education were comparable with the US standardization, whereas scores for black African first language participants with disadvantaged education were significantly lower than this. Thus indications from this research are that normative studies should take account of the influential variable of quality of education, in addition to level of education. Alternatively faulty conclusions may be drawn about the effects of ethnicity, with the potential for neuropsychological misdiagnosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adult
  • Africa, Southern
  • Age Distribution
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Black People
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / physiology*
  • Linguistics*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology
  • Wechsler Scales / standards*
  • Wechsler Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People