State of multicultural neuropsychological assessment in children: current research issues

Neuropsychol Rev. 2008 Sep;18(3):214-22. doi: 10.1007/s11065-008-9065-y. Epub 2008 Sep 25.


Scientific attention to cultural considerations in child neuropsychological assessment has not developed parallel to the focus these issues have received in adult and elderly neuropsychological assessment. There are limited data on the presence, magnitude, etiology, and implications of culture-related differences in cognitive test performance among children. This preliminary report reviews the available empirical literature on the current state of multicultural neuropsychological assessment in children. The review identified articles by searching PubMed and PsycINFO databases, and the tables of contents of Developmental Neuropsychology and Child Neuropsychology from 2003-2008. Of the 1,834 abstracts reviewed, ten papers met inclusion criteria for the review. Five studies were completed in America; four of these compared performance between ethnic groups while the fifth examined neighborhood level poverty indicators exclusively within African-American children. Of the five international studies, all established local normative data and/or were exploratory investigations of neuropsychological functions in specific cultural groups, including Taiwanese infants, South African youth, and bilingual British children. Taken together, the results yield important clinical and research data that begin to inform many of the complex and fascinating mechanisms by which ethnic identity and culture impact cognitive development and the neuropsychological assessment of children. A critique of the existing literature and directions for future research are provided.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States