An Evaluation of Cross-Cultural Adaptations of Social Cognition Testing: A Systematic Review

Neuropsychol Rev. 2023 Nov 17. doi: 10.1007/s11065-023-09616-0. Online ahead of print.


Social cognition remains one of the most difficult cognitive domains to assess in diverse populations due to a lack of culturally appropriate tools. This study systematically reviewed literature on neuropsychological tests for social cognition that have been translated, adapted, are cross-cultural, or are assembled for diverse, specifically "Global South," populations. The aim was to identify assessments appropriate for diverse populations, outline and evaluate their methodological approaches, and provide procedural recommendations for future research. The PRISMA systematic review search strategy produced 10,957 articles, of which 287 were selected for full-text screening. The study had to include a neuropsychological assessment of social cognition. The full text of the resulting 287 articles was then screened; the study had to include a translated, adapted, cross-cultural test, or an assembled test for Global South populations. Eighty-four articles were included in this study: 24 for emotion recognition, 45 for theory of mind, 9 for moral reasoning, and six for social cognition in general. Overall, there were 31 translations, 27 adaptations, 14 cross-cultural tests, and 12 assembled tests for Global South populations. Regarding quality, 35 were of low quality, 27 were of moderate quality, and 22 were high quality. This study provides an overview of social cognition tests modified or assembled for diverse populations and gives examples of methodological procedures. It highlights the variability in procedure quality and provides possible reasons for this variability. Finally, it suggests a need to report rigorous modification and assembly procedure in order to have modified and assembled social cognition tests appropriate for diverse populations.

Keywords: Cross-cultural comparison; Cultural diversity; Neuropsychological tests; Social cognition; Translations.

Publication types

  • Review