State of multicultural neuropsychological assessment in children: Current research issues

Desiree Byrd, Alyssa Arentoft, Diane Scheiner, Michael Westerveld, Ida Sue Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-222
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Issue number3 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Child neuropsychology
  • Development
  • Multicultural neuropsychological assessment


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