2020TanYWPhD.pdf (1.92 MB)
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The relationship between acculturation and neuropsychological test performances.

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posted on 01.12.2020, 22:03 by Yi Wen Tan
Many neuropsychological tests are described as biased toward Western cultural orientations, thus may not be accurately measuring cognitive abilities of ethnic minorities. Such tests are theorised to also measure the construct of acculturation. However, the operationalisation of acculturation, and neuropsychological tests are inconsistent across the literature. Therefore, the relationship between acculturation and test performances, and the practical value of acculturation during clinical examination is unclear. Four major investigations were conducted in this thesis to assess the relationship between acculturation and test performance. A systematic literature review revealed heterogeneity over different studies, but higher levels of adoption in acculturation broadly influenced better performance. The effects of acculturation could be unique to sample characteristics within each study, and the clinical use of acculturation was inconclusive. Limitations identified among these studies informed subsequent investigations in this thesis. An empirical study found that the language component of adoption predicted tests of language, and cultural knowledge predicted tests of orientation. However, a different measure of historical experiences with language predicted rates of false positives for a group of healthy ethnic minorities, better than ratings of acculturation. The introduction of ethnicity could have altered findings for rates of false positives on test performances. However, ethnicity and ratings of acculturation did not interact when predicting test performances, each predicted different types of tests independently. A further investigation revealed that dimensions of cultural intelligence could be underlying mechanisms involved in domains of acculturation. In conclusion, the domain of language and culturally specific knowledge were most likely influential toward test performance, but it was uncertain what type of neuropsychological tests would be more sensitive to these domains. The practical use of ratings of acculturative scales, when assessing for the probability of scoring a true negative, was reduced to language proficiency. Other factors (motivation, test length, fatigue) should not be overlooked when testing ethnic minorities. Limitations of the study, original contributions, and future directions were discussed.



Gerald H. Burgess; Robin J. Green

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Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Behaviour

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University of Leicester

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