Cross-Cultural Neuropsychological Assessment
Theory and Practice
By Victor Nell
Psychology Press – 1999 – 312 pages
Psychology Press – 1999 – 312 pages
This is a book for all neuropsychologists who are called upon to assess culturally different clients--with very few exceptions today, this means every neuropsychologist. In Minneapolis as in Oslo, migrant and refugee minorities raise assessment and test validity problems that cannot be ignored. To deal realistically with the problem of doing neuropsychological assessments without norms, Nell describes the principles of a "behavioral neuropsychology," and then sets out interview, test, and interpretation methods that will allow clinicians to produce valid and prognostically accurate assessments.
For working neuropsychologists, this is an intensely practical, how-to-do-it book. But unlike other hands-on guides, it lays an impressive historical and theoretical foundation for the practice of cross-cultural neuropsychology. It thus speaks to serious practitioners who need to be certain that their assessment findings are not only correct, but also sufficiently well-grounded to stand up to professional scrutiny and to forensic testing in a court of law.
"[Nell] has done a great service by compiling culturally heterogeneous data (to which he and his group have contributed) on the WHO neuropsychological core test battery and other tests….Cross-Cultural Neuropsychological Assessment: Theory and Practice is a very valuable contribution to cross-cultural neuropsychology as a clinical discipline and a research area in its own right, and will very likely become a source reference in the field."
—Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
"For those of us concerned about cross-cultural neuropsychological practice for many years, Victor Nell's book is welcomed. This scholarly book, which includes both theory and practice, heightens awareness and raises the needed consciousness that all neuropsychological measures are not cross-cultural. The crux of the matter is addressed by attention to the concept of construct validity, or what is being measured during neuropsychological assessments? The book goes the full distance by offering methods to resolve differences between the constructs of the examiners and the examinees within the framework of current techniques."
—Barbara P. Uzzell
Memorial Neurological Association, Houston, TX
"Victor Nell has done contemporary neuropsychological scholarship a great service. He has combined the enormously difficult problems of cross-cultural cognitive-psychological research with the daunting problems of neuropsychological assessment in a manner that is true to canons of good science and true to the many people around the world who desperately need assistance as the result of traumatic brain injuries. It is a book that every psychologist can learn from."
University of California, San Diego
"Victor Nell has produced an important and necessary book that could not be more timely--essential reading for the practicing clinical neuropsychologist as well as for the researcher. The level of scholarship will reward even readers who may not agree with some of his formulations; a rare achievement. Neuropsychologists trained in the North American or Eurocentric traditions will find that the book introduces them to a new realm of thought, yet appreciate familiar touchstones as Nell illustrates his points. Built on sound data and ideas from many psychological contexts, the book moves far past all-too-familiar calls for political correctness as it first forces the neuropsychologist to consider difficult issues, and then suggests solutions. Nell's advice may not solve every dilemma faced by every clinician, but at the very least it will stimulate needed reflection. He has finally gotten neuropsychologists out of the starting gate in their efforts to address the crucial problems of cultural context. They should consider this book at the top of their personal list for purchase."
—Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D.
University of Michigan
"This exceptional work, which addresses neuropsychology in a sociocultural perspective, engages the reader in a profound and enlightening discussion of the failure of universalism, demonstrating that 'culture makes mind.' Based on the fundamentals proposed by Luria and Vygotsky, born out of ample clinical experience and a thorough, all-encompassing study of today's literature from the world over, this book will prove to be of great practical use for anyone, in any country, who deals with brain injury on a daily basis. Victor Nell provides a solid, broad analysis of pre-established knowledge in an accessible, clear, and didactic manner, while at the same time challenging the reader to reflect on and question the very foundations of what has, up to now, been done in the field of neuropsychology."
—L£cia Willadino Braga
SARAH Network of Hospitals, Brazil
"Although the material…comes from Nell's experiences in his homeland of South Africa, what he has to say…is relevant to all neuropsychologists whose work brings them into contact with clients whose cultural backgrounds may be different from indigenous groups. Not all neuropsychologists will agree with his approach…and there are perhaps alternative ways forward that are not explored by him in this book…[But] In the meantime, Nell's book is a challenge to all of us working in neuropsychological assessment and interested in making that assessment a true and fair reflection of people's abilities and any disabilities wrought by brain damage, rather than a reflection of disadvantage brought about by cultural mismatch."
—Barbara A. Wilson
MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK
Contents: Preface. Part I: The Seduction of Universals. Westernization, Racism, and the Politics of Culture. The Failure of Universalism: Neuropsychological Test Score Differences Across Countries and Cultures. Part II: Theoretical Foundations of Cross-Cultural Assessment. Radical Environmentalism: Vygotsky, Luria, and the Historical Determination of Consciousness. The Nature of Intelligence: The IQ Controversy in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Constructs, Norms, and the Problem of Comparability. A Behavioral Frame: Neuropsychology as a Transferrable Technology. Part III: The Practice of Cross-Cultural Assessment. The Cardinal Manifestations of Traumatic Brain Injury. Realism and Intensity in the Diagnostic Interview. Buds, Flowers, Fruits: Potential, Performance, and Test Administration. A Core Test Battery. Structuring Behavioral Reports. Appendices.