Acculturation, reading level, and neuropsychological test performance among African American elders

Jennifer J. Manly, Desiree A. Byrd, Pegah Touradji, Yaakov Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


The independent effects of cultural and educational experience on neuropsychological test performance were examined among 503 nondemented African Americans ages 65 and older Measures of cultural experience (acculturation) and quality of education (reading level) were administered. Reading level was the most influential predictor of cognitive test performance, even after accounting for age, sex, years of education, and acculturation level. Age had small but significant unique effects on most measures, especially word list learning. Years of education had independent effects on measures of verbal abstraction, fluency, and figure matching. More acculturated African Americans obtained higher scores on most measures; however, after accounting for age, years of education, sex, and reading level, the effect of acculturation was diminished. The results suggest that quality of education and cultural experience influence how older African Americans approach neuropsychological tasks; therefore, adjustment for these variables may improve specificity of neuropsychological measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Neuropsychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Acculturation
  • Quality of education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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