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24 The Influence of Acculturation in Neuropsychological Test Performance of Hispanic-Americans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Krissy E. Smith*
Affiliation:
California State Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA, USA. Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA.
Tara L. Victor
Affiliation:
California State Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA, USA.
Chelsea McElwee
Affiliation:
University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA, USA.
Daniel W. Lopez-Hernandez
Affiliation:
Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. University of California San Diego Health, San Diego, CA, USA
*
Correspondence: Krissy E. Smith, California State University Dominguez Hills, krissy.smith@gmail.com
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Abstract

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Objective:

Stephenson (2000) suggested that acculturation is a phenomenon that immigrants and refugees ubiquitously experience. The level of acculturation is impacted by a person’s choice to allow how much of their cultural traits they decide to keep while adapting to the dominant society cultural traits. Depending on what immigrants find to be important or unimportant, it can influence future generations (i.e., their children) in how they will be developed and adapt into a dominant society. Hispanic-Americans are individuals that were born and reside in the United States and have a family background that extends to one of the Spanish speaking countries in Latin America or Spain. The typical language spoken by Hispanic families other than English is Spanish. It has been reported that Hispanics that are capable of speaking English may be afforded better and greater opportunities to resources. Research shows that a person level of acculturation can influence their cognition. In fact, in one study using a Mexican-American sample that was divided into two groups: high and low. Researchers found that highly acculturated Mexican-Americans outperformed lower acculturated Mexican-Americans on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. We evaluated the influence of acculturation in Hispanic-Americans neuropsychological test performance. It was predicted that highly acculturated Hispanic-Americans to American culture would demonstrate better cognitive abilities compared to lower acculturated Hispanic-Americans.

Participants and Methods:

The present study sample consisted of 75 neurologically and psychologically healthy Hispanic-American undergraduate students with a mean age of 19.44 (SD = 1.37). Participants were divided into two acculturation groups: high (n = 39) and low (n = 36). In addition, all the participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and background questionnaire in English. The Acculturation Rating Scale for Hispanic/Latino Americans is a 20-item scale that was utilized to create our acculturation groups. ANOVAs were used to evaluate cognitive differences between our acculturation groups.

Results:

Results revealed that the highly acculturated group outperformed the lower acculturated group on the Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition vocabulary task and the Boston Naming Test, p’s<.05, n.p’s2=.06. Furthermore, results revealed that the lower acculturated group outperformed the highly acculturated group on the Trail Making Test part A and B, and Comalli Stroop part A, p’s<.05, np’s2=.06-.07.

Conclusions:

As expected, the highly acculturated group demonstrated better language abilities compared to the lower acculturated group. However, in the opposite direction, the lower acculturated group outperformed the highly acculturated group on several speed attention tasks and one executive functioning task. A possible explanation why the highly acculturated participants demonstrated better language abilities may be attributed that their dominant language is English or they only spoke English. Meanwhile, the opposite could be said for lower acculturated participants that English was not their dominant language or they were bilingual speakers, for that reason they demonstrated better processing speed and executive functioning abilities. Research shows that monolinguals demonstrate better language abilities compared to bilinguals, but the opposite is found on processing speed and executive functioning tasks. Future research should investigate the relationship between bilingualism and acculturation in neuropsychological testing performance of Hispanic-Americans.

Type
Poster Session 05: Neuroimaging | Neurophysiology | Neurostimulation | Technology | Cross Cultural | Multiculturalism | Career Development
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023