A cross-cultural comparison between South African and British students on the wechsler adult intelligence scales third edition (WAIS-III)
There is debate regarding the appropriate use of Western cognitive measures with individuals from very diverse backgrounds to that of the norm population. Given the dated research in this area and the considerable socio-economic changes that South Africa has witnessed over the past 20 years, this paper reports on the use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Third Edition (WAIS-III), the most commonly used measure of intelligence, with an English second language, multilingual, low socio-economic group of black, South African university students. Their performance on the WAIS-III was compared to that of a predominantly white, British, monolingual, higher socio-economic group. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis showed that the WAIS-III lacks measurement invariance between the two groups, suggesting that it may be tapping different constructs in each group. The UK group significantly outperformed the SA group on the knowledge-based verbal, and some non-verbal subtests, while the SA group performed significantly better on measures of Processing Speed (PS). The groups did not differ significantly on the Matrix Reasoning subtest and on those working memory subtests with minimal reliance on language, which appear to be the least culturally biased. Group differences were investigated further in a set of principal components analyses, which revealed that the WAIS-III scores loaded differently for the UK and SA groups. While the SA group appeared to treat the PS subtests differently to those measuring perceptual organization and non-verbal reasoning, the UK group seemed to approach all of these subtests similarly. These results have important implications for the cognitive assessment of individuals from culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically diverse circumstances.
Frontiers in Psychology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Cockcroft, Alloway, T., Copello, E., & Milligan, R. (2015). A cross-cultural comparison between South African and British students on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales Third Edition (WAIS-III). Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 297–297. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00297