Abstract

This study compared the performance of Hispanic American bilingual adults on Spanish and English language versions of a neuropsychological test battery. Language achievement test scores were used to divide 36 bilingual, neurologically intact, Hispanic Americans from south Texas into Spanish-dominant, balanced, and English-dominant bilingual groups. They were administered the eight subtests of the Bateria Neuropsicologica and the Matrix Reasoning subtest of the WAIS-III in Spanish and English. Half the participants were tested in Spanish first. Balanced bilinguals showed no significant differences in test scores between Spanish and English language administrations. Spanish and/or English dominant bilinguals showed significant effects of language of administration on tests with higher language compared to visual perceptual weighting (Woodcock-Munoz Language Survey-Revised, Letter Fluency, Story Memory, and Stroop Color and Word Test). Scores on tests with higher visual-perceptual weighting (Matrix Reasoning, Figure Memory, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and Spatial Span), were not significantly affected by language of administration, nor were scores on the Spanish/California Verbal Learning Test, and Digit Span. A problem was encountered in comparing false positive rates in each language, as Spanish norms fell below English norms, resulting in a much higher false positive rate in English across all bilingual groupings. Use of a comparison standard (picture vocabulary score) reduced false positive rates in both languages, but the higher false positive rate in English persisted.