Research Digest – July 2020

Author: Gabriel Qi

For this month, I introduce an article on a novel way of using BNT-15 in a cross-cultural setting. I also briefly describe an abstract on authors’ experience when conducting a study regarding the neurobehavioral developmental trajectories of primary school children in Trinidad and Tobago.

Ali et al. (2020) conducted a study to replicate earlier reports of the utility of the Boston Naming Test – Short Form (BNT-15) as an index of limited English proficiency (LEP). They recruited 29 bilingual English-Arabic speakers in Canada, who were originally from countries in North America and the Middle East. The authors found that BNT-15 was a strong predictor of LEP (AUC = .995). When using <= 10 as the cutoff, the test had a sensitivity of .93 and specificity of 1.00. In practice, the BNT-15 can be used as an easy-to-use measure of English proficiency in both clinical and research settings. In addition, the authors also did a brief discussion on the adoption of the term “LEP” in light of controversy with the wording of “limitation.” Personally, the results made a lot of sense, as I remember feeling I had “word-finding difficulty” when I first tried to do the BNT: It felt more like an English proficiency test for me.

I’ve included the second article as it provides a nice summary of conducting cross-cultural neuropsychological research in a school setting. Besides the theoretical considerations on appropriate tools, test paradigms, and norms, there are also practical issues to consider, such as local government/institutional regulations, the role of cultural beliefs/values/goals in recruitment strategies and informed consent, etc..

Food for thought this month:

What are some “off-label” use of neuropsychological tests that you are aware of and/or using?

Here are the links to access the articles this month:




  • Ali, S., Elliott, L., Biss, R. K., Abumeeiz, M., Brantuo, M., Kuzmenka, P., … & Erdodi, L. A. (2020). The BNT-15 provides an accurate measure of English proficiency in cognitively intact bilinguals–a study in cross-cultural assessment. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult, 1-13. doi:10.1080/23279095.2020.1760277
  • Bernstein, J. H., & Youssef, F. (2019). It’s Not All Tests and Norms! The Reach of Culture in Behavioral Research. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 34(7), 1300-1300. doi:10.1093/arclin/acz029.67