Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Neuropsychology’s race problem does not begin or end with demographically adjusted norms

Demographically adjusted norms that include sociocultural factors such as race can provide an evidence-based approach for addressing the chronic systemic and diagnostic inequities in the interpretation of neuropsychological tests. However, these norms have important limitations, and more work is needed to improve the diagnostic validity of neuropsychological assessments in diverse populations.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Heaton, R. K., Miller, S. W., Taylor, M. J. & Grant, I. Revised Comprehensive Norms for an Expanded Halstead Reitan Battery: Demographically Adjusted Neuropsychological Norms for African American and Caucasian Adults (Psychological Assessment Resources, 2004).

  2. Taylor, M. J. & Heaton, R. K. Sensitivity and specificity of WAIS-III/WMS-III demographically corrected factor scores in neuropsychological assessment. J. Int. Neuropsychol. Soc. 7, 867–874 (2001).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. American Psychological Association (APA). Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S. (2021).

  4. Gould, S. The Mismeasure of Man (revised and expanded) (Norton, 1996).

  5. Byrd, D. A. et al. Creating an antiracist psychology by addressing professional complicity in psychological assessment. Psychol. Assess. 33, 279–285 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Lucas, J. A. et al. Mayo’s Older African Americans Normative Studies: normative data for commonly used clinical neuropsychological measures. Clin. Neuropsychol. 19, 162–183 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Verney, S. P. et al. The associations among sociocultural factors and neuropsychological functioning in older American Indians: the Strong Heart Study. Neuropsychology 33, 1078–1088 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Rivera Mindt, M. et al. The Neuropsychological Norms for the U.S.-Mexico Border Region in Spanish (NP-NUMBRS) Project: overview and considerations for life span research and evidence-based practice. Clin. Neuropsychol. 35, 466–480 (2021).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Manly, J. J. & Echemendia, R. J. Race-specific norms: using the model of hypertension to understand issues of race, culture, and education in neuropsychology. Arch. Clin. Neuropsychol. 22, 319–325 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Rivera Mindt, M. et al. in Handbook on the Neuropsychology of Aging and Dementia 2nd edn (eds Ravdin, L. D. & Katzen, H. L.) 25–48 (Springer, 2019).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Desiree A. Byrd.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Byrd, D.A., Rivera-Mindt, M.G. Neuropsychology’s race problem does not begin or end with demographically adjusted norms. Nat Rev Neurol 18, 125–126 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing