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Is There a Universal Cognitive Diagnosis Related to the Tails of Intelligence Distribution?

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: The diagnosis of giftedness or intellectual deficit is related to the extremes of IQ distribution. The universality of these diagnoses will depend on whether linguistic cultural differences or Greenwich IQ (mean differences between nations) affect individual IQ rankings when different norms for the same cognitive measure are used. We verified both perspectives through two studies of the Wechsler Intelligence for Children—Fourth Edition, the most traditional intelligence scale. Methods: Study 1 analyzed American and Brazilian norms from the WISC-IV, and study 2 analyzed forty clinical protocols of children referred for cognitive assessment with the same scale. Results: Differences between WISC-IV American and Brazilian norms (study 1) impacted the IQ classification in the analyzed protocols (study 2). Using Brazilian norms, eight cases of high IQ (giftedness), and two cases of low IQ (intellectual deficit) were identified. Using American norms, one and six cases of high and low IQ respectively were estimated. The cognitive differences were more intense on the Verbal Comprehension Index. Conclusion: A broad academic discussion regarding the universality of cognitive diagnoses is urgent, especially in a time of increasing individuals’ geographical mobility, and increasing demand for cross-cultural cognitive assessment.

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