Neurodevelopmental assessments used to measure preschoolers' cognitive development in Latin America: a systematic review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of pediatric psychology




Spanish; cultural factors; intelligence; measurement; normative


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to systematically review the standardized neurodevelopmental assessments used to study preschool-aged children's cognitive development in Spanish-speaking Latin America. METHODS: The authors systematically searched PubMed, PsycINFO, and ERIC databases for peer-reviewed articles from Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. Articles were included if they measured cognitive development among children aged 2-6 years using at least one standardized assessment tool; 97 articles were included and reviewed in accordance with PRISMA guidelines to assess their use of these tools. RESULTS: Ninety-seven studies across 13 countries used a total of 41 assessments to measure cognitive development; most widely used were the Wechsler intelligence scales (n = 46/97), particularly the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (n = 23 and 29, respectively). Other common assessments included the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (n = 9), Raven's Progressive Matrices (n = 9), Child Neuropsychological Assessment (n = 8), and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (n = 7). In regions where normative data for a given assessment were unpublished, authors commonly used norms from the United States, Mexico, or Spain or did not report standard scores in their analyses. CONCLUSIONS: The wide range of tools used in these studies presents a challenge for generalizing results when measuring the neurodevelopment of Latin American preschool-aged children. The low availability of normative data for specific regions reveals concerns if some tools are culturally and linguistically appropriate even when Spanish is a common language, particularly in low-resource settings. Future work to forge greater consistency in the use of validated measures, clarity in reporting research methods, and publication of regional normative data would benefit the field.