The 12th Biennial South African Neuropsychological Society (SACNA) Conference was recently held in Johannesburg (10-12 March) and the Rhodes Psychology Department was particularly well represented. Professor Ann Edwards and Dr Kevin Thomas (UCT) chaired a special symposium entitled ‘Test development in the South African cross-cultural arena: Comparative normative data for the WAIS-III, WISC-IV and selected neuropsychological tests’ which saw presentations made by past Rhodes students Shayne Horsman, Andrea Wong and Lauren Fike. The symposium included the presentation of several research projects conducted by Rhodes students during their Masters year under the supervision of Ann Edwards, including work by Adele van der Merwe, Shayne Horsman, Andrea Wong, Lauren Fike (jointly supervised by Jan Knoetze) and Karen Andrews. Particular mention also needs to be made of Professor Sarah Radloff’s (Department of Statistics) contribution to the overall research.
The symposium made much needed data available, presenting normative indicators for Xhosa speaking samples of the population on the Trail Making Test and the Stroop Test, on the WMS Visual and Verbal Memory Subtests as well as on four tests used to assess malingering. The presentations received overwhelmingly positive feedback and several key people in the profession were particularly impressed by the calibre of the Rhodes students. The data will no doubt have wide application by South African clinicians working in the assessment arena for many years to come and will be published in a forthcoming special edition of the Journal of Psychology in Africa. Dr Clifford van Ommen also presented a paper at the conference entitled ‘Troubling brain imaging: The construction of PET scans’ drawing attention to the vast array of significant assumptions and transformations that are enacted in order to provide us with an image of the brain.