Amanda Barry ’17
Project Title – Exploring Memory Impairment in a Rural Community in Tanzania: Trends and Reflections
Mentor – Ali Skandor
The researchers traveled to Tanzania in January of 2017. For two weeks they traveled to various Masaai villages around the town of Arusha. Mini-mental status exams were administered to 46 individuals ranging in age from 40-101 years. For those participants whose scores reflected possible memory impairment, family members or close friends were then administered a semi-structured interview to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the individual's life and cognitive function. The data collection process was directly affected by cultural differences between the United States (where the materials were developed) and Tanzania (where the materials were applied). This effect, although it limited any conclusions that could be drawn from the project, was interesting by itself. Differences in formal education, exposure to formal testing materials, and social structure all affected the data collection process. This has important implications for the application of Western tests in collectivist cultures. As of now, many tests have been adapted for use in other countries but the validity of the tests is often in question. Western tests will need to be adapted to be valid and reliable in collectivist cultures or cultures where formal testing is not the norm.