Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology is a specialty within clinical psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior.

Clinical neuropsychologists are doctoral level psychologists who have completed specialized training in this field.


What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of cognitive and behavioral functions using a set of standardized tests and procedures. Various mental functions are systematically tested, including, but not limited to:

  • Intelligence
  • Problem solving and conceptualization
  • Planning and organization
  • Attention, memory, and learning
  • Language
  • Academic skills
  • Perceptual and motor abilities
  • Emotions, behavior, and personality

Testing is typically comprised of an interview with the individual and family (if available), a review of medical records, and the administration of question and answer, and paper and pencil tests. Neuropsychological testing provides valuable information to the multidisciplinary treatment team by identifying cognitive strengths and weaknesses, assisting with the diagnostic process, offering treatment recommendations tailored to the individual, and by monitoring of cognitive and emotional status over time.


Why would someone be referred for an evaluation?

Testing is usually recommended when there are symptoms or complaints involving memory or thinking. This may be signaled by a change in concentration, organization, reasoning, memory, language, perception, coordination, or personality. The change may be due to any of a number of medical, neurological, psychological, or genetic causes.


What to expect?

A neuropsychological evaluation usually consists of an interview and testing. During the interview, information that is important for the neuropsychologist to consider will be reviewed. You will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, medications, and other important factors. Testing involves taking paper-and pencil or computerized tests and answering questions. The time required depends on the problem being assessed. In general, several hours are needed to assess the many skills involved in processing information. Some tests will be easy while others will be more complex. The most important thing is try your best. Bring glasses or hearing aids if you use them. Try to rest and relax before your evaluation. You will probably find testing interesting, and the detailed information that is gathered will contribute to your care.

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