Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Neuropsychological test

Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks used to measure a psychological function known to be linked to a particular brain structure or pathway.

Neuropsychological assessment was traditionally carried out to assess the extent of impairment to a particular skill and to attempt to locate an area of the brain which may of been damaged after head injury or neurological illness. With the advent of brain imaging techniques, location of brain damage can now be accurately determined so the focus has now moved onto the measurement of cognitive and behavioural effects of brain injury.

Assessment can be carried in a number of settings, for example:

Miller1 outlined three broad goals that are usually addressed when neuropsychological tests are used during an assessment. Firstly, diagnosis, to determine the nature of the underlying problem. Secondly, to understand the nature of any brain injury or resulting cognitive problem (see neurocognitive deficit) and its impact on the individual as a means of devising a rehabilitation programme or offering advice as to an individual's ability to carry out a certain tasks (for example, fitness to drive, or returning to work. And lastly, the measurement of change, for example, to determine the consequences of a surgical procedure or the impact of a rehabilitation programme over time.

See also


1Miller, E. (1992) Some basic principles of neuropsychological assessment. In J.R. Crawford, D.M. Parker, W.M. McKinlay (eds) A handbook of neuropsychological assessment. Hove: Laurence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0863772749