What is Neuropsychological Testing?
neuropsychological assessment process includes the administration of a battery
of specific tests which have been designed to evaluate the patient's abilities
in the following areas: attention, concentration, perception, learning, memory,
language, visual-spatial skills, motor skills, higher order motor skills,
planning, organizational skills, behavioral regulation skills, cognitive
flexibility, abstract and conceptual skills, problem solving, and judgment. In
addition, the neuropsychological examination frequently includes tests to
evaluate the patient's personality and emotional functioning.
The specific tests chosen to evaluate these functions depends largely upon the training, experience, and expertise of the clinical psychologist or neuropsychologist. While some neuropsychologists routinely administer standardized neuropsychological batteries, such as the Halstead-Reitan or the Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological Batteries, the majority of neuropsychologists administer what has been termed "flexible batteries" (Sweet and Moberg, 1990), which are a composite of different tests that have been selected for any of the following reasons: the cultural and linguistic background of the patient, the specific type of problems created by the patient's injury, the complaints of the patient and/or significant others, time since injury, specific referral questions or issues (e.g., rule out organicity, determine if this patient is capable of returning to school on a full-time basis, etc.), specific tests the patient has been administered in the past, the duration of time since previous testing, specific medicolegal issues (e.g., Is this patient malingering?), the patient's perceptual and motor skills (e.g., The patient may be visually impaired, deaf, or may be unable to use his or her right arm), current emotional or psychiatric problems (e.g., The patient may be severely depressed or psychotic), the amount of time allotted for assessment, the patient's endurance and tendency to fatigue, and the particular patient/examiner interaction (e.g., The examiner may notice a particular cognitive impairment during the administration of one test which may result in the administration of another test to explore this impairment).