They usually involve the systematic administration of clearly defined procedures in a formal environment. Neuropsychological tests are typically administered to a single person working with an examiner in a quiet office environment, free from distractions. As such, it can be argued that neuropsychological tests at times offer an estimate of a person’s peak level of cognitive performance. Seidman, the analysis of the wide range clinical neuropsychology heilman pdf neuropsychological tests can be broken down into four categories.
First is an analysis of overall performance, or how well people do from test to test along with how they perform in comparison to the average score. Second is left-right comparisons: how well a person performs on specific tasks that deal with the left and right side of the body. Third is pathognomic signs, or specific test results that directly relate to a distinct disorder. Finally, the last category is differential patterns, which are strange test scores that are typical for specific diseases or types of damage. Most forms of cognition actually involve multiple cognitive functions working in unison, however tests can be organised into broad categories based on the cognitive function which they predominantly assess. Some tests appear under multiple headings as different versions and aspects of tests can be used to assess different functions. In research, intelligence is tested and results are generally as obtained, however in a clinical setting intelligence may be impaired so estimates are required for comparison with obtained results.
There is disagreement as to the number of memory systems, depending on the psychological perspective taken. From a clinical perspective, a view of five distinct types of memory, is in most cases sufficient. Language functions include speech, reading and writing, all of which can be selectively impaired. The executive functions include: problem solving, planning, organizational skills, selective attention, inhibitory control and some aspects of short term memory. Neuropsychological tests of visuospatial function should cover the areas of visual perception, visual construction and visual integration.
Tests such as these are by no means conclusive of deficits, but may give a good indication as to the presence or severity of dementia. There are some test batteries which combine a range of tests to provide an overview of cognitive skills. These are usually good early tests to rule out problems in certain functions and provide an indication of functions which may need to be tested more specifically. This allows for accurate treatment later on in the process because treatment is driven by the exact symptoms of the disorder and how a specific patient may react to different treatments. The assessment allows the psychologist and patient to understand the severity of the deficit and to allow better decision-making by both parties. It is also helpful in understanding deteriorating diseases because the patient can be assessed multiple times to see how the disorder is progressing. SAGE Benchmarks in Psychology: Psychological Assessment, Vol.
New York: Cambridge University Press. Executive functions and their disorders”. A meta-analytic review of the relation between antisocial behaviours and neuropsychological measures of executive function”. New York: Oxford University Press. This standard reference book includes entries by Kimford J.