Lecture 6 - Jan 25.doc

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PSYC211 Lecture 6 - Jan. 25
Neuropsychological Testing:
Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks used to measure a psy-
chological function known to be linked to a particular brain structure or pathway
Memory
Intelligence
Language
Visuoperception
Executive function
Several advantages to neuropsychological assessments:
Clinical diagnosis
Scientific investigation
Provide a basis for caring and counsel for patients
Provide a means of evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and seriousness
of its side effects
Disadvantage
Patients with brain damage are not usually remote to one region/area. Damage
could be spread out
It is very hard to find control subjects; must find subjects with same comparison
to actual tested patients
Approaches to Neuropsychological Testing (I):
Single Test
To detect presence of brain damage
Discriminate patients with psychological problems resulting from structural
rather than functional changes to the brain
Unsuccessful: one test fails to detect the multitude of psychological symptoms
that occur in a single brain-damaged patient
Standardized-Test Battery
To detect presence of brain damage;
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Involved using a ‘set’ of tests, Iowa gambling task, lexical decision task, memo-
ry assessment scales, and several more
Score in each test are added together to form an aggregate
If the aggregate score falls below the designated cutoff, the patient is diag-
nosed with brain damage
Unsuccessful: discriminate between neurological patients and healthy patients,
but not very good at discriminating between neurological patients and psychi-
atric patients
Approaches to Neuropsychological Testing (II):
Customized-Test Battery:
Highly successful; used routinely in hospitals for clinical diagnosis and in the
laboratory for scientific investigation
To characterize the nature of the psychological deficits of each brain-damaged
patient
Starts with a handful of selected tests to provide an indication of the general
neuropsychological impairment
On the basis of the common batter, the patient is subjected to a customized se-
ries of tests to provide more detail of the specific symptoms
Successful: Measure aspects of psychological function
The interpretation of the test does not rely on how well the patients performs on
the test. The focus is on the cognitive strategy the patient employs (brain dam-
age often changes that strategy without lowering the score)
The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS):
Intelligence quotient (IQ) - Poor indicator of brain damage but can be used to make
inferences about general neuropsychological dysfunction
Memory - Not sensitive enough to detect memory problems per se.
Language - Token test (Touch the red square: patient must follow instructions)
Do not mix up WAIS test with IQ, memory deficit (can remember some general
memory), and language
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Language Lateralization: The Sodium Amytal Test
The left hemisphere participates more in language than the right hemisphere
Language lateralization is important to detect before surgery
Sodium amobarbital test - inject anesthetic into left carotid artery or right carotid
artery. Same brain side is anesthetized. Now perform language tests
Language lateralization means that there is a specialization of function where one
brain hemisphere performs more than the other hemisphere
Language Lateralization: Dichotic Listening Task
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Document Summary

Damage could be spread out: it is very hard to find control subjects; must find subjects with same comparison to actual tested patients. The focus is on the cognitive strategy the patient employs (brain dam- age often changes that strategy without lowering the score) Now perform language tests: language lateralization means that there is a specialization of function where one brain hemisphere performs more than the other hemisphere. Animals have to be trained to behave in a fash- ion consistent with the goals of the experiment: seminatural animal learning paradigms, animal exposed to a learning environment that mimics their natural environ- ment. Test assessing species common behaviours (iii): elevated plus maze - a test of anxiety and defensive behaviours, rats who are given a drug happily walk into unknown open space. Amount of time spent in open space is used as a measurement.

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