Dr. Yogita Chudasama
Stewart Biology, Room N8/4
The text reference for this lecture is posted
on WebCT. You will NOT find a chapter
devoted to the topic of this lecture in your
! Neuropsychological tests are speciﬁcally designed tasks used to
measure a psychological function known to be linked to a particular
brain structure or pathway."
! Executive function"
! Several advantages to neurospychological assessments:"
! Clinical diagnosis"
! Scientiﬁc investigation"
! Provide a basis for caring and counseling for patients"
! Provide a means of evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and
seriousness of its side effects"
Approaches to Neuropsychological Testing (I)
! To detect presence of brain
! 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
! To detect presence of brain damage;
! Involved using a ‘set’ of tests.
! E.g. California verbal learning test,
Iowa gambling task, lexical decision
task, memory 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
diagnosed with brain damage.
! Unsuccessful: discriminate between
neurological patients and healthy
patients, but not very good at
discriminating between neurological
patients and psychiatric patients.
! Highly successful; used routinely in hospitals for clinical diagnosis and in
the laboratory for scientific investigation.
! To characterise the nature of the psychological deficits of each brain-
! Starts with a handful of selected tests to provide an indication of the
general neuropsychological impairment.
! On the basis of the common battery, the patient is subjected to a
customised series of tests to provide more detail of the specific symptoms.
Approaches to Neuropsychological Testing (II)
! 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
damage 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)
The Sodium Amytal Test (Wada and Rasmussen, 1960)
! The left hemisphere participates more
in language than the right hemisphere
! Language lateralisation is important
to detect before surgery