Components of the Neuropsychological Evaluation
Neuropsychological evaluation examines brain–behavior relationships as they pertain to cognitive, emotional and behavioral manifestations of central nervous system trauma, disease or dysfunction. Neuropsychological evaluation includes examination of sensory, motor and perceptual functioning as prerequisite for evaluation of increasingly complex cognitive, emotional and behavioral functions. Evaluation is typically on an ordinal scale (i.e., impaired/non-impaired) for sensory and perceptual skills and progresses to an integral scale for more complex functions (i.e., percentile relative to normative group). Rapid bedside or interview assessment of functions such as attention, language and memory can be done; however, it is important to note a brief evaluation will yield less precise information than formal testing. Brief evaluation has several advantages. These evaluations are quick to perform and can be repeated as necessary to mark progress or suspected deterioration. Information from such evaluations are typically used to assist in patient management, set immediate goals and assist in treatment planning. In later chapters, we discuss brief assessment methods in each domain of cognition.
Further details regarding the interpretive process, prerequisite knowledge base for adequate neuropsychological evaluations, psychometric principles guiding interpretation of neuropsychological psychometrically-derived data, and common errors in interpretation can be found throughout this book, but particularly Chapters. 1, 2, and 29– 31). Sample neuropsychological reports are provided in Chapter. 1, Appendix A.