Nature, Applications, and Limitations of Neuropsychological Assessment following Traumatic Brain Injury
Neuropsychological assessment can provide information about the personality, behavior, mental abilities, learned skills, and rehabilitation potential of persons who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is a psychological assessment procedure in that its primary data come from behavioral observations and its goal is to enhance understanding of behavior. It is neuropsychological in its use of specialized examination techniques requiring an educated appreciation of brain—behavior relationships and in its goal of elucidating behavioral manifestations of brain functions, both impaired and preserved. It is an assessment procedure in that it involves a comprehensive evaluation of the subject by means of a process that integrates test and other examination findings with information from other sources (e.g., data from the individual’s social, educational, employment, and psychological history). Neuropsychological assessments will usually include direct observations of the subject but may or may not involve formal (i.e., standardized, published) tests (Lezak, 1995). The information obtained through neuropsychological assessment may help clinicians and research scientists to understand the nature of the underlying insult to the brain. In making apparent the neuropsychological competencies and deficiencies of TBI patients and the course of their neuropsychological functioning, appropriate assessments can guide the rehabilitation process.
KeywordsTraumatic Brain Injury Executive Function Prospective Memory Neuropsychological Assessment Traumatic Brain Injury Patient
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