A Cognitive Framework for Neuropsychological Assessment

  • Robert L. Mapou
Part of the Critical Issues in Neuropsychology book series (CINP)


Over the past decade, the emphasis of clinical neuropsychological assessment has shifted from lesion detection and localization to delineation of a patient’s cognitive strengths and deficits (Hartman, 1991; Leonberger, 1989; Mapou, 1988b), in order to understand a patient’s neurobehavioral competencies. Because of this increased focus on the patterns of cognitive dysfunction associated with brain disorder, it has become increasingly important to base neuropsychological assessment on empirical knowledge of human cognition. Yet, research on cognition is not always applied to clinical assessment. The frequently nonconverging paths of cognitive and clinical neuropsychology, as related to the current state of the field, have recently been described by Butters (1993):

[The] rapid growth of interest in neuropsychological issues... has also led to the emergence of two factions or subdivisions of the discipline, that is, clinical and cognitive neuropsychology. Those who compose the cognitive camp often have their origins in experimental psychology or behavioral neuroscience and utilize brain-damaged patients for uncovering the anatomical and cognitive processes underlying normal language, attentionâl, visuoperceptual, executive, and memory functions. In contrast, those who view themselves as clinical psychologists emanate primarily from Boulder-model clincal psychology programs and tend to focus their neuropsychological research on various assessment issues. Unfortunately, cognitive neuropsychologists frequently ignore the importance of their work for the identification and rehabilitation of neurologic disorders; likewise, clinical neuropsychologists dedicated to their fixed or flexible test batteries have generally eschewed the implications of their work for our understanding of normal cognition. (Butters, 1993, p. 3)


Neuropsychological Assessment Reasoning Ability Cognitive Framework Auditory Verbal Learn Clinical Neuropsychologist 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Mapou
    • 1
  1. 1.Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military MedicineWalter Reed Army Medical CenterUSA

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