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Unformatted text preview: Neuropsychological testing Definition Clinical neuropsychology is a field with historical origins in both psychology and neurology. The primary activity of neuropsychologists is assessment of brain functioning through structured and systematic behavioral observation. Neuropsychological tests are designed to examine a variety of cognitive abilities, including speed of information processing, attention, memory, language, and executive functions, which are necessary for goal-directed behavior. By testing a range of cognitive abilities and examining patterns of performance in different cognitive areas, neuropsychologists can make inferences about underlying brain function. Neuropsychological testing is an important component of the assessment and treatment of traumatic brain injury, dementia , neurological conditions, and psychiatric disorders. Neuropsychological testing is also an important tool for examining the effects of toxic substances and medical conditions on brain functioning. Description As early as the seventeenth century, scientists theorized about associations between regions of the brain and specific functions. The French philosopher, Descartes, believed the human soul could be localized to a specific brain structure, the pineal gland. In the eighteenth century, Franz Gall advocated the theory that specific mental qualities such as spirituality or aggression were governed by discrete parts of the brain. In contrast, Pierre Flourens contended that the brain was an integrated system that governed cognitive functioning in a holistic manner. Later discoveries indicated that brain function is both localized and integrated. Paul Broca and Karl Wernicke furthered understanding of localization and integration of function when they reported the loss of language abilities in patients with lesions to two regions in the left hemisphere of the brain. language abilities in patients with lesions to two regions in the left hemisphere of the brain....
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2012 for the course PSY PSY2012 taught by Professor Scheff during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.
- Fall '09