Neuropsychological test

Neuropsychological test
Neuropsychological test
MeSH D009483

Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks used to measure a psychological function known to be linked to a particular brain structure or pathway. Tests are used for research into brain function and in a clinical setting for the diagnosis of deficits. They usually involve the systematic administration of clearly defined procedures in a formal environment. Neuropsychological tests are typically administered to a single person working with an examiner in a quiet office environment, free from distractions. As such, it can be argued that neuropsychological tests at times offer an estimate of a person's peak level of cognitive performance. Neuropsychological tests are a core component of the process of conducting neuropsychological assessment, along with personal, interpersonal and contextual factors.

Most neuropsychological tests in current use are based on traditional psychometric theory. In this model, a person's raw score on a test is compared to a large general population normative sample, that should ideally be drawn from a comparable population to the person being examined. Normative studies frequently provide data stratified by age, level of education, and/or ethnicity, where such factors have been shown by research to affect performance on a particular test. This allows for a person's performance to be compared to a suitable control group, and thus provide a fair assessment of their current cognitive function.


Categories of neuropsychological tests

Most forms of cognition actually involve multiple cognitive functions working in unison, however tests can be organised into broad categories based on the cognitive function which they predominantly assess.[1]


Intelligence testing in a research context is relatively more straightforward than in a clinical context. In research, intelligence is tested and results are generally as obtained, however in a clinical setting intelligence maybe impaired. The presence of impairment can be determined through a number of methods which include: Comparison of test results to expected achievement levels based on prior education and occupation. The use of hold tests which are based on cognitive faculties which are generally good indicators of intelligence and thought to be more resistant to cognitive damage, e.g. language.


Memory is a very broad ability which includes several types of memory which can be selectively impaired. If there are indications that memory maybe impaired, tests focussing on specific types of memory or a more thorough battery of memory tests is required to accurately define exactly what memory processes have been impaired.

  • California Verbal Learning Test
  • Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT)
  • Doors and People
  • Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test
  • Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test
  • Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL)
  • Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM)
  • Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)


Language functions include speech, reading and writing, all of which can be selectively impaired.

Executive Function

Executive functions are an umbrella term for a various cognitive processes and sub-processes.[2] The executive functions include: problem solving, planning, organisational skills, selective attention, inhibitory control and some aspects of short term memory.[3]

Dementia specific

Dementia testing is often done by way of testing the cognitive functions that are most often impaired by the disease e.g. memory, orientation, language and problem solving. Tests such as these are by no means conclusive of deficits, but may give a good indication as to the presence or severity of dementia.

Batteries assessing multiple neuropsychological function

There are some test batteries which combine a range of tests to provide an overview of cognitive skills. These are usually good early tests to rule out problems in certain functions and provide an indication of functions which may need to be tested more specifically.

  • Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)
  • Cognistat (The Neurobehavioral Cognitive Status Examination)
  • Cognitive Assessment Screening Instrument (CASI)
  • Cognitive Function Scanner (CFS)
  • Dean-Woodcock Neuropsychology Assessment System (DWNAS)
  • General Practitioner Assessment Of Cognition (GPCOG)
  • Hooper Visual Organization Test
  • Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological battery
  • MicroCog
  • Mini mental state examination (MMSE)
  • Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status
  • CDR Computerized Assessment System

See also


  1. ^ Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Loring, D. W., Hannay, H. J. & Fischer, J. S. (2004). Neuropsychological Assessment, 4th ed.. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195111217. 
  2. ^ Elliot R. (2003). "Executive functions and their disorders". British Medical Bulletin 65 (1): 49–59. doi:10.1093/bmb/ldg65.049. 
  3. ^ Morgan, A. B. & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2000). "A meta-analytic review of the relation between antisocial behaviours and neuropsychological measures of executive function". Clinical Psychology Review 20 (1): 113–136. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(98)00096-8. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Neuropsychological assessment — Neuropsychology Topics Brain computer interface …   Wikipedia

  • test — 1. To prove; to try a substance; to determine the chemical nature of a substance by means of reagents. 2. A method of examination, as to determine the presence or absence of a definite disease or of some substance in any of the fluids, tissues,… …   Medical dictionary

  • Digit symbol substitution test — DSST is a neuropsychological test sensitive to brain damage, dementia, age and depression. It isn’t sensitive to the location of brain damage (except for damage comprising part of the visual field)[1]. It consists of (e.g. nine) digit symbol… …   Wikipedia

  • Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test — (PASAT) is a neuropsychological test, used to assess capacity and rate of information processing and sustained and divided attention [1]. Originally the test was known as the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT). The subjects are given in… …   Wikipedia

  • Personality test — Diagnostics The four temperaments as illustrated by Johann Kaspar Lavater MeSH …   Wikipedia

  • Computerized neuropsychological assessment — helps neuropsychologists and psychologists to assess functions relative to possible brain damage using a software. For more information about the tests, see Neuropsychological tests. Contents 1 Available packages 2 Computerized versus Traditional …   Wikipedia

  • Cognitive test — Cognitive tests are assessments of the cognitive capabilities of humans and animals. Tests administered to humans include various forms of IQ tests; those administered to animals include the mirror test (a test of visual self awareness) and the T …   Wikipedia

  • Digit Cancellation Test — A neuropsychological test used in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The subject gets one of more digits s/he has to cross out from a list of numbers. The resulting score consists of the correctly crossed out numbers minus the incorrectly… …   Wikipedia

  • Thurston Word Fluency Test — The Thurstone Word Fluency Test, also known as the Chicago Word Fluency Test,[1] was developed by Louis Thurstone in 1938 [2] The test is used to measure an individual s symbolic verbal fluency.[3][4][5] The test ask the subject to write as many… …   Wikipedia

  • National Adult Reading Test — The National Adult Reading Test (NART) is a widely accepted and commonly used method in clinical settings for estimating premorbid intelligence levels of English speaking patients with dementia in neuropsychological research[1]. It was developed… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”