Article

Clinical Neuropsychology

Bruce Caplan

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0040
Clinical Neuropsychology

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Clinical neuropsychology is the psychological specialty that seeks to elucidate brain-behavior relations through the study of the neurobehavioral consequences of various forms of brain damage or dysfunction in humans. Historically, clinical neuropsychologists were concerned primarily with assessment and diagnosis of brain dysfunction (especially localization of lesions), but recent conceptualizations emphasize evaluation of individuals’ “neuropsychological topography” (i.e., establishing their cognitive strengths and weaknesses) and also encompass rehabilitation of neuropsychological deficits. The assessment aim of clinical neuropsychology is achieved through administration of tests of such cognitive functions as attention, language, perception, memory, and executive abilities, as well as measures of personality and emotional state. These strategies are increasingly applied to medical conditions (e.g., heart failure, diabetes, liver disease) primarily affecting body systems not commonly thought of as “neurological” but which may have consequences for the functional integrity of the brain. Clinical neuropsychological assessment has also come to play an important role in forensic proceedings, especially in personal injury cases where there may be traumatic brain injury–related cognitive decline or those where various forms of competence are at issue. Other contemporary developments involve the use of neuropsychological tests to predict daily life activities (e.g., money management, driving, return to work) and to help shape multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs. This article begins with a brief review of the history of clinical neuropsychology. A section on relevant neuroanatomy addresses the various brain bases of the behavioral phenomena of interest. The growing roster of medical and psychiatric conditions studied with clinical neuropsychological methods is noted and the methods themselves are reviewed, as are the several factors—other than brain functioning—that can influence performance on neuropsychological tests. Recent developments in forensic contributions of neuropsychology and the remediation of cognitive deficits are discussed. The work also provides lists of the major texts and professional journals as well as information about pertinent professional organizations and issues in education and training.

Article.  11137 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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