Neuropsychologist measure aspects of voluntary cognitive, or brain functioning through the use of a variety of objective standardized tests. The use of such tests makes it possible to compare the individual’s functioning in specific areas statistically to that of other individuals of similar age and educational levels.
The analysis of the pattern of test data provided by neuropsychological assessment can provide evidence of abnormal functioning, or deficits that may be due to brain damage due to injury or disease, and/or that may be related to personality traits and psychiatric disorders. An analysis of the ways in which an individual’s pattern of test findings are similar or dissimilar to those of other persons who have suffered comparable injuries, disabilities or diagnoses, makes it is possible to draw conclusions about the likelihood of the plaintiff’s claims about loss of cognitive functioning and emotional distress, or fitness to function at work or in legal proceedings.
The domains that may be assessed in a neuropsychological assessment include intellectual ability (I.Q.), executive functioning (higher order problem solving, concept formation, planning and organization, mental flexibility, focused attention, inhibition or filtering of responses and impulse control), memory, academic skills, visual-motor, sensory motor and fine motor skills, as well as adaptive functioning, or daily living skills and competency. In addition, neuropsychologists typically assess personality and psychological functioning and include measures that provide evidence of atypical responses, degree of effort in responding and malingering of symptoms or memory functioning.