Glossary

baseline examination The first in a series of neuropsychological assessments, the results of which are compared with those of subsequent assessments in order to detect changes in neuropsychological status over time.

battery A selection of specific neuropsychological tests intended for use in the context of an assessment.

diagnosis An identification or label denoting that an individual suffers from a specific illness or condition; the art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.

differential diagnosis A list of possible conditions in order of likelihood that could potentially account for a patient's symptoms, findings, and results of examination.

dominant hemisphere The hemisphere of the brain that subserves language functions in an individual.

lesion An area of abnormal brain tissue resulting from injury, disease, or anomalous development.

lesion method The process of inferring a causal brain-behavior relationship based on cognitive or behavioral dysfunction following a specific brain lesion.

limbic system A network of structures deep in the brain important for memory and emotion. Major components relevant to memory functioning include the hippocampus and amygdala.

localization Identification of a specific brain area or network subserving a particular cognitive or behavioral function.

neuropsychological test A standardized procedure designed to elicit a behavioral sample, usually related to a particular cognitive function, that can be used to guide inferences about the integrity of brain function.

process approach A hypothesis-driven method of neuropsycho-logical assessment that tailors the selection of tests to the particular patient, uses test behavior and performance during the examination to inform the subsequent course of the assessment, and incorporates qualitative aspects of testing performance into the process of analysis and diagnostic formulation.

prognosis The anticipated future course of a patient's illness or condition.

psychometric method A means of scientifically quantifying human cognitive abilities, originally designed for the purpose of investigating individual differences.

psychophysics The science of measuring basic perceptual functions; a branch of psychology concerned with the effect of physical processes on mental processes.

reliability The consistency with which a test yields the same results on repeated occasions.

validity The accuracy with which an assessment instrument measures the function it was intended to measure.

Neuropsychology is the science of human behavior based on the function of the brain. Clinical neuropsychology is an applied discipline that uses principles of brain-behavior relationships to evaluate and diagnose abnormality in the realm of behavior and cognition. This process of evaluation and diagnosis, termed "neuropsychological assessment," involves obtaining information about an individual's history and current functioning as well as administering a variety of behavioral measures designed to probe specific cognitive functions. A clinical neuropsychologist analyzes and integrates information collected during the assessment process with the aim of providing diagnostic clarification or helping to guide treatment planning.

Encyclopedia of the Human Brain Volume 3

Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA).

All rights reserved.

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