Doing and Reporting a Neuropsychological Assessment1

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. The process of neuropsychological assessment involves several stages. Having identified the objectives and analysed the characteristics of the participants to be tested the task is then to select appropriate tests and to administer, score and interpret them. The final stage involves writing the clinical or scientific report. The present paper begins with a brief overview of the history of neuropsychology and considers approaches to assessment and the main reference books on assessment. The most prestigious journals in the field are also listed. This is followed by a discussion of the most important aspects to be considered in each stage of clinical assessment or research, complemented by guidelines regarding the publication of neuropsychological assessments; mainly in relation to method - participants, assessment, statistical analysis - and results. This information is also presented in the form of a table in which a distinction is made between those aspects which are considered essential to include when writing a paper about neuropsychological assessment and those which are recommended.

KEYWORDS. Neuropsychological assessment. Neuropsychological tests. Administration. Interpretation. Theoretical study.

RESUMEN. El proceso de la evaluación neuropsicológica implica varios estadios. Primero se identifican los objetivos y se analizan las características de los participantes que van a ser evaluados y después se seleccionan las pruebas, se administran, corrigen e interpretan. El último paso es la redacción de un informe clínico o científico. El presente trabajo comienza con una breve reseña de la historia de la neuropsicología, considera los enfoques de la evaluación y los principales manuales de referencia en evaluación. También se listan las mejores revistas de la especialidad. Continúa con un apartado en el que se explican los aspectos más relevantes para las distintas fases de la evaluación clínica o de investigación y finaliza exponiendo unas pautas sobre aspectos específicos de la publicación de evaluaciones neuropsicológicas, principalmente en relación a los apartados de método - participantes, evaluación, análisis estadístico- y resultados. Esta información se puede consultar en una tabla anexa en la que se diferencia entre la información que consideramos necesaria para publicar sobre evaluación neuropsicológica y aquélla aconsejable aunque no imprescindible.

PALABRAS CLAVE. Evaluación neuropsicológica. Tests neuropsicológicos. Administración. Interpretación. Estudio teórico.

The term neuropsychology was first used in 1913, and by the 1940s it had already acquired a specific meaning. This led in 1967 to the creation of the International Neuropsychological Society, which currently has over 4,500 members, mostly clinical neuropsychologists but also researchers and associated professionals. In 1980 the American Psychological Association (APA) established the Division of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40), which was followed in 1987 by the definition of the specialty and its competencies. The Houston Conference of 1988 saw a redefinition of the specialty, its competencies, the basic training required and the accreditation procedures, and produced the following description: «A clinical neuropsychologist is a professional psychologist trained in the science of brain-behaviour relationships. The clinical neuropsychologist specializes in the application of assessment and intervention principles based on the scientific study of human behaviour across the life span as it relates to normal and abnormal functioning of the human central nervous system» (Executive Committee of Division 40 of the APA, 1989).

In the North America clinical neuropsychological assessment emerged out of the field of psychology and its interest in following standardized procedures. At the same time, however, a school of neuropsychology was developed in Russia by Alexander Romanovich Luria, who had been trained in neurology and psychoanalysis. …