The neuropsychological evaluation is a formal assessment of personality, mood, and cognitive abilities, conducted by a certified neuropsychologist. The purpose of a neuropsychological evaluation is to determine whether a person’s thinking skills, personality, or mood have been affected by some type of neurological disorder. Data produced by the evaluation can provide information leading to a diagnosis of cognitive deficit or can help localize organic abnormalities in the central nervous system.
Examples of cognitive functions that can be assessed with a neuropsychological evaluation include:
Sensory perceptual and motor functions
Auditory and visual processing
Concept formation and problem solving
Planning and organization
Behaviour, emotions, and personality
Speed of processing
There are three main goals of a neuropsychological evaluation. The first goal is to correctly diagnose the nature of a problem if it exists. The second is to understand the nature of a specific brain injury and its impact on an individual’s quality of life, in order to be able to create a rehabilitation program. The third goal is to create a baseline of mental functioning, and to measure any and all changes in functioning over time in order to determine whether or not any rehabilitative efforts have been successful (1).
(1) Crawford, John R., Parker, Denis M. and McKinlay, William W. (1992) “A Handbook of Neuropsychological Assessment“. Hove, UK ; Hillsdale, USA: L. Erlbaum Associates.