Psychological and Neuropsychological Testing
Psychological and neuropsychological tests are standard instru-ments used to measure specific aspects of mental functioning. They are usually administered by psychologists or other profes-sionals who have been trained in their use and interpretation. In most cases, several tests, often referred to as a battery, are per-formed together. These test results must then be interpreted in the context of the broad clinical picture of the patient.
Because of the time and expense involved, testing is usu-ally reserved for situations in which there is some uncertainty about a patient’s diagnosis, cognitive capacity, or psychological functioning. There are, however, times when psychological test-ing is essential, for example, IQ testing to establish the severity of mental retardation. In addition, giving simple tests of cognitive functioning, such as asking the patient to copy Bender Gestalt diagrams (Figure 19.2), can be helpful as one aspect of assessing central nervous system impairment caused by a medical condi-tion. Psychological and neuropsychological testing can be par-ticularly useful in the assessment of children with academic or behavioral difficulties in school. Table 19.9 lists some of the most commonly used tests.