Assessing Cognitive Function: A Guide to Neuropsychological Testing

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Neuropsychology is a discipline that studies brain-behavior relations through laboratory testing of behavior. Neuropsychologists develop a comprehensive clinical description of the person's cognitive processes and their implications for everyday behavior. Nurses can use the results of neuropsychological assessments as an objective source of information when planning care for clients who are cognitively impaired. This article provides an introduction to neuropsychology as a discipline, to its tests, and to its methods of assessment and interpretation. Two standard test batteries, the Halstead-Reitan Battery and the Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological Battery, are described. Special tests for many cognitive functions—such as attention, executive functions, sensation and perception, motor performance, memory, language, and intelligence—also are described.

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