According Dictionary.com, neuropsychology refers to the branch of psychology that deals with the relationship between the nervous system, especially the brain, and cerebral or mental functions such as language, memory, and perception.
In this assignment we will examine how neuropsychology is defined in all of its contexts in order to understand how it is applied practically, why it is an important sub-discipline within the field of psychology as well as the relevance and significance of knowledge in this field as a registered counsellor. We will explore the historical development of this field as well as the neuropsychological assessments used.
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In the 1860s, Paul Broca, a French neurologist, made the discovery that the two brain hemispheres have different functions such as with his patient “Tan” who sustained damage to the left side of the brain and thus lost his ability to speak, save for the word “tan”. While Broca’s area is critical in language processing, Carl Wernicke, a German neurologist, linked a specific part of the brain to speech (Banich & Compton, 2011). In the late 1950s, extensive research confirmed Broca and Wernicke’s findings on hemisphere specialization. It was in the 1970s and 1980s however with the invention of MRI’s, EEG’s, CAT scans and CT scanners that detailed mapping of the brain took place.
Differentiation between Clinical, Experimental and Cognitive Neuropsychology
Clinical neuropsychology concerns itself mainly with the identification and assessment of psychological functioning in patients who have sustained damage or developed lesions on the brain. Lesions or damage to the brain can be sustained in multiple ways such as disease, tumours, toxic substances or trauma. The aim of Clinical Neuropsychology is to measure and identify possible deficits in normal psychological functioning by means of formal and specialized testing procedures. The objective is to correlate results between the psychological deficit and a specific region in the brain. The role of a Clinical neuropsychologist is significant as they play a crucial part in aiding the diagnoses of a patient as well as their rehabilitation.
Experimental Neuropsychologists on the other hand work specifically with regular subjects with no apparent psychological deficits. This is one of the more contemporary branches of neuropsychology to develop. It requires subjects to participate in a variety of tasks in which the results are recorded for the speed and accuracy in which they are performed. This allows for Experimental Neuropsychologists to create an average and a set of standards that are used as a comparison as well as to allow for inferences to be made regarding the organization of the brain.
Cognitive Neuropsychology is a relatively new sub-discipline of Cognitive Psychology that was developed during the 1970’s. It concerns itself...