Neuropsychologist Arthur Benton best-described neuropsychology as “a refinement of clinical neurological and behavioural observation [that] serving the function of enhancing clinical observation [and] is closely allied to clinical neurological and psychological evaluation, and in fact, can be considered to be a special form of it” (1975). 

Today, the American Psychological Society depicts Neuropsychology as ‘a specialty field within clinical psychology, dedicated to understanding the relationships between brain and cognition, brain and behavior, particularly as these relationships can be applied to the diagnosis of brain disorder, assessment of cognitive and behavioral functioning and the design of effective treatment’ (2021).

Neuropsychological assessment is frequently used for Neuroscience research. For example, neuropsychologists carry out early identification of various dementias, since they are primarily diagnosed based on patterns of clear cognitive declines and behavioral disturbances.

Another example is the neuropsychology of bipolar disorder, however, which has received generally less study than that of depression or schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that a broad range of cognitive abilities are impaired during bipolar episodes, including attention, memory, and executive function.

Neuropsychological assessment, therefore, aims to extend the neurological and psychological examination by:

(1) providing information for differential diagnosis (looking at the possible disorders that could underlie symptoms as many different disorders cause similar symptoms (e.g. anxiety, sleep issues);

(2) identifying the emotional, behavioural and cognitive, emotional deficits of disease or injury and characterising their severity;

(3) intervention and functional needs such as guiding treatment by using test results to select effective rehabilitation strategies;

(4) determining functional capacity and decision-making abilities for level-of-care decisions, driving and work capacity

(5) assessing medication cognitive side effects, and establishing candidacy for surgical procedures; and

(6) monitoring cognitive changes and treatment effectiveness across time.