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Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology is a specialty of psychology that
studies the relationship between the brain and cognition
(thinking), emotions, and behavior. Psychology is the
study and profession concerning behavior and the
related functions and processes of both the mind and
body, in human and non-human animals. Psychologists
who specialize in neuropsychology are known as
neuropsychologists. In clinical settings, the practice of
neuropsychology involves administering objective tests
to patients, the results of which are compared against
normal controls.
 
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Normal controls are groups of people with no known history of brain damage or other
conditions that would reasonably be expected to negatively affect brain functioning. The
test results are compared to normal controls of the same age and, when relevant, to
those of the same educational background and/or gender. Some tests even allow for
patients to be compared against members of their same race/ethnicity, although this
practice is somewhat controversial. By comparing test results against normal controls,
this allows the neuropsychologist to determine how close or far away the performance is
from what would be expected. Neuropsychological tests generally comprise the following
areas: sensori-motor functioning, language, visual-spatial functioning, learning/memory,
attention/concentration, processing speed (thinking speed), and executive functioning.
Executive functioning is a broad concept that refers to higher level thinking skills such as
planning, organization, abstract thinking, response suppression, and multi-tasking. 
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Sometimes, intelligence tests (IQ tests) are administered as are tests
of academic achievement (e.g., reading, reading comprehension,
spelling, written expression and math). Tests of personality and
emotional functioning are generally used as well since problems in
these areas can negatively affect thinking skills and mimic or worsen a
genuine neurological problem. Usually, neuropsychology is used to
quantify a patientís pattern of strength and weaknesses in those with
a known neurological condition such as traumatic brain injury or
multiple sclerosis. Since neuropsychological tests assess different
regions of the brain, the test results can indicate if brain functioning is
affected in one area more than another.
For example, executive functioning is primarily controlled by the frontal lobes (brain tissue in the front part
of the brain, behind the forehead). Thus, poor performance on these tests can mean that the frontal lobes
are damaged. Since the left hemisphere controls language in most people, poor performance on verbal
executive functioning tests can indicate damage to the left frontal lobe. Making such determinations
requires a comprehensive integration of the test performance, statistics, knowledge of the patientís
history, behavioral observations, knowledge of the patientís known or suspected pathological condition,
and other factors.

In some cases, neuropsychology is used to help diagnose specific disorders of the brain such as
Alzheimerís disease. The techniques used in neuropsychology can be used with children and adults and
can help answer specific questions such as can a patient drive, is a patient disabled, does the patient
need academic and/or vocational accommodations, and/or is a patient competent to manage financial
matters or make medical decisions, to name a few.

Tests in neuropsychology can be repeated to measure recovery from brain damage or monitor the
progression of neurological conditions affecting the brain. Neuropsychology assessments can also be
used to develop strategies to rehabilitate (make better) or compensate for existing deficits in
neurologically compromised individuals. They can also be used to help guide medical treatment (e.g.,
medication selection) and to determine if psychological counseling is needed in addition to (or as opposed
to) treatment in the physical realm.

Neuropsychologic and neuropsychological mean pertaining to neuropsychology. Neuropsychology comes
from the Greek word "neuron" meaning "nerve," the Greek word "psyche" meaning "mind," and the Greek
word "logos" meaning "the study of." Put the words together and you have "the study of (the) mind (and)
nerves."