Neuropsychology

(redirected from neuropsychologist)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

neuropsychology

[¦nu̇r·ō·sī′käl·ə·jē]
(psychology)
A system of psychology based on neurology.

Neuropsychology

 

the branch of psychology that studies the cerebral basis of mental processes and the relation of the processes to the individual systems of the brain. Neuropsychology first developed as a subdivision of neurology.

Over the centuries, idealistic psychology was either based on the assumption that physiological processes and conscious, or mental, processes are parallel or on assumptions about the interaction between physiological and mental processes, which were considered to be independent of each other. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that progress in the study of the brain and advances in the development of clinical neurology raised a question as to the role of the individual regions of the cerebral cortex in mental activity. Noting that such mental processes as vision, hearing, speech, writing, reading, and counting are impaired in man when certain regions of the left hemisphere (which is dominant) of the cortex are injured, neurologists assumed that these cortical regions are the physical centers of the impaired mental processes. In other words, early researchers assumed that mental functions are localized in certain bounded regions of the brain. These assumptions were subsequently elaborated into a formal theory. However, this “psychomorphological” approach was oversimplified.

Modern neuropsychology assumes that the complex forms of mental activity that took shape over the entire course of social development and that represent the most highly developed conscious reflections of reality are not localized in narrowly limited regions, or centers, of the cortex; rather, mental activity is realized through complex functional systems in which jointly operating cerebral regions take part. Each portion of the brain contributes a specific component to this functional system. For example, the brainstem and reticular formation maintain the attentiveness of the cortex and contribute to the maintenance of the waking state. The temporal, parietal, and occipital regions of the cortex constitute an apparatus that receives, processes, and stores modality-specific information. Auditory, tactile, and visual signals reach the primary division of each cortical region, are processed in the more complex “secondary” divisions of these regions, and then are combined and synthesized in “tertiary” zones. Tertiary, or “overlapping,” zones are especially well developed in man.

The frontal, premotor, and motor regions of the cortex are functionally united to formulate complex intentions, to shape the plans and programs of activity by which these intentions are implemented, and finally, to realize such plans through a system of coordinated, constantly controlled movements. In this manner, the entire brain participates in the complex forms of mental activity.

Neuropsychology is crucial to an understanding of the mechanisms of mental processes. In addition, by analyzing the disruptions of mental activity that arise as a result of localized brain injuries, neuropsychologists can diagnose cerebral tumors, hemorrhages, and traumas more accurately. Neuropsychology is the basis for the psychological evaluation of a defect that results from a cerebral injury; it is also the basis for the rehabilitative training that is prescribed by neuropathologists and neurosurgeons.

In the USSR, neuropsychological research is conducted in some laboratories and neurological clinics, as well as in the neuropsychology subdepartment of the psychology department at Moscow State University. Foreign scientists, including H. L. Teuber and K. Pribram in the United States, B. Milner in Canada, O. Zangwill in Great Britain, H. Hécaen in France, and E. Weigel in the German Democratic Republic, have made major contributions to neuropsychology. Neuropsychological research problems are dealt with in such journals as Neuropsychologia, published in Oxford since 1963, and Cortex, published in Milan since 1964. An international society for neuropsychologists has been established.

REFERENCES

Luriia, A. R. Vysshie korkovye funktsii cheloveka, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.
Luriia, A. R. Osnovy neiropsikhologii. Moscow, 1973.
Tonkonogii, I. M. Vvedenie ν klinicheskuiu neiropsikhologiiu. Leningrad, 1973.
Ajuriaguerra, J., and H. Hécaen. Le Cortex cérébral. Paris, 1960.

A. R. LURIIA

References in periodicals archive ?
Bahar Soomekh's Being Open About Kids with Physical Disabilities Sandra Loo, PhD - Pediatric Neuropsychologist Angela Gonzales, MD - Dyslexia & ADD Specialist Edward Hallowell - ADHD Specialist, & Author Jerome Schultz, PhD - Clinical Neuropsychologist Sally Shaywitz, MD - Yale University's Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
AT HOME - Nicolle's parents Joan and Derek just after her mum left hospital CHARITY - Alister Berry, neuropsychologist at Momentum, Newcastle STUDY - Ava Easton, Encephalitis Society
Besides the neuropsychologist, anyone involved with counseling or treatment of offender populations would profit from Robert Denney's chapter "Assessment of Malingering in Criminal Forensic Neuropsychological Settings.
The choice of assessment techniques for any given patient should be left up to the neuropsychologist, he added.
Neuropsychologists are experts in evaluating cognitive problems and developing compensating strategies for them.
A team of researchers, including a University of Missouri-Columbia neuropsychologist, found that Baron Manfred von Richthofen never would have put himself in the position to be killed that day had he not suffered a severe head injury nine months earlier.
Don Brechin, a consultant neuropsychologist for Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust, is reviewing the resources in the County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority Area.
Most women in midlife are concerned about a decline in their memory and mental skills," says Pauline Maki, a cognitive neuropsychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Also this week, Irishman Connor finds a novel way of staying in the country and Harold seeks help from a neuropsychologist.
Neuropsychologist Joanne Rovet of Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children looks for windows of vulnerability by studying mothers and children with thyroid disorders.