Assessing Cognitive Function: A Guide to Neuropsychological Testing


  • Kathleen N. Bondy PhD RN CRRN

    Professor, Fellow In Rehabilitation Research, Corresponding author
      University of Central Arkansas, Department of Nursing, Conway, AR 72035.
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    • When this article was written, Kathleen Bondy was a fellow in rehabilitation research at the University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. She now is a professor of nursing at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR.

University of Central Arkansas, Department of Nursing, Conway, AR 72035.


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.