Neuropsychology refers to the branch of science that examines the brain’s structures and its functions, specifically how those biological bases impact behavior and a person’s psychology. Largely experimental, neuropsychology seeks to define the relationship between the human nervous system and the brain’s cognition.
There are two main branches of the science of Neuropsychology:
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Cognitive Neuropsychology
- Brain Structure
- Function of Structures
Clinical neuropsychology involves studying the relationship between the brain and behavior. Scientists will often undertake a neuropsychological assessment of an individual in order to evaluate cognitive function. Neuropsychological assessment is critical in the diagnoses of such conditions as Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are several methods by which doctors undertake an assessment following suspected brain damage, including medical history, interview of the patient, and batteries of psychological tests, including the testing of motor functions, processing or problem solving.
Cognitive neuropsychology studies how brain structure impacts an individual’s psychological process. This branch of science has been particularly insightful in identifying which areas of the brain control specific functions, such as speech or memory. By understanding how a damaged brain can impair certain functions, the specialized nature of the brain structures can be better understood.