Journal of behavioral assessment

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 23–41 | Cite as

Methodological and theoretical issues in neuropsychological assessment

  • Gerald Goldstein


While there are philosophical and theoretical differences between neuropsychologists and behavior therapists, it is suggested that a significant reconciliation can be achieved in regard to assessment and treatment of the brain-damaged patient. While brain damage is often viewed as an irreversible disorder, there is evidence that substantial recovery of function can occur, particularly when adequate retraining is provided. There are practical and empirical considerations that suggest that neuropsychological tests are currently the best tools available for behavioral assessment of brain-damaged patients. However, the results of these tests can be used not only diagnostically but also to identify target behavioral deficits that may be rehabilitated through systematic retraining efforts. Such rehabilitation efforts can be optimally planned, implemented, and evaluated through an alliance between the neuropsychologist, who identifies the ability and deficit pattern, and the behavior therapist, who devises and evaluates the retraining program. It is possible that the successes of behavior therapy in numerous clinical and educational applications can be repeated in the cases of brain-damaged patients. However, such success would appear to be contingent on appreciation of the high degree of specificity often seen in neurological deficit patterns and the great complexities involved in the relationships between brain function and behavior.

Key words

neuropsychology rehabilitation planning recovery methodology behavior theory 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Goldstein
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Veterans Administration Medical CenterPittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghUSA

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