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Unit information: Applied Clinical Neuropsychology and Principles of Neuropsychological Assessment in 2016/17

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Unit name Applied Clinical Neuropsychology and Principles of Neuropsychological Assessment
Unit code PSYCM0045
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Kit Pleydell-Pearce
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


Part A: Assessment in Clinical Neuropsychology

Part A aims to develop an advanced understanding of contemporary applied neuropsychological assessment. Candidates will develop an understanding of psychometric theory and how psychometric principles influence clinical decision making and the meaning of results derived from an assessment. Candidates will be introduced to contemporary test instruments, both cognitive and non-cognitive as well as non-standardised methods of assessment. Candidates will learn how to interpret and ‘understand’ the results of their assessments in relation to brain damage / disease. Candidates will develop a logical and systematic approach to interpretation of neuropsychological assessment results and will develop the ability to communicate these results. Candidates will develop the skill of effective report writing for different audiences. Throughout the unit moral, ethical and legal aspects of clinical practice will be considered.

Part A also aims to fulfil part of the syllabus requirements for the British Psychological Society diploma in clinical neuropsychology and to provide candidates with a contemporary understanding of the process, procedures and considerations required to conduct a valid applied neuropsychological assessment. Specifically Part A aims:

  1. To teach candidates about how psychometric concepts and research are applied in the clinical setting to the real world problems clinician’s face in their practice.
  2. To give candidates an understanding and competent familiarity with a range of assessment tools typically used in clinical practice.
  3. To guide candidates in developing an understanding of how clinicians choose, use and interpret assessment tools depending on the clinical question they face, the nature of the patient they are assessing and the intention of the assessment.
  4. To help candidates develop an understanding of the role that results of neuropsychological assessment can have in the care of a patient principally within a contemporary NHS setting.
  5. To help candidates develop their ability to communicate the results of their assessment to a variety of audiences within the clinical setting, e.g. referring doctors, patients and relatives.
  6. To help candidates develop an awareness of the moral, ethical and legal considerations relevant to clinical practice within neuropsychology.

Part B: Applied Neuropsychology

Part B provides an opportunity to partake in lectures provided by active clinicians who work in an NHS Neuropsychology Department. The Unit will cover key aspects of neuropsychological practice including teaching on neuroanatomy, neuropathology, neuropsychological assessment and an introduction to rehabilitation. The unit will also provide candidates with a contemporary neuropsychological understanding of a range of conditions commonly encountered in clinical practice including traumatic brain injury, movement disorders, epilepsy, stroke and dementia. In addition, the unit will examine the manner in which Neuropsychologists can best interact with other professionals (e.g. medical and therapist colleagues as well as professionals outside of health, e.g. social services). While the unit has an applied component, lectures will also reinforce knowledge in functional neuroanatomy and theories of cerebral function. The unit is composed of 10 lectures, each lasting 2 hours over ten weeks. Lectures can be accessed remotely using Adobe Connect. The aim of the unit is to provide a thorough grounding in applied Clinical Neuropsychology. Students will learn how knowledge of neuropsychological theory, functional neuroanatomy and technical approaches to studying the brain are used within a medical context.

Intended learning outcomes

Part A:

The principal learning outcome is to develop competence in clinical assessment, and the communication of the results of such assessment, to a variety of audiences.

Part B:

At the end of the unit, candidates will have an understanding of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to patient assessment. They will also understand how results of assessment are employed within a clinical and medical setting, and how cooperation and interaction between different NHS teams is critical for patient treatment and investigation. Candidates will also be given insights into a range of neuropsychological disorders (including various forms of dementia and paediatric neuropsychology).

Teaching details

Content of all lectures and presentations in this UNIT will be broadcast live over the unit (and recorded for later re-play for revision purposes). Candidates are free to attend in person but the majority of Part A and B are provided via distance learning web interface tools (Adobe Connect).

Part A:

10 x 2 hour lectures provided by clinical subject matter experts.

Part B:

10 x 2 hour lectures provided by clinical subject matter experts.

Assessment Details

Part A: 3 hour examination to include long answer questions, short answer questions and multiple choice questionnaire. Each section is equally weighted and the exam provides 66% of the total unit mark.

Part B: 2000 word essay on a topic covered in the Part B which provides 34% of total unit mark.

Reading and References

Part A:

  • Clinicians guide to neuropsychological assessment (2000) Vanderploeg. Psychology Press 2nd edition.
  • Neuropsychology: From Theory to Practice. (2002) Andrewes. Psychology press (2014 edition pre-ordered).
  • Forensic Neuropsychology: A Scientific Approach. (2011). Larrabee. Oxford University Press
  • Principles of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurology. (2000). Mesulam. Oxford University Press
  • Clinical Interpretation of the WAIS-III and WMS-III. (2003). Tulsky. Academic Press.
  • MMPI-2-RF Manual and Technical Manual. Pearson Assessments.

Part B:

  • Lezak, M. (2012). Neuropsychological Assessment. Oxford University Press.
  • Kolb, B. and Wishaw, I.Q. (2009). Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. Worth Publishers, New York (5thEdition).
  • Feinberg, T. E. & Farah, M. J., editors (2003). Behavioural Neurology and Neuropsychology. New York: McGraw-Hill (Second Edition).
  • Richards, D., Clark, T. & Clarke, C. (2007). The Human Brain and its disorders. Oxford University Press.
  • White, C. Cognitive behaviour therapy for chronic medical problems (2001). Wiley Trevor Powell (2004). Head Injury: A practical guide.
  • Andrewes, D. (2002) Neuropsychology: From theory to practice. Psychology Press, Taylor & Francis. (2014 edition pre-ordered).
  • Vanderploeg, R.D. (Ed.). (2000) Clinician's guide to neuropsychological assesment. Oxford University Press.

The following two books provide advanced and detailed treatments of a number of key topics raised in the seminars. These are not introductory readings but are included here for those who wish to undertake early advanced reading:

  • A Paul-Meehl reader: Essays on the practice of scientific psychology (2006). Edited by Niels G Waller, Leslie J Yonce, William M Grove, David Faust, Mark F Lenzenweger. Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis.

Contemporay intellectual assessment: Theories tests and issues (2012). Flanagan, J. L. Genshaft & P. L. Harrison (Eds) Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests and Issues (New York, Guilford Press)