Written by Julie Taylor
Neuropsychology is a fascinating blend of psychology and neuroscience that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relate to specific psychological processes, brain plasticity (the ability of the brain to rewire) and overt behaviors. It is scientific in its approach and shares an information processing view of the mind with cognitive psychology and cognitive science.
In practical terms, from a ReBuildingYou viewpoint, neuropsychology explores and explains the effect of injury and damage to various parts of the brain and attempts to understand how damage occurs, what rebuilding and rewiring of the brain is possible and how best to ameliorate any damage that can’t be rewired.
Neuropsychology is one of the more eclectic of the psychological disciplines, overlapping at times with areas such as neuroscience philosophy (particularly the philosophy of the mind and thought), neurology, psychiatry and computer science (particularly by making use of artificial neural networks and artificial intelligence).
In practice, neuropsychologists tend to be involved in basic or clinical research, clinical settings (involved inassessing or treating patients with neuropsychological problems – see clinical neuropsychology), forensic settings (often assessing people for legal reasons or court cases or working with offenders, or appearing in court as expert witness) or industry (often as consultants where neuropsychological knowledge is applied to product design or in the management of pharmaceutical clinical-trials research for drugs that might have a potential impact on CNS or central nervous system functioning).
A good neuropsychologist is the best leader of the hospital rehabilitation team that deals with rebuilding patients after stroke, heart attack, brain injury and many cognitive diseases. Their knowledge and thorough understanding of the physiology of the brain as applied to behaviour and body movement is priceless when it comes to planning recovery.