Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology that is concerned with how the brain and the rest of how the nervous system influence a person’s cognition and behaviours. Cognition describes our required skills we need to function properly in our everyday life. This includes paying attention, what we see or hear and how we express ourselves, and the way we fit into our surroundings, understanding what other people say and multitasking. Having a medical illness can effect a persons cognition. Measuring cognition is very difficult with the naked eye as they can go unnoticed and be hidden as mood-related issues such as depression or anxiety. This is why we have neuropsychology assessments, which are various tests that examine different areas of identified skills by the brain system. This looks at the behaviour of the brain when functioning.
The brain is produced of three parts: the brainstem, cerebellum, and cerebrum. The cerebrum is divided into four lobes;frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and performs functions such as interpreting touch, vision, hearing, learning and fine control movement. The lobes that are divided in the cerebrum all have specific functions. The frontal lobe is responsible for creative thinking, problem solving, judgement and attention. Also its in charge of coordinating movement, smelling and informing our personality. However if this part of the brain was damaged there would be repetition of a single thought, unable to focus on a task and mood swings. The parietal lobe processes sensory information such as taste, touch and temperature. If the parietal lobe was damaged a person would have lack of awareness and problems with identifying objects by touch. The occipital lobe controls and interprets visual stimuli and if there was damage in this area of the brain then the person would have a blurry vision and visual illusions. Finally the temporal lobe processes and stores auditory information. this also informs a range of other processes in the brain, including speech, hearing and behaviour. There would be difficulty in understanding language and speaking, and there would be difficulty with memory if this part of the brain was damaged. The brainstem controls a lot of the ‘automatic’ actions of your body such as breathing and heartbeat, and links the brain to the spinal cord and the rest of the body. There would be changes in the breathing and difficulty swallowing if the brainstem was damaged. The cerebellum controls and coordinates movements of the muscles, like walking or swinging the arms. Damaging the cerebellum can cause dizziness, difficulty walking and difficulty coordinating fine movements. Each part of the brain is in important in serving for its own functions and if one part is damaged it can effect a person in many ways.This is why we have neuropsychology assessments to assess and test the brain and its functions.
One neuropsychological assessment would be attention. There are three characteristics of attention which are:being limited, multitasking doesn’t really work because your attention is limited, being selective, when you filter out other things going on around you and ,finally, there is already a basic part of the cognitive system from birth. The prefrontal cortex, directly behind the forehand, is in charge of wilful concentration; if you are studying for a test or writing the orders come from there. Whereas if there is a sudden event such as a attack of a tiger or a scream of a child the parietal cortex is activated. The way we measure attention is by using various tests such as DPT( dot pro task). This when you have to find which picture the dot is behind. This test shows how concentrating on one thing filters out other things, so when people were tested they focussing on the dot they didn’t realise what the picture was showing when asked.PVT( Physcomarter visulance task). This is when you have to click the space bar on a your keyboard when the stimulant appears on your screen. This shows how quick people are to react when shown the stimulant. The reason we measure attention is because there are cases of children with ADHD who cannot focus on one thing and finds other distractions, also when tested on patients with schizophrenia they showed to have an increased brain activity in some neuroimaging studies but reduced brain activity in others.