Forensic Neuropsychology: Definition & Testing Services
Forensic neuropsychology is a special branch of psychology that provides information and testimony in legal matters. If you do not have a specific legal requirement for neuropsychological evaluation, please check out our adult neuropsychological services and pediatric neuropsychological services.
This page will give you a quick idea of what forensic neuropsychology is in context of the broader field of psychology as well as what is involved in our neuropsychological testing.
Our staff is happy to answer any additional questions.
Understanding Forensic Neuropsychology
What is Forensic Neuropsychology?
Forensic neuropsychology is a branch of clinical neuropsychology. The assessments, findings of facts, and conclusions of a forensic neuropsychological evaluation are usually intended to be used in a forensic, that is, legal, setting.
What Does a Forensic Neuropsychologist Do?
A forensic neuropsychologist provides information based on scientifically validated neuropsychological principles and clinical treatment as it relates to critical legal questions. In forensic neuropsychology, specialists are not just concerned with whether the patient has a dysfunction, but whether the dysfunction resulted from an issue under consideration in a legal matter such as a criminal proceeding or an employment dispute.
Forensic neuropsychologists may be called upon to deliver expert testimony in court or to consult with legal teams or law enforcement.
Forensic neuropsychologists have undergone advanced training and accrued extensive experience to qualify to give legally admissible assessments. They may also work in clinical settings, and they must specialize in the forensic/legal application of their clinical knowledge and skills.
Although forensic neuropsychology is a relatively new field, it has grown significantly in the past decades. Neuropsychological testimony is well-accepted in the courts throughout the United States. In fact, our Chicago-area psychologists have, on many occasions, offered expert testimony in the court of law.
What Do Forensic Neuropsychologists Diagnose?
Forensic neuropsychologists look for similar conditions as clinical neuropsychologists. They often provide expert testimony to a court that a given condition does or does not exist. Common conditions of interest include:
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
- Chronic pain
- Symptom validity
- Developmental disorders, including mental retardation and learning disorders
- Psychiatric disorders, including psychosis, mood disorders, and personality disorder
What is Neuropsychological Testing?
Neuropsychological testing in a forensic setting aims to establish the existence or non-existence of a psychological condition stemming from a disease, injury, or disorder of the brain or nervous system for legal purposes.
These are simple tests that you can do with a pencil and paper or on a computer. These tests generally involve answering questions.
Neuropsychological testing looks at several kinds of brain function, including:
- Cognition, attention, and concentration
- Learning and memory
- Language and verbal ability
- Motor and sensory skills
- Visual and spatial perception
What Will I Learn from My Assessment?
If you are required to undergo a forensic neuropsychological evaluation, it is important to know that the neuropsychologist has been hired by a third party. While the neuropsychologist must still abide by professional standards of ethics and objectivity, he or she may not be able to report the findings of the evaluation to you.
If you hire us to perform a forensic neuropsychological assessment, we are obligated to remain objective. It is not our goal to provide evidence that advances any party in a case but to offer the most scientifically validated assessment of the relevant facts.
How Do I Prepare for My Assessment?
You cannot study for a neuropsychological assessment; it is designed to measure the healthy function of your brain as it pertains to your thinking, feeling, and acting and is not primarily about skills or knowledge.
What you can do is try to ensure you are comfortable and at your best. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat a healthy meal beforehand. Give yourself a few extra minutes to make it to your appointment on time.
What Will the Results Be Used For?
Generally, forensic neuropsychological assessments are meant to be submitted to a court as evidence for a legal proceeding. It is up to the discretion of the hiring agent whether the results of your evaluation are submitted to the court.
Our Forensic Neuropsychology Services
NeuroHealth specializes in forensic neuropsychological assessments. Dr. Laurie Phillips is a leading expert in the field and a sought-after thought leader locally and nationally on matters of forensic neuropsychology.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Assessment Today
If you think you or a family member are involved in a legal matter and you feel you would benefit from a forensic neuropsychological assessment, call our office or contact us via our website. We can tell you more about your eligibility as well as what you can expect from the evaluation.