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Neuropsychological Test – the future

  • "The idea that the mind is somehow distinct from the brain and that its essence cannot be reduced to purely material and deterministic neurological mechanisms" has been battleground of fierce debate for the last four centuries between philosophers and scientists alike. The initialization of this idea can be traced to Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he proposed the mind, body problem – Cartesian Dualism. Cartesian dualism did not accept that mental activity (thought) could influence brain function. The mind is about mental processes, thought and consciousness and the body is about the physical aspects of the brain-neurons and how the brain is structured.

    Another problem underlying the mind-brain gap is the complex integration that is required among the disciplines involved in it: neurosciences, clinical psychiatry and psychology, and philosophy of science. In order to reconcile the disagreement and recommend an agreeable idea, ‘Organic Unity’ has been brought into place. Organic unity has been proposed as an integration of the bio-psychosocial (neurosciences, psychology) model and mental-physical identity theory (psychiatry, Philosophy of science) in which the difficulties of the bio-psychosocial model are resolved. This leads to an important conclusion that new conceptual models are required to comprehend the integrated and emergent physiological processes to which psychological phenomena correspond.

    However, this also alludes to an important implication in terms of measurement techniques being used to understand human cognition and behavior. In areas spanning from psychiatry to psychology, the correction of mental disorders by usage of invasive methods and prediction of personality type based on individual introspection have been the methods in use. The fact that these two disciplines intersect necessitated the need for an inclusive measure. It is now known that individuals suffering from mental disorders require psychotherapy in the final leg of their treatment to convalesce.

    With Psychiatry contending with the usefulness of psychology in clinical method, it was time for Psychology to ascertain the accuracy of personality measures being used to understand both the mind and presumably the brain function. Introspection which was initially the most accepted form of understanding the thoughts and behavior of individuals was brought forth as a matter of concern. The inherent problem with introspection was the ‘traces’ in memory and the existence of powerful thoughts without one’s notion. In due course, the objectives of such measures could be discerned easily and adherence to socially desirable and feel-good answers became a norm. The other issue with these measures was that they differed significantly across geographies pointing to the influence of culture and environment in development of individual personalities. Hence the measures needed to conform to the cultural ethos of a particular place to be considered accurate. The standardization was impossible to achieve; the accuracy was rendered dubious.

    These impediments signaled the new era of measurement which sought to correct the issues of social desirability, address the cultural differences and more importantly accurately measure thoughts and corresponding behavior. Neuropsychological Tests was and is the answer!

    Today, if an organization is willing to understand why customers prefer their competitor’s brand over theirs; if it wants to understand whether its top order is self-centered or believes in group ethos; if the human resource department wants to identify whether one of its recruiters is biased towards a particular gender; if a team leader wants to gauge whether a team member is aggressive or persuasive; and so on, Neuropsychological tests can help to identify all of these and much more.

    The classic advantages of these tests are that they can be designed specifically as per organization requirements; they can be administered easily with minimal guidelines and infrastructural requirements. The best part is that the time required to manage the test is appreciably lesser as compared to widely used well-known tests. As these tests measure the brain functions to match the thought, there is very little room left for manipulation and hence the results are far more accurate.

    The stage is set! The neuropsychological tests are here! But as with everything new, it is being tested for its truth, validity and reliability, which is fair as it is up against a system of measurement that is at least a century old! The moment of pride however is that we have been able to resolve the mind-brain problem and integrate it magnificently to address issues never addressed before. Yes! We are a part of scientific and philosophical history being made right before our eyes. Everyone is welcome to take the plunge.
  • July 10, 2021  by biofie content team
  • Written by biofie content team
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