Ann Arbor Neuropsychology: Your Amazing Brain- The Basics

Interesting facts about your brain:

  • Weighing approximately 3 pounds and consisting of about 80 to 100 billion nerve cells or neurons, your brain can be viewed as a complex machine with different parts performing various functions. The human brain gives you the capacity for language, art and critical thinking. Additionally, it provides each person with an individual personality, specific memories and an understanding of the world around them.
  • Each neuron can have anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 synapses or connections to other neurons. Learning is defined as the establishment of new neural networks composed of connections between neurons.
  • The neocortex, or outside of the brain, is what differentiates humans from other animals. This area of the brain is the newest in terms of evolution. The neocortex contains cell bodies of neurons which gives it a gray color (referred to as gray matter). Deeper tissues of the brain (subcortical) contain nerve fibers that are extensions of nerve cells. These fibers are white in color because they are covered by a substance called myelin (referred to as white matter). White matter functions to connect different gray matter areas. Think of this like a phone system where gray matter handles local communication between nerve cells (local calls) and white matter transmits signals over greater distances (long-distance calls).
  • The two hemispheres or halves of the brain each contain four lobes-frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. Each lobe is specialized for certain types of tasks. The frontal lobe helps with problem solving and making decisions, the temporal lobe supports memory and learning, the parietal lobe processes sensory information including hearing, and the occipital lobe is important for vision.

What is neuropsychology?

  • Understanding the relationship between your brain and how you behave and learn defines the field of neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists examine brain-behavior relationships using standardized testing procedures within the context of a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment.
  • A neuropsychological assessment provides a large amount of information regarding your brain and how you might improve performance in school or at work. At CNLD, our assessments are strength-based providing each participant with an intervention plan to overcome any areas of frustration or to help maximize performance within any work or learning environment.
  • Typically, the areas of behavior or performance examined as part of neuropsychological testing include:
    • General intelligence and learning style,
    • Academic achievement in basic skills (reading, writing and math),
    • Sensory-perceptual ability (vision, hearing, touch),
    • Fine and gross motor skills,
    • Attention (working memory, sustained attention, focusing attention and shifting attention),
    • Memory (verbal, visual, cross-modal),
    • Language (receptive, expressive and pragmatic or social),
    • Visuospatial (orientation in space, body awareness, pattern analysis),
    • Executive functions (initiation, planning, monitoring, organizing, flexibility)
    • Psychological/emotional status.

If you are interested in learning more about how your brain performs and learns, feel free to contact us for more information about our neuropsychological assessments.

To read more about neuropsychology in Ann Arbor, please refer to our additional blog posts.