Psychological Testing vs. Neuropsychological Testing – What’s the Difference?

The terms psychological testing and neuropsychological testing are often used interchangeably, but they involve different evaluation approaches. Both types of assessments are designed to help a person understand the underlying cause for his or her struggles and find a definitive, actionable diagnosis. One assessment is more detailed than the other, but they both provide a foundation for treatment and intervention. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between psychological testing and neuropsychological testing so you can better understand your options.

What Is Psychological Testing?

Psychological testing involves an evaluation from a clinical psychologist. This process is used to diagnose and identify psychiatric and developmental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorders. The clinical psychologist evaluates the adult or child’s behaviors, medical and mental health histories, answers to targeted questions, developmental milestones, and other factors to diagnose an underlying condition or clarify a diagnosis (example: distinguish between different mood disorders). Consider this the narrowed form of testing, whereas neuropsychological testing is more broad and comprehensive.

What Is Neuropsychological Testing?

Neuropsychological testing is a specialized form of testing that covers many areas of cognitive and behavioral assessment. Some components of neuropsychological testing overlap with psychological testing, but the neuropsychological tests are more detailed. Neuropsychological assessments cover:

  • Intellectual Abilities
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Sensory Perceptual
  • Motor Function
  • Executive Functions and Problem Solving
  • Behavioral Concerns
  • Language Abilities
  • Visual-Spatial Skills
  • Abstract Reasoning and Analysis
  • Information Processing

A clinical neuropsychologist undergoes specialized post-doctoral training to perform these comprehensive evaluations. Neuropsychological testing is more thorough than psychological testing, but it is not necessary for all situations. At CNLD Testing & Therapy, we only do as much testing as is needed to answer concerns or referral questions, trying not to “over-test” kids.

Finding the Right Type of Evaluation for Each Person

Does my child need a psychological evaluation or a neuropsychological evaluation? The answer depends on the symptoms, behaviors, and struggles your child is experiencing. Your clinician can determine this during your initial interview. We can help you decide if you or your child needs psychological or neuropsychological testing, and then outline the next steps in your journey. No matter what, you’ll receive positive and helpful support from CNLD Testing & Therapy.

If you reach our clinic through direct referral, you may already know what type of evaluation you or your child needs. After the assessment is complete, you’ll receive an official diagnosis, along with intervention planning, educational advocacy, and other aftercare services from CNLD Testing & Therapy. Contact us at (734) 994-9466 to learn more about psychological testing and neuropsychological testing near you.