Forensic neuropsychology is the study of a person’s brain function and behavior in the context of a crime. The process begins with an assessment of the individual’s cognitive skills. Depending on the situation, the evaluation may involve cognitive, motor, or emotional processing. It may also involve the study of their behavior, such as their responses to certain questions. The results of these assessments may help the court decide whether a patient is suffering from any cognitive or behavioral impairments.
The process of forensic neuropsychology is typically based on a battery of tests. Different neuropsychologists choose different tests for their battery. Some begin with a particular set of tests and add other tests to supplement the basic battery. In either case, the test results often form the basis for the neuropsychologist’s testimony in court. In a criminal trial, the results of neuropsychological tests are vital to the prosecution’s case.
The goal of forensic neuropsychology is to determine whether a brain injury has caused the patient’s disabilities. It also helps determine the legal status of the injured party and whether the patient is disabled from work. The objective is to determine whether the patient can function in the workplace, whether the effects of an injury will last, and whether or not the person will experience any improvement or worsening of the condition. This report can be vital in determining the compensation amount and ultimately affect the outcome of a lawsuit.
The goal of forensic neuropsychology is to establish a causal link between cognitive impairments and the event in question. The neuropsychologist must state his or her opinion with a reasonable degree of certainty and use an objective methodology to predict the cause of the impairments. A neuropsychologist can also rely on co-occurrence of the accident and the patient’s cognitive deficits in order to support his or her case.