Frequently asked Questions (FAQ) – PCH Psychological Testing Center
What is psychological testing, neuropsychological testing, and psychological assessment?
Psychological and neuropsychological testing is used to evaluate cognitive, social, and emotional functioning in individuals. This includes the domains of intelligence, psychological features, neurological functioning, capabilities, and learning disabilities. A psychological assessment involves any combination of written test taking, psychiatric interview, psychological interview, interpretative testing, medical examination, observation of behavior and functioning, and vocational evaluation. An accurate assessment requires integration of information from multiple sources, including tests of normal and abnormal personality, tests of ability or intelligence, tests of interests or attitudes, as well as information from personal interviews and observations of behavior. Information about developmental, biological, social, educational, and life experiences are also incorporated into the assessment.
When is a psychological assessment needed?
A psychological assessment is appropriate in a number of circumstances.
- To evaluate a person who may have a difficulties with cognition (thinking) due to an organic brain problem, current or previous substance abuse, or an ongoing medical problem.
- To evaluate a person who may have a psychological problem that is undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or mismanaged.
- To serve as a guide in treatment planning or to guide recommendations as to placement in a specific treatment center or in deciding what treatment modality is most appropriate (e.g. residential versus outpatient or behavioral intervention versus an exploratory approach).
- To evaluate a person with a learning disability such as Attention Deficit (ADD) Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Visual Processing Disorder, Non-verbal learning disorder, Autism, or Sensory Integration Disorder (Dyspraxia). This may be necessary to obtain special considerations for school or test-taking.
- To evaluate behavioral problems that may be adversely affecting school or work functioning.
- Intelligence testing such as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores for evaluation for gifted/advanced coursework or special education curricula.
- To evaluate a person’s current status, social functioning, use of medications and psychoactive substances
- To evaluate applicants for specific jobs that require evaluation of psychological health and cognitive functioning
What do different tests evaluate?
Personality, Psychiatric and Adjustment
These tests examine for mood disorders such as depression, mania or bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, somatoform disorders, personality traits and disorders including histrionic, antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, paranoid, and schizoid. Some have validity scales to assess response bias or malingering as well as efforts to appear unreasonably virtuous.
Adolescent Personality Scale (APS), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-2), Children’s Apperception Test (CAT), Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI-2), Geriatric Depression Rating Scale, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2 and MMPI-Adolescent), Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Rorschach Inkblot Technique, Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blanks, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Trauma Symptm Inventory (TSI), Adult Manifest Anxiety Scale (AMAS), Differential Assessment of Post-Traumatic Stress (DAPS)
Visuoanalytic and Visuoconstructive
Beery Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI), Bender-Gestalt, Benton Facial Recognition Test (BFRT), Benton Judgment of Line Orientation (BJOLO), Benton Visual Form Discrimination Test (BVFD), Hooper Visual Organization Test (HVOT), Rey Osterrieth Complex Figure (RCFT) Memory and Learning California Verbal Learning Test – II (CVLT-II), Contiuous Visual Memory Test (CVMT), Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS), Memory Assessment Scale (MAS), Rey Verbal Learning Test (RVLT), Memory for Designs, Tests of Memory and Learning (TOMAL), Wechsler Memory Scale -III (WMS-III and IV), Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML-2), Continuous Visual Memory Test (CVMT)
These tests are designed to assess effort, validity of memory and neuropsychological tests, response bias, suboptimal effort and malingering. In addition, many neuropsychological tests have built-in measures or scales that help assess validity and effort. Tests of Neuropsychological Malingering (TNM-Memory), Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Rey Fifteen Item Test, Green’s Word Memory Test (WMT), Victoria Symptom Validity Test, Rey 15-Item Test represent a range of tests used for this purpose. Other tests such as the MMPI-2 and PAI include scales which examine for response bias in responding to self-report inventories and inventories such as the Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptoms (SIMS) may be helpful for assessing atypical psychiatric, cognitive or memory complaints.
Language and Related Skills
These tests are designed to assess verbal fluency, naming, receptive and expressive language skills, auditory processing and comprehension. Boston Naming Test (BNT), Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF), Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT), Multilingual Aphasia Examination, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), Reitan-Indiana Aphasia Screening Test (RIAST), Test of Adolescent Language (TOAL), Test of Written Language (TOWL), Token Test
Category Test (CT), Wisconsin Card Sort Test (WCST)
Behavioral Rating Scales
Conners Rating Scales – Revised (CPRS and CTRS), Parenting Stress Index (PSI), Revised Behavior Problem Checklist (RBPC), Adaptive Begavior Assessment System (ABAS-II), Gilliam Asperger’s Disorders Scale (GADS), Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS), Clinical Assessment of Behavior (CAB)
Attention and Related Abilities
Continuous Performance Test (CPT), GFW Test of Selective Auditory Attention, Seashore Rhythm Test (SRT), Speech Sounds Perception Test (SSPT)
Sensory, Motor, Coordination and Related Skills
Grip Strength, Finger Oscillation, Grooved Pegboard, Luria Figures and Motor Sequences, Reitan-Klove Lateral Dominance Examination (RKLDE), Reitan-Klove Sensory-Perceptual Examination, Tactual Performance Test (TPT)
Competency and Adaptive Functioning
Adaptive Behavior Assessment System II Human Activity Profile (HAP), Independent Living Scale (ILS), Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale Vocational Testing Sales Predictor Inventory, Self Directed Search (SDS) Executive Function Stroop Interference Procedure (SIP), Trail Making Test (TMT), Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Dellis Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) Cognitive and Achievement Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – IV (WAIS-IV), Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT-4), Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Battery (WJ-III), Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive Battery (WJ-III). Brief screening measures include the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2).
How does psychological testing evaluate Attention Deficit Disorder?
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder can affect children, adolescents and adults. Impulsivity, inability to focus, inattention and hyperactivity can adversely affect performance in school and work. Children with ADD or ADHD may have problems listening and following directions and sustaining attention. They often have problems relating to organization and may appear restless or impulsive. Adults with ADD or ADHD may have more subtle problems in work or school.