Innovations in neuropsychological assessment using event-related brain potentials
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Historically, clinicians have utilized evoked potentials for evaluating sensory functions and neuropsychological tests for evaluating cognitive functions. However, the clinical implementation of event-related brain potentials (ERPs), an on-line index of cognitive processing, remains to be developed fully. We describe a new method for assessing language functions using neuropsychological tests that are formatted for computer presentation with simultaneous ERP recordings. From its inception, there have been two major objectives of this ERP language assessment research. Practically, we have sought to develop assessment techniques that would enable clinicians to evaluate the language functions of individuals with limited behavioral and communicative abilities. Conceptually, we have endeavored to increase the precision of neuropsychological testing through the development of measures that are sensitive to readily identifiable and objective neural responses. This article summarizes the issues central to the development of ERP assessment techniques, reviews recent normative studies with healthy individuals, and suggests some future avenues of research in this area.
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