John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Ethics and neuropsychological assessment Volume 10, issue 4, Décembre 2012


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Laboratoire étude mécanismes cognitifs, EA3082, Université Lumière Lyon 2, France, Centre de recherche Cerveau et cognition, CNRS UMR5549, Université de Toulouse, France

Ethics and its relation to testing are historically an important question and still are. In this article, we briefly report on how neuropsychology emerged as a specific field, how tests are developed and we particularly focus on the ethical conditions under which a test can be administered. The point of view of the neuropsychologist who develops a new test, of the neuropsychologist who uses this test, of the person requiring a neuropsychological assessment, and finally of the subject, are respectively taken. In each case, different ethical questions are raised. Illustrations and examples are provided. A misunderstanding of what a test really is (a given and precise experimental situation) leads to many difficulties. Furthermore, many fail to know that neuropsychological assessment requires specific skills and clinical practice. A test is not related to truth or to a verdict; it only allows classifying a performance with regard to a given norm.