What Is Neuropsychology?


Quick Answer

Neuropsychology is a subdiscipline of psychology that studies how the structure and composition of a person's nervous system and brain affects how that person thinks, feels and behaves. Because of this, neuropsychology uses information and findings from both traditional psychological investigations and neuroscientific research.

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Neuropsychology originated in Europe in the late 19th century, and psychologists and researchers in Germany were particularly active in this emerging field. Early neuropsychological researchers were some of the first people to study and record how the structure and composition of the physical nervous system influences much less tangible things such as thought and emotion. However, because most of this research was written in German academic journals, it was not read throughout most of the world. Neuropsychology did not experience a resurgence, or even become a recognized discipline, until after World War II.

Some of the most important research that neuropsychologists engage in is studying how injuries, diseases and defects impact a person's thoughts, emotions and behaviors. By studying these conditions and working closely with doctors and medical researchers, neuropsychologists actively search for potential treatments for many debilitating neurological conditions.

Most neuropsychologists work in either research or clinical settings. Research neuropsychologists conduct experiments and gather data on neurological and psychological phenomena. While clinical neuropsychologists typically do not provide care personally, they work closely with psychiatrists and other medical professionals to create and implement treatment plans.

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