Investigation of the single case in neuropsychology: confidence limits on the abnormality of test scores and test score differences

Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(8):1196-208. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(01)00224-x.


Neuropsychologists often need to estimate the abnormality of an individual patient's test score, or test score discrepancies, when the normative or control sample against which the patient is compared is modest in size. Crawford and Howell [The Clinical Neuropsychologist 12 (1998) 482] and Crawford et al. [Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 20 (1998) 898] presented methods for obtaining point estimates of the abnormality of test scores and test score discrepancies in this situation. In the present study, we extend this work by developing methods of setting confidence limits on the estimates of abnormality. Although these limits can be used with data from normative or control samples of any size, they will be most useful when the sample sizes are modest. We also develop a method for obtaining point estimates and confidence limits on the abnormality of a discrepancy between a patient's mean score on k-tests and a test entering into that mean. Computer programs that implement the formulae for the confidence limits (and point estimates) are described and made available.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results