The accuracy of automated and clinical detection of brain damage and lateralization in neuropsychology

Neuropsychol Rev. 1995 Mar;5(1):1-68. doi: 10.1007/BF02214929.


The validity of both computer programs and clinical judgment in neuropsychology for determining the existence and lateralization of brain damage is reviewed. Computerized interpretation in neuropsychology, after a propitious beginning, was largely abandoned due to severe criticism, essentially based on only three studies. Only one of these studies compared clinical judgment with computer programs. A thorough examination of the literature located many more studies assessing the accuracy of computer programs, clinical judgment, and discriminant analysis. When reviewed, these studies found that the computer programs, especially the Neuropsychological Key, were quite accurate though not as accurate as clinical judgment. Computer programs and especially the Lateralization Index are potentially as accurate as expert clinical judgment. The rationale related to computer programs is also discussed. This includes the implications of impairment, criterion adequacy, and methods used in designing the Neuropsychological Key and the Lateralization Index. Since computer programs are completely reliable across studies, they can be used to examine the differences between sample populations and criterion accuracy. Factors contributing to reduced accuracy in both clinical judgment and computer programs are also explicated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software