Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Neuropsychological Tests

Neuropsychological Tests

Test Overview

Neuropsychological testing can help your doctor find out how a problem with your brain is affecting your ability to reason, concentrate, solve problems, or remember.

Doctors use a wide variety of tests for neuropsychological testing. In most cases you will take a series of tests, rather than a single test.

This type of testing is most often done by a psychologist with special training in this area.

Why It Is Done

Why It Is Done

This testing gives your doctor an overall picture of how well your brain works. Your doctor can use the results to decide the best treatment or rehabilitation program for you.

Your doctor may recommend this testing if:

  • You have a disease that can affect the brain, such as:
    • Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
    • Stroke.
    • Multiple sclerosis.
    • Brain tumor.
    • Parkinson's disease.
    • Epilepsy.
    • AIDS.
  • You have an injury that may have affected your brain, such as a concussion or a more serious brain injury.
  • You have a history of substance use disorder that may have affected your brain.
  • You have been exposed to poisons, chemicals, or pollution that can cause brain damage.
  • You have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or problems in school.
  • Your doctor wants to see how well treatment for one of these diseases, conditions, or injuries is working.
How To Prepare

How To Prepare

Make sure you eat first and are well rested so that being tired or hungry doesn't affect testing. Remember to bring your glasses or hearing aids if you use them.

How It Is Done

How It Is Done

There are many kinds of neuropsychological tests. The ones you take will depend on the particular brain functions that your doctor wants to check.

The tests are meant to test your limits, so don't be discouraged if they seem hard.

It may take several hours to take all the tests. But you may not have to take all of them at once.

Most of the tests involve answering questions or performing tasks. You may be taking some of the tests on a computer, using pencil and paper, or using other objects. Here are some examples of brain functions and some tests that check them:

Tests for attention span and memory

You might be asked to:

  • Repeat a series of numbers, letters, or words.
  • Look at some simple drawings and then draw them from memory.

Tests for language and speech skills

You might be asked to:

  • Name pictures that the examiner shows you.
  • Point to a picture named by the examiner.
  • Name as many words as you can think of that begin with a certain letter or are in a certain category (for example, animals or fruits).

Test for reasoning, planning, and organizing skills

You might be asked to:

  • Sort cards according to colors or shapes on the cards.
  • Use a pencil to connect a series of numbered or lettered dots on a sheet of paper.
  • Stack colored discs in a certain pattern.
How It Feels

How It Feels

You might feel nervous if you know your ability to think is being judged by the person giving you the tests. The tests are meant to test your limits, so don't be discouraged if they seem hard.

You may get tired, because the tests can take several hours.

If you are being checked for a health condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, you may be afraid of what the tests will show.

Risks

Risks

Your doctor may not be able to find the cause of your symptoms, because some problems are hard to diagnose. Also, other tests may be needed to accurately diagnose your problem.

Results

Results

Test results give your doctor an overall picture of how well you are able to think, reason, and remember. Your doctor may discuss some results with you right away. Complete results may not be available for several weeks.

The results of the test may help determine when an athlete who has had a concussion can return to play. Testing can also identify mood or emotional problems.

Many conditions can change the results of a neuropsychological test. For example, depression can slow your thinking. But your doctor will consider your other symptoms when looking at the test results.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Medical Tests: Questions to Ask the Doctor

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details