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NEPSY (which stands for A Developmental NEuroPSYchological Assessment) is a series of neuropsychological tests authored by Marit Korkman, Ursula Kirk and Sally Kemp, that are used in various combinations to assess neuropsychological development in children ages 3–16 years in six functional domains:
- Attention and Executive Functions - inhibition, self-regulation, monitoring, vigilance, selective and sustained attention, maintenance of response set, planning, flexibility in thinking and figural fluency.
- Language and Communication - phonological processing, receptive language, expressive naming, verbal fluency and rhythmic oral motor sequences.
- Sensorimotor Functions - tactile sensory input, fine motor speed, imitative hand functions, rhythmic and sequential movements and visuomotor precision.
- Visuospatial functions - the ability to judge position and directionality, copying of 2-dimensional and the reconstruction of 3-dimensional designs.
- Learning and Memory - memory for words, sentences and faces, immediate and delayed list learning, memory for names and narrative memory under free- and cued-recall conditions.
- Social Perception (added in the NEPSY-II) - the ability to recognize emotions, to guess what another person is thinking and feeling, empathy.
These tests supposedly help detect any underlying deficiencies that may impede a child's learning. Each NEPSY test is freestanding, though the results of all of the tests of the original NEPSY could be normed together to provide an overall standardized score for each of the domains. Up-to-date psychometric norms are based on the standardization of over 1,000 children tested throughout the United States, which enables the comparison of a child's performance to others in the appropriate age group.
The NEPSY-II was published in 2007, extending the age range from 12 to 16 years. The Tower of London Test was replaced by three different measures of executive functioning: inhibition, clocks and animal sorting. Other differences include additional measures of visuospatial processing: geometric puzzles, picture puzzles; and memory and learning: memory for designs and word list interference. An additional functional domain, 'Social Perception' - affect recognition, theory of mind, is also added. Perhaps the largest change is the elimination of a core battery; instead, the authors suggest eight different possible batteries depending on the child's presentation. In addition the subtests are no longer aggregated into overall domain scores like the previous version or the WISC, but rather each subtest is considered to stand alone.