RageAgainstVoid wrote:You mean nowadays your work ain't about cracking open the skull and giving stuff a good whirl?
Sadly, no. What clinical neuropsychologists basically do is evaluate patients who have some sort of neuropathology or are suspected to have some type of dementia with a variety of tests (IQ, memory, language, visuospatial, motor, psychodiagnostic tests, etc). In the days before modern imaging techniques these tests were used to localize the brain damage (and with a high degree of sensitivity). While today's imaging techniques can specify (usually) where some type of damage has occurred, they are not capable of telling us what specific impairments that damage is causing. So basically we evaluate how that damage has impacted that person in comparison to their premorbid abilities and give recommendations on treatment or management of their current condition.
We are also tasked with differentiating between psychopathology and neuropathology. For example, someone with a history of seizures may be having psychogenic seizures rather than actual seizures. We also usually get the cases that neurologists, PCPs, and other mental health professionals cannot figure out. And that's what makes the work interesting.