Observer Effects on Neuropsychological Performance: A Case Report

Laurence M. Binder, Douglas Johnson-Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A woman with medically intractable epileptic seizures, mesial temporal sclerosis, developmental cognitive deficits, and dependent personality traits received the Portland Digit Recognition Test (PDRT) as part of a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. Portions of the PDRT were administered with her mother alternately present and absent in an A-B-A-B design. The patient performed significantly worse with her mother present than with her mother absent. The results suggest that situational variables sometimes have a potent effect on neuropsychological performance. The general practice of excluding significant others from the examining room during testing should be continued. The medicolegal implication of these data is that attorneys also should be excluded from the examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-78
Number of pages5
JournalThe Clinical Neuropsychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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