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Temas em Psicologia

Print version ISSN 1413-389X


ZIMMERMANN, Nicolle et al. Contributions of the ecological approach to the neuropsychology of executive functions. Temas psicol. [online]. 2014, vol.22, n.3, pp. 639-654. ISSN 1413-389X.

Neurocognitive assessment involves several different types of processes, techniques and instruments. Traditionally, clinical and/or standardized methods have been the most extensively used in neuropsychological research and clinical practice. Ecological instruments are characterized by the standardized administration of tasks with similar cognitive demands to those observed in everyday situations. Although executive functions are often required in daily living tasks, the lack of a consensus as to their theoretical definition has posed several hurdles to their assessment and rehabilitation. The aim of this paper was to present the contributions of an ecological neuropsychological approach to assessment, rehabilitation, and neuroimaging, while discussing the theoretical implications of these processes on the neuropsychology of executive functions. This was achieved through a non-systematic review of classical and contemporary literature on ecological assessment tools. The use of an ecological approach has contributed to the understanding and assessment of functional impairment, as well as to the development of rehabilitation programs focusing on practical daily living activities, allowing for a clearer understanding of the neural correlates of complex environmental and individual factors, and for a more thorough reassessment of the validity of theoretical models of executive functions.

Keywords : Cognitive processes; cognitive neuropsychology; neuropsychological tests.

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