Open main menu

Neurocognitive functions are cognitive functions closely linked to the function of particular areas, neural pathways, or cortical networks in the brain substrate layers of neurological matrix at the cellular molecular level. Therefore, their understanding is closely linked to the practice of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience, two disciplines that broadly seek to understand how the structure and function of the brain relate to cognition and behaviour.

A neurocognitive deficit is a reduction or impairment of cognitive function in one of these areas, but particularly when physical changes can be seen to have occurred in the brain, such as after neurological illness, mental illness, drug use, or brain injury.[1]

A clinical neuropsychologist may specialise in using neuropsychological tests to detect and understand such deficits, and may be involved in the rehabilitation of an affected person. The discipline that studies neurocognitive deficits to infer normal psychological function is called cognitive neuropsychology.



The term neurocognitive is a recent addition to the nosology of clinical Psychiatry and Psychology. It was used rarely before the publication of the DSM-5, which updated the psychiatric classification of disorders listed in the "Delirium, Dementia, and Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders" chapter of the DSM-IV.[2] Following the 2013 publication of the DSM-5, use of the term "neurocognitive" increased steadily.[3]

Addding the prefix "neuro-" to the word "cognitive" is an example of pleonasm because, analogous to expressions like "burning fire" and "black darkness," the prefix "neuro-" adds no information to "cognitive." Adding "neuro-" to the more common, original term "cognitive" could give the appearance of alluding to a non-neurologic form of cognition, and in the field of clinical Neurology, clinicians continue using the simpler term "cognitive," possibly due to an absence of evidence for human cognitive processes that do not involve the nervous system.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Blazer, Dan (2013). "Commentary: Neurocognitive Disorders in DSM-5". American Journal of Psychiatry. 170 (6): 585–587. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13020179.
  2. ^ Sachdev, PS; Blacker, D; Blazer, DG; Ganguli, M; Jeste, DV; Paulsen, JS; et al. (2014). "Classifying neurocognitive disorders: the DSM-5 approach". Nat Rev Neurol. 10 (11): 634–42. doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.181. PMID 25266297.
  3. ^,dsm-5&sni=3

Further readingEdit

  • Green, K. J. (1998). Schizophrenia from a Neurocognitive Perspective. Boston, Allyn and Bacon.