Hello! This week was actually extremely productive for me as I was able to sit in on a neuropsych evaluation. It was my first time observing how the data for the WISC is actually collected. The WISC, or the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, tests a child’s intellectual functioning in the form of 5 different categories: verbal comprehension, visual-spatial (mentally and physically reasoning with 3D objects), fluid reasoning (extracting patterns and finding sequences), working memory (short term memory) and processing speed (how fast can you notice and react). My final research projects centers predominantly on the WISC, so I thought it was a great opportunity for me.
These exams are actually a lot less subjective than I had previously thought. For example, one of the tasks that contributes to an overall processing speed score is titled Coding, in which subjects are given a list of numbers associated with a specific symbol and have to write the corresponding symbols when given a random string of numbers. Now processing speed itself is supposed to measure an individual’s overall speed in noticing, thinking and reacting. A past version of myself probably would’ve not put much faith into the test as the idea seems incredibly abstract, I would’ve thought “how can you even measure how fast a person notices and reacts to a concept?” However, I’m beginning to realize that all of these examinations are indeed a measure of a person’s cognitive capabilities, but they are much more effective for drawing out abnormalities. These tests are excellent for observing how one performs relative to the rest of the population and giving clinicians the ability to see if their patient’s functioning is being impaired because of their cognitive development, and how that can be treated–arguably the most important part of practicing medicine.
I also worked to create a large spreadsheet to organize the data I have begun to sift through. This is the point in which I massively regret my lack of computer programming skills, because even though hand in putting data is unavoidable for my project, it would be easier if I knew how to direct the computer to do things for me. So, I guess I will be learning some simple coding and basic statistics to make my life easier when it comes to analyzing my data. I’m currently working on going through the literal hundreds of clients to collect my data. See you next week.