Rationality and Novelty of Instrumental Use in Neuropsychological Research Evaluations: Taking Infinity to Singularity

Ramanujam Narayanan, MD


Background: Few studies address the rationality of utilization of instrumental tasking and maze learning in neuropsychological research evaluations; this is apparent from the literature search in biomedical databases with appropriate keywords yielding nil hits for rationality of such usage. Furthermore, how could such rationality be interpreted and used for scientific benefits of the researcher? What is the scope of applicability of such research in neuropsychology to patient care? This systematic review addresses such key issues and focuses on ways to appraise such research articles using rationality as the key criterion in such appraisals and interpretations. Objectives & scope: The systematic review focuses on deciphering the rationality and novelty of instrumental usage in neuropsychological research and patient care, from a thorough literature search in a seven month period from January 2013 to July 2013 in the “medline” database. The review was a pilot initiative to give a recommended harmonized validated checklist to best search, select, appraise, and apply such research for two purposes – psychological research and patient care. Methods: To this end, this meta-analysis uses “medline” index and “pubmed” database to establish a list of the pre-clinical and clinical research articles using instrumental tasks and maze learning in the last seven months. Then, quantitative analysis of these included articles are performed using MS Excel 2013 with Daniel XL-add in. Qualitative analysis of the selected articles has been performed using a pilot checklist validation, provided in this article; the same can be used for appraising and applying such research to the benefits of researcher and patients. The last seven months has been chosen appropriately since this is a pilot attempt to fulfilling the objective that it intends to do so. Conclusions & limitations: This meta-analysis will be useful in giving recommendation about how to select and critically appraise and interpret such neuropsychological evaluations in research using maze and neurological instrumentation. The study has not considered in-depth the methodologies of each individual research study. Although novelty was one of the objectives, it could not be met with appropriately due to the diverse nature of methodologies followed in each of the included research articles. Nonetheless, this pilot meta-analysis must encourage more explorations in this research area from a broader perspective in the future.


maze, cognition, memory, learning, behavioral assessment, Exteroceptive cognitive models, procedural memory, research appraisal, behavioral metaanalysis

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