272: Russell Barkley on The Case Against Neuropsychological Testing & New Research

272: Russell Barkley on The Case Against Neuropsychological Testing & New Research

Russell Barkley joins me for the fourth time as a guest on my podcast.  He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children and Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. Board certified in three disciplines: clinical psychology, clinical child and adolescent psychology, and clinical neuropsychology. Russell is a clinical scientist, educator, and practitioner with 23 published books and 41 editions, more than 290 scientific articles and chapters related to the nature, assessment, and treatment of ADHD and related disorders. He is the founder and editor of the newsletter “The ADHD Report”. He has spoken at over 800 events and has been recognized for his contributions.

ADHD and Russell’s work has sometimes been considered “over pathologizing”, however, his message is to get the science out for those with ADHD so these individuals can get proper treatment and lead healthy lives. Russell talks about why neuropsychological testing is inappropriate and misleading as a test for ADHD.

Russell is a proponent of discontinuing the use of neuropsychological testing for ADHD. We talk about a controversial device, recently approved by the FDA, for treating ADHD, and new, innovative, research using Virtual Reality for ADHD at the University of Berkley, California.

Your Resources

Russell Barkley | Dr. Barkley’s website
The One Thing Book | How you can make a difference on outcomes
When An Adult You Love Has ADHD | Russell’s book for those who live with adults who have ADHD

You’ll Learn:

  • [04:12] The misuse of neuropsychological testing for diagnosing ADHD.
  • [06:35] Comparing test group averages versus classifying individual people.
  • [09:15] Why neuropsychological tests are not accurate for testing for a diagnosis of ADHD.
  • [10:13] Why people with ADHD are passing neuropsychological tests.
  • [11:41] What categories are included in neuropsychological tests assessment.
  • [13:33] Test environments are not conducive to someone’s everyday normal environment.
  • [16:53] Neuropsychological testing may be useful for physical brain injury situations.
  • [19:45] How should a medical provider be evaluating ADHD, the timeframe and what conditions to rule in or out based on second or third disorders.
  • [23:50] What should you do if you are experiencing something else other than ADHD? Other testing which can assess ADHD and impairment.
  • [26:32] Russell’s definition of executive functioning skills.
  • [34:32] Device which has shown improvement for treating children with ADHD.
  • [41:16] New and novel research using Virtual Reality for possibly diagnosing ADHD.

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1 thought on “272: Russell Barkley on The Case Against Neuropsychological Testing & New Research”

  1. I am a Russ Barkley super-fan. Amazing guy. Tragic for us that he has retired. And I agree with him 100% that neuropsychological testing lets too many people fall through the cracks. Trouble is, trying to get a psychologist to come to the classroom and household to observe for long enough to collect data for a proper assessment is next to impossible. The wait-lists for any ADHD assessment at the moment is often years long so we take what we can get. I’d guess that neuropsychological testing is part of 90% of the assessments that are “out there.”


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