Halstead-reitan Neuropsychological Battery: What It Is And How Is It Used

A set of tests that explore the functioning of the subject’s brain, to detect abnormalities.

Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery

Neuropsychological batteries include a series of tests and tests that evaluate the different neuropsychological functions, such as perceptual organization, visual function, language, motor skills, perception, writing, etc.

In this article we will learn about the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery (HRNTB), a tool typical of the American current. We will explain its most important features and analyze the 9 tests it includes.

Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery: what it is, and characteristics

The Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery (HRNTB) comes from the American mainstream. Unlike the European current (with the Luria Battery as the typical test), which focuses on a qualitative evaluation, the American one focuses on a quantitative evaluation.

This battery constitutes, together with the Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological Battery (LNNB), one of the most advanced tests to determine whether or not there is organic brain damage. In addition, both allow to determine with enough precision, the location of that damage, if it exists.

What does it evaluate?

The Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery is applied to subjects over 15 years of age, and is used to detect neurological and psychiatric disorders, based on the evaluation of a great diversity of neuropsychological functions.

It allows to analyze the verbal, manipulative, sequential and spatial abilities of the individual, among others. The results obtained from it also allow differentiating subjects with brain damage from healthy subjects.

On the other hand, the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery includes an Index of deterioration that encompasses the first 5 tests (of categories, tactile execution, rhythm, perception of sounds and tapping), and that we will see later. If the subject scores less than 0.4, it is considered indicative of brain injury.

Tests that are part of it

The battery is made up of 9 different tests or tests, which are its parts. We will see them below.

1. Category test

The first test of the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery examines the ability of the subject to establish general principles based on the experience provided by means of relevant information.

2. Touch execution test

This test explores the speed and motor coordination of the subject. In this test, 10 different figures are superimposed (each one in a hole).

The task consists of inserting a given figure in the corresponding hole or hole, blindfolded. First, the examinee must perform the task using his “preferred” hand, and then the other. Finally, use both.

3. Seashore rhythm test

The Seashore test assesses non-verbal auditory perception, sustained attention and concentration. These functions appear altered in certain brain lesions.

The test consists of 30 sounds; each consists of 2 rhythmic patterns. The subject’s task is to indicate, for each element, whether the patterns are the same or different from each other. The score for this test is based on the number of mistakes made during its application.

4. Sound perception test (or nonsense words)

The fourth test assesses audio-verbal perception and attention. It consists of 6 parts; each one is made up of 10 elements. In each item, the examinee hears a nonsense word through a tape; this must be recognized among the 4 that make up each element (they are presented in writing to the subject).

5. Knock test

Evaluate speed and motor coordination in the right and left hands. That is, it is a test of motor speed. The subject must use their index finger to press a lever connected to a manual counter.

6. Indiana-Reitan aphasia test

This test is indicated to evaluate expressive or receptive language disorders, deficits in reading-writing processes and numerical calculation. It is made up of 42 elements.

7. Sensory-perceptual examination

The seventh test of the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery assesses tactile perception through numbers and objects, as well as visual and auditory perception.

It consists of: perception with bilateral stimulation, finger recognition through tactile stimulation, perception of numbers written on the fingertips and tactile recognition of shapes such as a square, a cross or a triangle.

8. Lateral dominance

Evaluate the lateral dominance of the hand, foot and eye (which are the dominants). It also looks at the capabilities of the non-dominant hand.

9. Tracing test

The latest Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery test assesses the ability to understand numbers and letters, as well as the ability to explore (on a sheet of paper), processing speed and cognitive flexibility.

It is made up of two parts, A and B. Part A is made up of 25 circles distributed on a sheet, numbered from 1 to 25. The examinee is asked to connect the circles, as quickly as possible, by drawing a line between them (in numerical order).

Part B is made up of 25 circles as well, this time containing numbers and letters. The objective is to alternate the letters and numbers in numerical and alphabetical order (that is, A1, B2, C3, …), until all the circles are joined.

Neuropsychological functioning

As we have seen, the Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery, broadly speaking, assesses the neuropsychological functioning of the individual. But what does this operation imply? Actually, it refers to the brain’s ability to process, interpret and manage information from the outside and received through the senses.

Specifically, the battery is mainly used to evaluate people with some type of brain damage (or with suspicion of it). In addition, it provides useful information regarding the possible cause of the damage.

In addition to this information, information related to the severity of the impairment, and to “strong” or intact brain areas or functions, can be useful in designing appropriate cognitive neurorehabilitation plans for each patient.

Bibliographic references:

  • Ávila, A. (1997). Evaluation in Clinical Psychology I and II. Ed. Amarú. Salamanca.
  • Bausela, E. (2008). Neuropsychological evaluation in the adult population: neuropsychological settings, instruments and batteries. Rev. Reflections, 87 (2): 163-174.
  • Cohen, RJ, Swerdlik, ME (2002) Psychological Testing and Evaluation. McGraw-Hill. Madrid.

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