PAR author David J. Schretlen, PhD, will be giving a workshop at the annual conference of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2011.  Dr Schretlen’s workshop, entitled “Threats to the Validity of Inference in Neuropsychology and Novel Methods of Practice to Help Overcome Them,” will encourage participants to consider fundamental questions about inference in clinical psychology:

  • How do we decide when a neuropsychological examination is abnormal?
  • What constitutes “impaired” test performance?
  • When does a set of abnormal test scores represent a clinically meaningful pattern?

 

Dr. Schretlen will describe three basic approaches to clinical inference (pathological signs, deficit measurement, and pattern analysis) and examine the underlying logical assumptions, implementation, strengths, and threats to the validity of each inferential method.  Participants will examine the conceptualization and assessment of pathognomonic signs and cognitive deficits and will discuss the risky practice of sysgiving additional tests to clarify ambiguous findings.  Dr. Schretlen will describe what it means to “calibrate” test performance for demographic characteristics and estimated premorbid ability, and how this fundamentally alters the meaning of high and low test scores.  Participants will learn about the circumstances under which raw scores can be more informative than demographically calibrated scores.  Finally, Dr. Schretlen will argue that symptom validity testing differs from effort testing, and he will present findings from an experiment designed to assess cognitive effort among adults with no incentive to feign impairment and no evidence of symptom exaggeration.

Dr. Schretlen is Associate Professor of Medical Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Radiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  He is the author of the Calibrated Neuropsychological Normative System™ (CNNS™) and the companion Software Portfolio (CNNS™-SP), which are designed to assist clinicians and researchers in their interpretation of the tests that make up the normative system.  To learn more about how to improve the precision of neuropsychological test interpretation with the CNNS and to see a list of tests calibrated by the CNNS, visit www.parinc.com 

1. Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?

I was 8 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist. I had come across a series of books my sister had about human nature in which the term was often mentioned. While I did not really understand what being a psychologist meant at the time, things in the books such as pictures of the brain and visual illusions made a lasting impression on me. During high school I developed an interest in the etiology and treatment of substance abuse in adolescents. While my career path eventually led largely away from that topic, it cemented my dedication to a career in psychology.

 2. What made you decide initially to develop the TEC?

During the development of the BRIEF-A, Peter Isquith, Gerry Gioia, and I had engaged in discussions about assessment and functional neuroimaging of executive functions. We became interested in the idea of developing an instrument that would involve executive function tasks often used in neuroimaging studies but that had not been standardized for use as a clinical measure.

 3. What would you like to tell people about the TEC that they may not know?

It took 7 years from the initial discussion about developing a new measure to publication of the TEC. A great deal of time was spent developing the measure, trying different parameters, selecting stimuli, making other adjustments and changes to the task and reports based on pilot testing, analyzing data, and writing and editing the manual. It was a true labor of love.

 4. What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?

I have been studying executive functions, using a variety of methods (neuropsychological measures, ERPs, fMRI, questionnaires) for the past 20 years. I love writing and mentoring scientific papers. I am a trilingual Canadian from Montreal Quebec who speaks English, French, and Hungarian (the latter being my parents’ native language).

 5. How do you spend your free time? (hobbies, books are you reading, movies you enjoy, pets, etc.)

I most enjoy spending time with my two sons and other family members. Other than that, reading history and historical fiction related to Europe, tourism, watching movies (lots of kid-friendly fare, but also romantic comedies and sci-fi, as well as just about anything that has to do with historical events pre-1919), listening to hard rock and heavy metal music, and following the National Hockey League (go Habs!).
According to the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes, Third Edition, there is no one-size-fits-all code for psychologists. In fact, there are 9 entries for different types of occupational codes for psychologists, one entry for psychometrist, and many others for closely-related jobs. Does your job fit your Holland code?

Psychologist, chief- ISE

Psychologist, counseling- SIA

Psychologist, developmental- IRS

Psychologist, educational- IES

Psychologist, engineering- IRS

Psychologist, experimental- IAE

Psychologist, industrial-organizational- IES

Psychologist, school- SEI

Psychologist, social- IAE

Psychometrist- IES

To learn more about Dr. John Holland or to take the Self-Directed Search in order to find your Holland code, visit www.self-directed-search.com.

Our January catalog is now available!
Download a PDF of our latest catalog by clicking here.


Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
I was first interested in biology and especially in the brain. In my first behavioral neuroscience class, I felt that this field took on many of the questions that had always been interesting to me. Then I was given the chance to spend a summer as an undergraduate working on a study of people with aphasia. I realized then that I was really interested in neuropsychology.

What made you decide initially to develop the Memory for Intentions Test™ (MIST™)?
In working with people who have brain injury and asking them to set goals for rehabilitation, the problem of prospective memory, or memory for intentions, kept coming up. I wanted to understand what it was about completing an intention that was difficult for people with brain injury. At the time, there was no standardized measure available.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
I think it is very useful as a clinical measure and has the ability to discriminate between different types of prospective memory failures in different populations; the alternate form makes it useful to measure efficacy of rehabilitation. But it is also a useful research measure and has been published in a number of studies with people with different disorders.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
I love the theater and one of my jobs during graduate school in New York City was sewing costumes. My kids got interested in theater, and my son even convinced me to be in a community theater production with him. My daughter still does plays, but my son is now focused on playing guitar.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend as much time as I can with my two children, ages 10 and 14, and my husband. We had the wonderful experience of spending six weeks together as a family in Rome this summer while I taught a course titled “The Arts and the Brain.” I spend time volunteering in my kids’ schools or in other community activities. I love to read novels, the more tragic the better.
Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
Initially, what I found most compelling about the field of psychology was psychopathology—its development and treatment. During my latter years in college, however, I became increasingly interested in society’s formal responses to persons with mental disorders. This, combined with a longstanding interest in the law, led me to enter Florida State University’s doctoral program in clinical psychology, since a number of faculty in the psychology department were interested in interactions between the legal and mental health systems.

What made you decide to develop the Inventory of Legal Knowledge?
I decided to develop the ILK because of my longstanding clinical and research interests in two areas—assessment of criminal competencies and assessment of response style. I also had the opportunity to work with a great colleague, Jeff Musick, who I had the pleasure of supervising when he completed his clinical psychology internship at the University of South Florida. Jeff had developed what could be considered an early ILK prototype. After some discussion, we concluded it would be a good project on which to collaborate. The rest, as they say, is history.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
Two things. First, both Jeff and I regularly evaluate defendants whose competence to proceed with the legal process is raised as an issue. I like to think that, as a result, we are sensitive to the many realities facing forensic psychologists, and that we designed and developed a tool that is user-friendly as a result. I would also like to share that we first agreed that the name of the instrument would be the Competence Assessment Tool, or COMPASS, for short. We thought that the idea of a compass providing direction was particularly clever and would make for a great graphic on the test manual cover, to boot.  Unfortunately, an assessment instrument with a similar name was already in existence. Our second choice was the Inventory of Legal Knowledge, the ILK.

How do you spend your free time?
When not at work or with my family, I am most likely to be found on a motorcycle or in a game of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em.
PAR staff are on the way to Vancouver, British Columbia for the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) 30th Annual Conference. If you are attending NAN, please stop by our booth to meet some of our staff and take a look at some of the new products we recently released, including the Tasks of Executive Control™ (TEC™), the Memory for Intentions Test™ (MIST™), the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms, 2nd Edition (SIRS-2), the Mini-Mental® State Examination, 2nd Edition ( MMSE®-2™), the NEO Personality Inventory-3™ (NEO-PI-3™), and more. NAN attendees receive 15% and free shipping and handling on all purchases made at the conference.


Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
My father was a mechanical engineer and very early in my childhood I realized I had no manual aptitude or skills whatsoever. So that career option was closed by lack of talent. My mother always encouraged me to pursue helping professions. When I began taking psychology classes in college at Indiana University, I had a natural affinity for the subject matter.

What made you decide initially to develop the ECAF™-2?
As a practitioner, I realized that the discipline needs more standardization and objectivity and many practicing vocational experts shared my beliefs. In fact, there is a formal group in California that is attempting to develop practice standards. As I gained experience over the years, I learned that there is no other measure equivalent to the ECAF-2.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
It has been under development for over a decade and it has been well-validated through a number of published reliability and validity studies. Also, it incorporates generally accepted methods in sync with mainstream theories.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
My first novel, Justice Indicted, will be published in February 2011. The book is a social commentary based on my experiences as an expert witness for over 25 years.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time traveling with my wife. I have three children ages 16-22. I’ll be accompanying my oldest child on a trip to London later this month; he is enrolling in a master’s program at the London School of Economics.


Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
This was the best way I could think of to participate in the evolution of our world. I was fascinated by the complex task of identifying patterns to thoughts, feelings, and behavior that could help us predict a person's behavior. I could not find any field more complex, and all other fields seemed boring compared to this intellectual frontier.


What made you decide initially to develop the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2™ Child and Adolescent (STAXI-2™ C/A)?
The amazing paucity of anger measures currently existing, especially for children and adolescents. I knew the state-trait theory already had been overwhelmingly accepted by the field of psychological assessment. As a developmental psychologist in training, I approached Charlie Spielberger and suggested we develop a measure for children. He and I knew there was such a need since parents, teachers, and mental health professionals were all very concerned about the high prevalence of anger, but researchers seemed to have been giving most of their attention to anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, etc., classical conditions. Meanwhile, the public health problem of anger “snuck up” on our world. We see this with the school shootings that have occurred that now have everyone's attention.

What would you like to tell people about your product that they may not know?
This is a measure that can truly help get at the nuances of anger. As a practicing developmental psychologist who works everyday in the trenches with parents, pediatricians, teachers, etc., I have a keen sense of whether a measure is worth our time and energy as a practitioner who is very busy. The STAXI-2 C/A passes this test admirably. Why? Most people do not want to know if there is anger or not, rather, they want to know if the child is possibly harboring anger, how much they are struggling to control their anger, and to what degree might they be controlling anger much more than any adult appreciates. They also want to know if the anger is more just a temporary state or more like a trait, and thus, more concerning.

These are the most compelling question for our field, and for the adults working with children. And it is these questions that the STAXI-2 C/A provides answers to. Second, this is a necessary measure any time one is conducting a risk assessment, as again, this measure endeavors to assess covert anger that we have learned is “silent but deadly.” This anger measure provides a robust profile of a person's personality as it relates to anger. In this way, this measure is very practical.

What would you like to tell people about yourself that they may not know?
My experience with anger goes far beyond research and clinical settings, as I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, and am blessed with everyday appreciating the nuances of anger in my wonderful children. I learn from them every day. We, as parents, know there is nothing that can replace real-world experience with emotions like anger. I am also a competitive cyclist who most recently rode the Tour de Tucson, a 67 mile road race. My wife and I, with our two wonderful children, live in Tucson, Arizona, deep in the desert, my favorite place on earth.

How do you spend your free time?
Riding as fast as I can down the road, rain or shine. When not in the bike saddle, I am reading to my kids or we are outside enjoying the desert climate. I am currently learning about Transformers and He-Man from my son, and from my daughter, I am learning all about the importance of having tea parties for her dolls.