Course Title: Session G: Networks, Neural Connectivity and Neuropsychology


Credit Hours: 1.0


Instructor(s) Erin D. Bigler, PhD


INS Presidential Address: Networks, Neural Connectivity and Neuropsychology

For most of the 20th Century, neuropsychology could only infer what the potential underlying pathology may be in any given disorder, until post-mortem studies were performed. For 21st Century neuropsychology, the field has a myriad of in vivo neuroimaging methods that not only identify a variety of pathological conditions but also permit the study of brain morphology and connectivity in healthy, typically developing individuals. In this digital era, how neuropsychology utilizes available neuroimaging techniques may define the future of the field. This lecture will review a variety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods including structural imaging combined with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), resting state functional connectivity mapping (rs-fcMRI) and functional MRI and their utility in neuropsychological investigations. How to integrate these methods with neuropsychological assessment in the study of neural networks in the living individual with age-typical development, or some neurodevelopmental, neurological and/or neuropsychiatric disorder will be reviewed. A systems-level approach to neural connectivity and functional neural networks provides a much improved perspective for using neuroimaging findings in the neuropsychological examination of cognition and behavior. Examples from studies of traumatic brain injury and autism will be presented demonstrating the utility of this approach.

Erin D. Bigler, PhD

Erin D. Bigler, PhD

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Brigham Young University

At the conclusion of this session:

  1. Participants will be able to identify and select the major types of MRI investigations that can be performed to examine brain structure and function.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the neuroimaging techniques that best fit with the objectives and scope of neuropsychological examinations for specific neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Click here to view 43rd Annual Meeting presenter and program planner disclosures.

Speaker Biography

Erin D. Bigler is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he served as chair of the Psychology Department from 1996 through 2002. In 1990, he established the Brain Imaging and Behavior Laboratory at BYU, which studies the role of neuroimaging variables in cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders such as traumatic brain injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and learning disabilities, anoxic brain injuries and other acquired injuries of the brain as well as aging and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to this, he is an adjunct professor of psychiatry and faculty member of The Brain Institute at the University of Utah. In 2013 he was appointed director of BYU’s new Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Facility.

Dr. Bigler has been practicing since 1975 and holds a diplomate in clinical neuropsychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is the current president of the International Neuropsychological Society (2014-1015). Along with having written several neuropsychological tests, he has authored and/or edited 11 textbooks and published over 300 peer-reviewed articles. He was one of the founding associate editors for two journals in the field -- the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (JINS), where he served for 11 years as well as Brain Imaging and Behavior, where he continues to serve. Currently, he is associate editor for Neuropsychology. In 1999, he received the Distinguished Clinical Neuropsychologist Award from the National Academy of Neuropsychology. In that same year, he was also the recipient of the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, Brigham Young University’s top faculty honor. From 1989-1990, Dr. Bigler served as president of the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN). He was formerly a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Texas, until he returned to Utah in 1990 to assume his current position at BYU. For 37 years he has either directed or co-directed the subspecialty training in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Texas or BYU.