The Boston Process Approach and Digital Neuropsychological Assessment: Past Research and Future Directions

David J. Libon, Rod Swenson, Melissa Lamar, Catherine C. Price, Ganesh Baliga, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Rhoda Au, Stephanie Cosentino, Stacy L. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Neuropsychological assessment using the Boston Process Approach (BPA) suggests that an analysis of the strategy or the process by which tasks and neuropsychological tests are completed, and the errors made during test completion convey much information regarding underlying brain and cognition and are as important as overall summary scores. Research over the last several decades employing an analysis of process and errors has been able to dissociate between dementia patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia associated with MRI-determined white matter alterations, and Parkinson's disease; and between mild cognitive impairment subtypes. Nonetheless, BPA methods can be labor intensive to deploy. However, the recent availability of digital platforms for neuropsychological test administration and scoring now enables reliable, rapid, and objective data collection. Further, digital technology can quantify highly nuanced data previously unobtainable to define neurocognitive constructs with high accuracy. In this paper, a brief review of the BPA is provided. Studies that demonstrate how digital technology translates BPA into specific neurocognitive constructs using the Clock Drawing Test, Backward Digit Span Test, and a Digital Pointing Span Test are described. Implications for using data driven artificial intelligence-supported analytic approaches enabling the creation of more sensitive and specific detection/diagnostic algorithms for putative neurodegenerative illness are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1419-1432
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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