Mental Status Exam
Mental Status Exam

Assessment of Reading



  • Show the patient a list of words and ask them to read the words out loud, or ask them to read a few sentences from a newspaper.
    • Causes of Disordered Reading

    • Pure alexia - reading of words letter-by-letter.
    • Surface dyslexia - ability to phonetically sound out words (breed, steam), but difficulty reading words with irregular spelling (debt, colonel, broad, steak).
    • Phonological dyslexia - inability to read non-words (neg, bluck, deak) with otherwise normal reading of words.
    • Deep dyslexia - semantic errors (e.g. reading the word ‘table’ as ‘chair’ or ‘street’ as ‘road’), and inability to read plausible non-words (neg, bluck, deak).Stroke, traumatic brain injury
    • Neglect dyslexia - the patient omits or substitutes part of a word, especially at the beginning of the word. For example, island / land or fish / dish.Dominant hemispheric damage
    • Note

    • The term ‘dyslexia' is colloquially used to denote ‘developmental dyslexia', which is a global difficulty in reading beginning in childhood that may progress to adulthood. The dyslexias identified above are specific defects that are generally acquired rather than developmental.
Last updated on November 7th, 2019
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge


 Berrios GE. Stupor revisited. Compr Psychiatry. 1981;22:466-478. Chapman LJ. Distractibility in the conceptual performance of schizophrenics.The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. 1956; 53(3): 286-291. Charlton MH. Visual Hallucinations. The Psychiatric Quarterly. 1963 July; 37(3): 490-498. Chorover SL, Schiller PH, Tenen SS. Retrograde Amnesia. Science. 1965 Sept; 149(3691): 1521. Coltheart M, Masterson J, Byng S, Prior M, Riddoch J. Surface Dyslexia. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1983; 35(3): 469-495. Day RK. Psychomotor Agitation: Poorly Defined and Badly Measured. Journal of Affective Disorders. 1999 Oct; 55(2-3): 89-98. Dubois B, Litvan I. The FAB: A frontal assessment battery at bedside. Neurology. 2000; 55(11): 1621-1626. Ely EW, Truman B, Shintani A, Thomason JWW, Wheeler AP, Gordon S, et al. Monitoring sedation status over time in ICU patients: reliability and validity of the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale (RASS). JAMA. 2003 Jun. 11;289(22):2983-2991. Endicott J, Spitzer RL. A Diagnostic Interview: The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978; 35(7): 837-844. Faber RA. The Neuropsychiatric Mental Status Examination. Semin Neurol. 2009; 29(3): 185-193.
Fish FJ, Caset PR, Kelly B. Fish's Clinical Psychopathology: Signs and Symptoms in Psychiatry. 2006, RCPsych Publications.
 Ford RA. The Psychopathology of Echophenomena. Psychological Medicine. 1989; 19: 627-635. Kaplan E, Goodglass H, Weintrab S. The Boston Naming Test. 1983. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. Lucchelli F, Spinnler H. The Psychogenic versus Organic Conundrum of Pure Retrograde: Amnesia: is it Still Worth Pursuing?. Cortex. 2002; 38: 665-669. Markowitsch HJ. Anterograde Amnesia. 2008; 88: 155-183. Payne RW, Caird WK. Reaction time, distractibility, and overinclusive thinking in psychotics.Jorunal of Abnormal Psychology. 1967; 72(2); 112-121.
Singh P. Hallucinations. 2010 Nov; 44.
 Smaga S. Tremor. American Family Physician. 2003 Oct; 68(8): 1545-1552. Smith JM, Alloy LB. A roadmap to rumination: a review of the definition, assessment, and conceptualization of this multifaceted construct. Clinical Psychology Review. 2009 March; 29(2): 116-128. Veale D. Over-Valued Ideas: A Conceptual Analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2002; 40: 383-400. Weiner MF, Hynan LS, Rossetti H, Falkowski J. Luria’s three-step test: what is it and what does it tell us? International Psychogeriatrics / Ipa. 2011;23(10):1602-1606. Whitehouse PJ, Patterson MB, Strauss ME, Gelmacher DS, Mack JL, Gilmore GC, Koss E. Hallucinations. International Psychogeriatrics. 1996; 8(S3): 387-392.
Yaryura-Tobias JA. An overview of delusions, obsessions and overvalued ideas. Clinical Neuropsychiatry. 2004; 1(1): 5-12.