A high achiever is a highly motivated individual who has unique talents and abilities and/or demonstrates a potential for outstanding accomplishment.

Business, professional and civic leaders, executives, physicians, lawyers, academics, artists, athletes, and students are all examples of high achievers who have high intelligence, leadership ability, giftedness, creativity, expertise, or other special abilities and aptitudes in their area of focus.

Striving for success does not always come easily. High achievers and gifted individuals may face a range of obstacles, disruptions, and other challenges in career and educational endeavours, as well as in personal growth.

As a result, high achievers benefit from an advanced assessment approach to determining their psychological, neuropsychological, and vocational strengths, challenges, and losses in both medicolegal and personal optimization contexts to turn challenges into opportunities in career and educational advancement.

CORTEX Centre assessments employ three perspectives on giftedness:

  1. High intelligence. Gifted individuals are those who have superior to very superior intelligence
  2. Outstanding accomplishment. Gifted individuals are viewed as those showing outstanding accomplishments in one of many socially valued domains, such as academics, arts, business or athletics. Creativity and innovation are important components of this perspective on giftedness
  3. Potential to excel. Gifted people demonstrate talent and potential for extraordinary performance in academics, career, sports, entrepreneurship, and other important domains.
    Gifted people achieve their best when they are challenged; a lack of challenge negatively affects motivation and self-concept. Individuals who have a growth mindset initiate challenging tasks and persevere through difficulties.

Research shows that many aspects of talent develop as part of growth mindsets, including goal setting, positive emotions, rest routines, grit and perseverance, strategies for maintaining performance anxiety and confidence at optimal levels, as well as other personal qualities, which can be systematically developed and strengthened.

Gifted individuals are likely to benefit from guidance, coaching, programming, resources, and personal decisions that facilitate their achievement and growth, especially when matched to their unique profiles of abilities, interests, and personality.

Psychological assessment of gifted individuals, in all age groups and regardless of the talent domain, provides an objective basis for helping them grow, overcome challenges, and achieve their potential.

A complex case can be identified as involving:

  • Multiple concurrent diagnoses;
    • e.g., mild traumatic brain injury, together with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain
  • Catastrophic injuries affecting cognitive, emotional, and behavioural aspects of functioning
    • e.g., severe acquired brain injury with medical complications and serious functional impact
  • Presence of multiple possible causes of impairment, including pre-existing and co-existing clinical conditions, which need to be disentangled
  • Low incidence and/or unusual clinical presentations that may be difficult to diagnose, or infrequent but possible
    • e.g., inconsistent presentation over time or between assessments, Conversion Disorder and other Somatic Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with psychotic features, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder of traumatic origin
  • “Frontiers of science” scenarios, including mental health, neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric conditions, or causations that are not yet fully understood
    • e.g., PTSD, depression, and cognitive difficulties that may arise from traumatic Intensive Care experiences, such as respiratory distress
  • Suspected symptom magnification, exaggeration, malingering, and other symptom and performance validity issues that require special science-based investigative approaches
  • Defensive response sets that interfere with assessing psychological or emotional difficulties
  • Difficult-to-assess cases involving cultural, language, sensory, and/or physical barriers to assessment
  • Cases where significant differences in diagnostic and causality opinions exist among assessing professionals and experts

Although a minority in medicolegal contexts, complex cases can be contentious and costly.

High stakes assessments occur in a number of situations, for example:

  • Litigation, including personal injury, insurance, employment and human rights
  • Determination of entitlement and access to certain benefits, such as compensation for injury and disability benefits
  • Fitness for duty for safety sensitive professionals
  • Readiness to return to work, work accommodation, discrimination, harassment, and employment termination
  • Personnel selection and promotion in the workplace
  • Career optimization and advancement for high achievers
  • Test and exam accommodations in various educational contexts
  • Mental competency to manage personal affairs or finances, or make serious or irreversible health and life decisions

The results of high stakes assessments have major life, career, work, and financial implications for the client and are important for all involved parties. Because of this major impact, our assessments utilize only highly scientifically advanced methods.

Mental competence involves the understanding of pertinent information, appreciation of one’s situation, risks, and benefits of decision, rational decision making, and communication of choice. Cognitive impairment and emotional or thought disorder can negatively affect mental competence to make a wide range of life, family, financial and complex health decisions, especially under stressful circumstances, including those personal decisions that may be irreversible.Assessments of mental competence determine if a person has the mental capacity to decide in accordance with one’s goals, concerns and values.

Meeting the highest courtroom standards, this highly specialized medicolegal assessment precisely answers referral questions about the range of psychological, neuropsychological, and functional losses unique to high achievers in occupational and career contexts.

The CORTEX Centre uniquely specializes in independent medicolegal neuropsychological and psychological assessments of high achievers using newly developed, advanced methodology that captures specific losses achievers may sustain in psychological, cognitive, and vocational functioning. These often difficult-to-capture losses may be both clinical and occupational.

High achievers, such as professionals and business executives, tend to work in exceptionally demanding and competitive occupational domains; they may have to minimize or conceal their difficulties by working harder and applying sophisticated compensatory strategies. Even subtle difficulties may translate into a loss of competitive edge and significant professional, career, or business losses in the multi-million dollar range.

Challenging and complex, these assessments employ advanced psychological and neuropsychological methods and state-of-the-art evidence-based approaches to determine:

  • Losses arising from acquired brain injury
  • Emotional or physical trauma
  • Injury-related stressors and burden of symptoms
  • Ongoing clinical symptoms; including mental health issues, cognitive challenges, pain, and fatigue

CORTEX Centre assessments of high achievers, as well as gifted and talented individuals, can detect subtle psychological and neuropsychological losses that are otherwise difficult to identify using conventional methods, thus determining their impact on career and functioning. We apply innovative, evidence-based, prognostic CORTEX Centre-developed methodology and provide multidisciplinary recommendations. Our experts have considerable academic, clinical, and court expertise in preparing reports that meet the highest medicolegal standards.

Glossary of Terms:

Accommodations (Test Accommodations, Academic and Work Accommodations):
changes made in the test format or administration, schooling, or job environment to ensure fairness for persons with disabilities.

Aptitudes (Aptitude Testing)
natural ability at a certain task, or in a certain area; finding what you are good at.

in-depth examinations of a situation in order to determine how to proceed.

the reason something happens; the relation between cause and effect.

having to do with mental abilities, such as attention, learning, or understanding.

identification of a disease, condition, or other problem.

Disability (Complex Disability, Learning Disability, Long Term Disability)
limitation of mental or physical ability due to impairment.

interruption of a process.

Fitness for Duty (Fitness for Practice, Fitness for Work)
determining if someone can be relied upon to do what is expected at their job.

having to do with both medicine and law.

Mental Competence
ability to consciously and rationally make decisions; being of sound mind.

referring to the interaction between brain and behaviour.

prediction of the outcome of an injury, disease or illness, particularly recovery.

Psychological (Psychovocational, Psychoeducational)
referring to the mind and behaviour; in career and learning contexts.

Return to Work (Stay at Work)
determination if an injured or ill employee can to go back to work safely and stay at work.

Screening (Cognitive Screening)
method to identify possible problems that significantly affect thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

Talent Development
action taken to improve employee skills so that the company succeeds.

Vocational (Work Capacity)
relating to work and an occupation; abilities and skills related to employment.


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