Disharmonic intelligence profile


A neuropsychological examination can reveal a disharmonic intelligence profile that occurs in many people with brain injuries.
It sometimes happens that a person is verbally strong, so she or he can express himself well in speech of writing (verbal IQ), but scores very poorly on executive tasks. For example, problems with planning or overview (performance IQ).

Intelligence is measured with an intelligence test. This measures a total IQ (TIQ). This is divided into a verbal part (VIQ), focusing on verbal knowledge and skills, and a performal part (PIQ), focusing on action-oriented thinking.

The phenomenon of a disharmonic profile can also occur in people who do not have a brain injury, for example people who are gifted or people with an autistic disorder or even people with anxiety disorders. Note that it does not have to lead to problems.


There can be huge differences between the VIQ and the PIQ. In that case we talk about a disharmonic intelligence profile or the Verbal Performal gap. This gap can be caused by brain injury, but it may also be that the gap was already there before the brain injury and that it was aggravated by the brain injury.


The trouble may lie in one or more functions:

  • Planning,
  • Organizing,
  • Time management, time estimation and being able to assign tasks,
  • Anticipate,
  • Transcendent thinking,
  • Abstract and conceptual thinking,
  • Multitasking,
  • Goal-oriented behavior,
  • Problem solving ability,
  • Cognitive flexibility,
  • Emotion regulation,
  • Responding socially,
  • Self-insight (what is your share in events),
  • Working memory (what is relevant and what is not relevant to remember, how do you make sure you remember something, and make sure that you can dig up something from your long term memory),
  • Focus and sustain,
  • Inhibition (ability to slow down your behavior),
  • Ability for orientation in place,
  • Visual memory.


It is important for the environment and the person in question to know that this disability occurs.


See also here about the verbal performal IQ gap