Neurophysiology Research

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Short Communication - Neurophysiology Research (2021) Volume 3, Issue 2

Cognitive Neuropsychology Has Been, Significant to Aphasiology

 

 
In recent years, some critical voices have been raised in regard to the significance of cognitive
neuropsychology (CNP) to the study of brain and mind. Given the central role of language disorders in
CNP research, it is time to consider the relevance of this research approach in aphasiology. We believe
that CNP case studies continue to be an important source of information for generating hypotheses
and providing converging evidence for research on the mind and on the brain. There is however a need
for further research development especially in computational modeling of language processes, their
impairments, and recovery. This research is expected to provide further benefit to clinical diagnostics
and treatment of aphasia. The present target paper was prompted by recent discussions of the scientific
import of cognitive neuropsychology (CNP) as well as general trends in brain and mind sciences that
may create the impression that the CNP approach is somewhat obsolete. The CNP approach, as its
name implies, embraces both cognition and the brain by linking the two via associations of neural
damage and residual patterns of spared and impaired cognitive abilities. However, current paradigms
in cognitive neuroscience depart from the original patient study approach advanced by CNP in two
directions. At the methodological level, advances in neuroimaging technology have led to an explosion
of studies on the neural substrates of cognitive processes in the normal brain. At the theoretical level,
emphasis on non-symbolic (distributed connectionist) models of cognition deviates from the reliance on
“boxes-and-arrows” models that typically have been associated with the CNP approach. In light of these
developments, it appears timely to discuss the role of CNP in the field of aphasiology, as the cognitive
architecture of language has been a prime target for the CNP approach. The present paper is organized
as follows. First, we briefly describe the recent criticisms leveled against CNP research and our own take
on these issues. This is followed by some methodological considerations that pertain to the single-case
study approach in CNP. Then we provide the reader with one concrete example on the use of the CNP
approach in the study of language and memory systems and discuss the relevance of this approach to
clinical work in aphasiology. Finally, we draw conclusions on the theoretical and clinical significance of
CNP and consider some future directions for this approach. Some cases with acquired deficits may by
chance exhibit some unusual features in premorbid functional brain organization that the researcher
is unaware of but that can affect their post-injury performance profile. Additionally, an individual may
employ unique compensatory mechanisms to overcome cognitive deficits, particularly at a chronic stage
following brain injury. The complexities of interpreting data from single case studies underscore the
need for converging evidence from other data sources.
Author(s): Ghadir Jouili,

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