An Evaluation of Case Studies and Their Contribution to Cognitive Neuropsychology as a Discipline

An Evaluation of Case Studies and Their Contribution to Cognitive Neuropsychology as a Discipline

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Cognitive psychology is the study of the brains internal processes that guide behaviour; to study cognition, psychologists examine case studies of patients with damaged brains that can infer areas, and functions involved in particular processes. Patient studies have provided insights into the processes that take place within our minds, and have enabled psychologists to create models, which can be tested and fractionated. Cognitive neuropsychology has developed from cognitive psychology to become a discipline in its own right; it investigates the function and structures of the brain involved in cognitive processes and should not be confused with cognitive neuroscience, which is primarily concerned with neural structures and their functions.
Cognitive psychologists investigate processes using case studies of brain-damaged patients, these are then analysed to build models that represent normal cognitive processes. This essay will examine the contribution case studies have made to the development of cognitive neuropsychology as a discipline in its own right and draw attention to issues surrounding the use of brain damaged patients to infer cognitive functions and processes. At the same time, it will evaluate the contribution that case studies have made to our understanding of cognitive processes.
Cognitive processes are the unseen systems used by our minds to complete tasks such as solving problems, recognising an object, or learning a language. These unseen mental processes take place in the brain, which is a complex piece of equipment often compared to a computer. When the internal workings of a computer are exposed, all that we see are microchips, circuit boards, hard drives and other assorted pieces, which, all work and ...


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...gy; therefore, case studies have contributed to the development of this branch of psychology as a discipline in its own right.



Works Cited

Caramazza, A., & Coltheart, M. (2006). Cognitive Neuropsychology twenty years on. Cognitive Neuropsychology, Vol. 23, pp. 3-12.
Gazzaniga, M. (2011). Interview with Michael Gazzaniga. Year in Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 1224, pp.1-8.
Jansari, A. (2010). Cognitive neuropsychology In H. Kaye (Ed.), Cognitive Psychology Methods Companion (2nd ed., pp.59-101), Milton Keynes: The Open University.
McKone, E., Kanwisher, N. & Duchaine, B. C. (2007). Can generic expertise explain special processing for faces?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol 11, pp.8-15.
Young, A. W., Newcombe, F., Haan, E., Small, M., & Hay, D. C. (1993). Face perception after brain injury. Brain: A Journal of Neurology, Vol. 116, pp. 941-959.

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