Cognitive Neuroscience Case Study

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Abstract

The current ubiquity of functional neuroimaging studies, and the importance they have had in elucidating brain function, obscures the fact that much of what we know about brain–behavior relationships derives largely from the study of single- and multiple-patient cases. A major goal of the present review is to describe how single cases continue to uniquely and critically contribute to cognitive neuroscience theory. With several recent examples from the literature, we demonstrate that single cases can both challenge accepted dogma and generate hypotheses and theories that steer the field in new directions. We discuss recent findings from case studies that specify critical functions of the hippocampus in episodic memory and recollection, and clarify its role in nonmnemonic abilities. Although we focus on the hippocampus, we discuss other regions and the occurrence of new associative learning, as well as the involvement of the ventromedial prefrontal and parietal cortices in memory encoding and retrieval. We also describe ways of dealing with the shortcomings of case studies, and emphasize the partnership of patient and neuroimaging methods in constraining neurocognitive models of memory.

Contributors.

Introduction: Ruth Campbell.

1. The Girl who liked to shout in church: Simon Baron-Cohen.

2. More than meets the eye: Linda Pring.

3. Visual Thoughts: Barbara Dodd and Judith Murphy.

4. When Language is a problem: M. Gopnik.

5. Developmental verbal dyspraxia: a longitudinal case study: Joy Stockhouse.

6. Developmental reading and writing impairment: Maggie Snowling and Nata Goulandris.

7. Deaf to the meaning of words: Sue Franklin and David Howard.

8. The write stuff: a case of acquired spelling disorder: Janice Kay.

9. The two-legged apple: Jennie Powell and Jules Davidoff.

10. The smiling giraffe: an illustration of a visual memory disorder: M. Jane Riddoch and Glyn W. Humphreys.

11. Drawing without meaning?: dissociations in the graphic performance of an agnostic artist: Sue Franklin, Peter van Sommers and David Howard.

12. Developmental memory impairment: faces and patterns: Christine M. Temple.

13. Face to Face: interpreting a case of developmental prosopagnosia: Ruth Campbell.

14. Transient global amnesia: John R. Hodges.

15. Adult commissurotomy: separating the left from the right side of the brain: Dahlia W. Zaidel.

Glossary.

Author index.

Patient index.

Subject index.

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