Developmental disorders

What can be learned from cognitive neuropsychology?

Anne Castles*, Saskia Kohnen, Lyndsey Nickels, Jon Brock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


The discipline of cognitive neuropsychology has been important for informing theories of cognition and describing the nature of acquired cognitive disorders, but its applicability in a developmental context has been questioned. Here, we revisit this issue, asking whether the cognitive neuropsychological approach can be helpful for exploring the nature and causes of developmental disorders and, if so, how. We outline the key features of the cognitive neuropsychological approach, and then consider how some of the major challenges to this approach from a developmental perspective might be met. In doing so, we distinguish between challenges to the methods of cognitive neuropsychology and those facing its deeper conceptual underpinnings. We conclude that the detailed investigation of patterns of both associations and dissociations, and across both developmental and acquired cases, can assist in describing the cognitive deficits within developmental disorders and in delineating possible causal pathways to their acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130407
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1634
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2014


  • Acquired disorders
  • Associations
  • Cognitive neuropsychology
  • Developmental disorders
  • Dissociations

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