Lessons from cognitive neuropsychology for cognitive science

A reply to patterson and plaut (2009)

Max Coltheart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinion

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A recent article in this journal (Patterson & Plaut, 2009) argued that cognitive neuropsychology has told us very little over the past 30 or 40years about "how the brain accomplishes its cognitive business." This may well be true, but it is not important, because the principal aim of cognitive neuropsychology is not to learn about the brain. Its principal aim is instead to learn about the mind, that is, to elucidate the functional architecture of cognition. I show that this is so (a) via extensive quotations from leading figures in this field and (b) by analysis of the subject matter of articles in the leading journal in the field, Cognitive Neuropsychology. Recent reviews of the past 25years of work in this field (Coltheart & Caramazza, 2006) have concluded that cognitive neuropsychology has told us much about the functional architecture of cognition in a variety of cognitive domains. Patterson and Plaut (2009) did not consider this aim of cognitive neuropsychology. Therefore, their conclusions that cognitive neuropsychology has not been successful, and that this is because the particular methods it uses are flawed, are not justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

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