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On the use of different methodologies in cognitive neuropsychology: Drink deep and from several sources

Nickels, L; Howard, D; Best, W; (2011) On the use of different methodologies in cognitive neuropsychology: Drink deep and from several sources. COGNITIVE NEUROPSYCHOLOGY , 28 (7) 475 - 485. 10.1080/02643294.2012.672406. Green open access

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Abstract

Cognitive neuropsychology has championed the use of single-case research design. Recently, however, case series designs that employ multiple single cases have been increasingly utilized to address theoretical issues using data from neuropsychological populations. In this paper, we examine these methodologies, focusing on a number of points in particular. First we discuss the use of dissociations and associations, often thought of as a defining feature of cognitive neuropsychology, and argue that they are better viewed as part of a spectrum of methods that aim to explain and predict behaviour. We also raise issues regarding case series design in particular, arguing that selection of an appropriate sample, including controlling degree of homogeneity, is critical and constrains the theoretical claims that can be made on the basis of the data. We discuss the possible interpretation of “outliers” in a case series, suggesting that while they may reflect “noise” caused by variability in performance due to factors that are not of relevance to the theoretical claims, they may also reflect the presence of patterns that are critical to test, refine, and potentially falsify our theories. The role of case series in treatment research is also raised, in light of the fact that, despite their status as gold standard, randomized controlled trials cannot provide answers to many crucial theoretical and clinical questions. Finally, we stress the importance of converging evidence: We propose that it is conclusions informed by multiple sources of evidence that are likely to best inform theory and stand the test of time.

Type: Article
Title: On the use of different methodologies in cognitive neuropsychology: Drink deep and from several sources
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02643294.2012.672406
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02643294.2012.672406
Additional information: © 2011. The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The moral rights of the named author(s) have been asserted. PubMed ID: 22746689
Keywords: Case series, Single-case studies, Cognitive neuropsychology, Methodology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1376288
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