Cognitive Neuropsychology

Cognitive Neuropsychology is a field of study based on the concept that physical brain structure and functions specifically relate to psychological processes such as language perception, memory retention, recognition, and personality. Much research in this area arises by studying patients with brain damage in a particular area and how this damage affects psychological processes and behaviors.

This first instance of this type of research was in 1848 with a man named Phineas Gage who had an iron rod lodged through the front left part of his brain. The rod was removed and he survived and showed no sensory or motor disruptions. However, he had significant changes to his personality. He became irrational and lost reasoning skills. This lead to the discovery that the frontal lobe was the location of logic, reasoning skills, and many personality aspects. It was the first time that people had connected a part of the brain to specific psychological functions and behaviors. Due to increasing technology in brain imaging and computers scientists can now do cognitive neuropsychological research in normal healthy patients in addition to those who have injuries.

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