Single-case cognitive neuropsychology in the age of big data
Medina, Jared; Fischer-Baum, Simon
Historically, single-case studies of brain-damaged individuals have contributed substantially to our understanding of cognitive processes. However, the role of single-case cognitive neuropsychology has diminished with the proliferation of techniques that measure neural activity in humans. Instead, large-scale informatics approaches in which data are gathered from hundreds of neuroimaging studies have become popular. It has been claimed that utilizing these informatics approaches can address problems found in single imaging studies. We first discuss reasons for why cognitive neuropsychology is thought to be in decline. Next, we note how these informatics approaches, while having benefits, are not particularly suited for understanding functional architectures. We propose that the single-case cognitive neuropsychological approach, which is focused on developing models of cognitive processing, addresses several of the weaknesses inherent in informatics approaches. Furthermore, we discuss how using neural data from brain-damaged individuals provides data that can inform both cognitive and neural models of cognitive processing.
Cognitive neuropsychology; big data; cognition