The Changing Relationship Between Anatomic and Cognitive Explanation in the Neuropsychology of Language1

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Changing trends in the approach to neurolinguistics are reviewed. We suggest that these trends are marked by a distinct convergence between linguistic/cognitive and anatomic/physiological approaches to the study of aphasia. With respect to the former, we cite the refinement of analysis of language symptoms and the introduction of experimental methods that reveal real-time aspects of language processing. With respect to the latter, we cite the technical advances in static and dynamic brain imaging that have allowed the in vivo analysis of lesion sites in aphasic patients, and the identification of foci of metabolic activity during linguistic/cognitive tasks in normal brains. We cite recent imaging studies of category-specific lexical dissociations as examples of the productive convergence of anatomic and technological advances to illuminate a particularly challenging problem.

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