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Neuropsychological assessment methodology revisited: metatheoretical reflections

Theory building in neuropsychology, similar to other disciplines, rests on metatheoretical assumptions of philosophical origin.

Neuropsychological assessment methodology revisited: metatheoretical reflections

Such assumptions regarding the relation of psychological and physiological variables influence research methodologies as well as assessment strategies in fields of application. Here, we revisit the classic procedure of Double Dissociation (DD) to illustrate the connection of metatheory and methodology. In a seemingly unbridgeable opposition, the classical neuropsychological procedure of DD can be understood as either presupposing localizationism and a modular view of the brain, or as a special case of the generalized neuro-lens model for neuropsychological assessment. In the latter case, it is more easily compatible with a perspective that emphasizes the systemic-network, rather than the modular, nature of the brain, which as part of the organism, proportionately mediates the situatedness of the human being in the world. This perspective not only makes it possible to structure ecological validation processes and give them a metatheoretical foundation, but also to interlace it with the phenomenological insight that the laboratory as one context of empirical research may be analyzed in terms of situated experience. We conclude with showing that both the localizationist and the system science approach can agree on a view of the brain as a dynamical network, and that metatheory may thus offer important new perspectives of reconciliation..

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