Many patients with brain disease are characterized as being "withdrawn," "inattentive," or "negativistic." In studies of psychophysiological phenomena, such patients may be considered as giving negative findings, or they are excluded because of lack of cooperation. There are methods of investigation, particularly from the standpoint of communication, that indicate that such behavior constitutes an orderly patterning significantly related to changes in neural activity.
Our interest in these patients came about during a study of the relationship among anatomical, physiological, and personality factors in anosognosia, or denial of illness.1 It was noted that, while certain conditions of brain dysfunction were necessary for the enduring verbal denial of such disabilities as hemiplegia and blindness, only patients with certain premorbid personality characteristics manifested this form of denial. Other patients with comparable lesions, similar disabilities, and identical EEG records did not deny illness verbally. This group, originally classed as controls, included patients who appeared
WEINSTEIN EA, KAHN RL, SLOTE WH. Withdrawal, Inattention, and Pain Asymbolia. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(3):235–248. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330150001001