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May 1991

Lesion Analysis in Neuropsychology

Author Affiliations

Rochester, NY

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(5):467. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530170027010

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The lesion method in studying brain-behavior relationships has had a stormy history. The excellent book by Hanna and Antonio R. Damasio should greatly strengthen the value of this method. As I looked over the excellent brain images with their accompanying neuroanatomical templates, one could wistfully hope that Broca could see what he started.

The Damasios, cognizant of the classic contributions and knowledgeable from their own extensive research, do not make the errors that have plagued neuropsychology and have eroded the value of the lesion method. They remind us again of some fundamental concepts and give illustrative case histories to buttress these concepts. First, they emphasize, as did Hughlings Jackson, that the loss of a function with a specific lesion does not mean the construct for that function resided there. Second, they note that only with careful testing and breaking down a response to its component parts can we understand what

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