Neuropsychological Approaches to the Study of Individual Differences

  • Merrill Hiscock
  • Marilynn Mackay
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


The main objective of human neuropsychology is to map mental functions onto the brain. The desired result is a set of general facts and organizing principles that relate specific behaviors to neural activity at specific brain locations. Insofar as individual variation may qualify those facts and obfuscate the underlying principles, such variation often is viewed as unwanted noise that lowers the correlation between brain and behavior. Cerebral speech regions would be easier to define if topographic landmarks did not vary so much from brain to brain (Rubens, 1977); dichotic listening would be a more useful measure of language lateralization if there were not so many normal people who fail to show the expected performance asymmetries (Satz, 1977); poor performance on a neuropsychological test would be easier to interpret if test performance were not affected by the patient’s educational level (Lezak, 1983). In many respects, the work of neuropsychologists would be less problematic if the human brain and its behavioral repertoire were as invariant as the brain and behavior of the laboratory rat.


Hand Preference Dichotic Listening Cerebral Dominance High Mental Function Cerebral Organization 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merrill Hiscock
    • 1
  • Marilynn Mackay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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