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J Neuropsychol. 2014 Mar;8(1):1-19. doi: 10.1111/jnp.12010. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Time to get rid of the 'Modular' in neuropsychology: a unified theory of anosognosia as aberrant predictive coding.

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Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK.


Cognitive neuroscience, being more inclusive and ambitious in scope than cognitive neuropsychology, seems to have taken the place of the latter within the modern neurosciences. Nevertheless, recent advances in the neurosciences afford neuropsychology with epistemic possibilities that simply did not exist even 15 years ago. Human lesion studies still have an important role to play in shaping such possibilities, particularly when combined with other methods of enquiry. I first outline theoretical and methodological advances within the neurosciences that can inform and shape the rebirth of a dynamic, non-modular neuropsychology. I then use an influential computational theory of brain function, the free energy principle, to suggest an unified account of anosognosia for hemiplegia as a research example of the potential for transition from a modular, cognitive neuropsychology to a dynamic, computational and even restorative neuropsychology. These and many other adjectives that can flexibly, take the place of 'cognitive' next to 'neuropsychology' will hopefully designate the much needed rebirth and demarcation of a field, neuropsychology itself, that has somehow lost its place within the modern neurosciences and yet seems to have a unique and important role to play in the future understanding of the brain.

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