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Brain Cogn. 1993 Nov;23(2):231-42.

Components of random generation by normal subjects and patients with dysexecutive syndrome.

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  • 1Neurologisches Krankenhaus Rosenhügel Wien, Austria.


The study presents a hypothesis on how randomness could be simulated by human subjects. Three sources of deviation from randomness are predicted: (1) the preferred application of overlearned production schemata for producing sequences of digits, (2) a wrong concept of randomness, and (3) the impossibility to monitor for redundancies of higher- than those of first-order. Deviations of random generation of digits produced by healthy subjects, patients with chronic frontal lobe damage, and patients with Parkinson's disease from random sequences produced by a computer program can be explained by the differential influence of these factors. Whereas incorrect concepts of randomness and limits on monitoring capacity distinguished all sequences produced by humans from actual random sequences, persistence on a single production strategy distinguished brain-damaged patients from controls. Random generation of digits appears to be a theoretically transparent and clinically useful test of executive function.

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