Figure 191

Areas of the brain in which electrical stimulation was found to interfere with picture naming. The numbers represent the percentage of participants showing interference in each brain area. Reproduced with permission from Ojemann (1991). Copyright © 1991 by the Society for Neuroscience.

Seventh, the study of brain-damaged patients can lead to overestimates of the areas of the brain directly involved in certain aspects of cognitive functioning. This can happen when the damaged region contains axons known as fibres of passage which connect the brain areas crucially involved in performing a certain cognitive function.

Eighth, the task of relating areas of brain damage to specific cognitive functions is complicated because there are clear individual differences in the localisation of some functions. Some of the clearest evidence was reported by Ojemann (1991; see Chapter 14). He studied 117 epileptic patients undergoing surgery. They named pictures while a small electric current was applied to the exposed cortex. The current interfered with picture naming, and was thus like a temporary cortical lesion. The findings indicated that the parts of the brain associated with interference varied considerably from patient to patient (see Figure 19.1).

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