Intro to Neuropsychological Research: Single and Double Dissociations

I hate it when my titles feel longer than the blog post itself. It’s much simpler than it sounds: these are experiments that combines several experiments that act as ‘Block and Determine’ situations that establish a connection between two parts of the brain and its function.

I’ll make it even easier for you! I’ll list them in bullet points.

Note: This does NOT describe dissociative disorders, i.e. mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and other dissociative disorders.

Single Dissociation

  • Used as preliminary research for establishing a connection
  • There are two regions of the brain, X and Y
  • There is a task A
  • When region X is damaged or lesioned, the person cannot do A
  • However when region Y is damaged or lesioned, the person can still do A

In single dissociation, when a part of the brain is blocked, a function can be correlated to the patient’s lost of function from that particular lesion.

Double Dissociation

  • Used to find compelling evidence for a particular theory
  • There are two regions of the brain, X and Y
  • There are tasks A AND B
  • When region X is damaged or lesioned, the person cannot do A, BUT can do B
  • When region Y is damaged or lesioned, the person can still do A, BUT cannot do B

In double dissociation, the problem and triumph one participant has because of a brain lesion in a part of the brain is the opposite problem for the person with a brain lesion in another area.

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