Challenges in the use of treatment to investigate cognition

Lyndsey Nickels, Brenda Rapp, Saskia Kohnen

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The use of data from people with cognitive impairments to inform theories of cognition is an established methodology, particularly in the field of cognitive neuropsychology. However, it is less well known that studies that aim to improve cognitive functioning using treatment can also inform our understanding of cognition. This paper discusses a range of challenges that researchers face when testing theories of cognition and particularly when using treatment as a tool for doing so. It highlights the strengths of treatment methodology for testing causal relations and additionally discusses how generalization of treatment effects can shed light on the nature of cognitive representations and processes. These points are illustrated using examples from the Special Issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology entitled Treatment as a tool for investigating cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive neuropsychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 19 2015


  • cognition
  • cognitive intervention
  • cognitive neuropsychology
  • cognitive theory
  • cognitive treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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