Author(s): Shallice T
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Abstract The article is concerned with inferences from the behaviour of neurological patients to models of normal function. It takes the letter-by-letter reading strategy common in pure alexic patients as an example of the methodological problems involved in making such inferences that compensatory strategies produce. The evidence is discussed on the possible use of three ways the letter-by-letter reading process might operate: "reversed spelling"; the use of the phonological input buffer as a temporary holding store during word building; and the use of serial input to the visual word-form system entirely within the visual-orthographic domain such as in the model of Plaut [1999. A connectionist approach to word reading and acquired dyslexia: Extension to sequential processing. Cognitive Science, 23, 543-568]. The compensatory strategy used by, at least, one pure alexic patient does not fit with the third of these possibilities. On the more general question, it is argued that even if compensatory strategies are being used, the behaviour of neurological patients can be useful for the development and assessment of first-generation information-processing models of normal function, but they are not likely to be useful for the development and assessment of second-generation computational models.
This article was published in Cogn Neuropsychol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy