Atypical Cognitive Deficits in Developmental Disorders: Implications for Brain Function

By Sarah H. Broman; Jordan Grafman | Go to book overview

Preface

I begin this preface by commenting with great enthusiasm on the treatment of methodology throughout all the chapters in this volume. It is an exhilarating experience to have methodology and statistical analysis made as interesting as they are in the chapter by Elizabeth Bates and Mark Appelbaum. These authors believe that our styles of data collection and our procedures for drawing inferences from the data are among the most exciting aspects of our work; these are the facets of the scientific enterprise that lend credibility to our factual assertions when the study is finished. It is also exciting because there is a certain amount of risk involved. You put your money (literally, in the case of grant-giving agencies) on a set of protocols, a certain frame of reference, and an anticipation of outcomes that are only probable. After all, if you knew at the outset how the study was going to come out, there would be no need to do it. One's capacity for scientific prediction and even one's ego are on the line. It is extremely rewarding to run the risk of a long-shot hypothesis with impeccably defensible methodology on your side--and then win.

Along with conveying this excitement, which Bates and Appelbaum temper with appropriate cautions and deep respect for the empirical data, this conference led to magnificent insights into some newly identified or recently investigated neurocognitive deficits. Also exhilarating were the surroundings in which the conference took place--the campus of the National Institutes of Health--and the presence of several people I had known during the late 1950s and early 1960s when we were all associated with the Collaborative Perinatal Project of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The objective of that longitudinal study of some 50,000 births was to discover the

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