From its inception, Karalyn Patterson has shaped the field of cognitive neuropsychology — the study of how the brain’s structure and function relates to mental processes concerning the generation and use of knowledge. Specifically, Karalyn has used the effects of brain disease and injury to improve our understanding of language and memory.
Her approaches are varied and rigorous, combining computer modelling and structural and functional brain imaging with observations of behaviour in normal and brain-damaged adults, as well as those affected by certain brain diseases. This has allowed Karalyn to directly link particular structures in the brain with specific cognitive issues.
Karalyn’s research has important consequences for our understanding of brain conditions that affect memory — for example, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. She has also revealed the impact of the same brain disorder on the speakers of two diverse languages, English and Japanese.