A variety of scientific disciplines have set as their task explaining mental activities, recognizing that in some way these activities depend upon our brain. But, until recently, the opportunities to conduct experiments directly on our brains were limited. As a result, research efforts were split between disciplines such as cognitive psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence that investigated behavior, while disciplines such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and genetics experimented on the brains of non-human animals.
Clinical neurophysiology is an area of medical
practice focused primarily on measuring function
in the central and peripheral nervous
systems, the autonomic nervous system, and
muscles. The specialty identifies and characterizes
diseases of these areas, understands
their pathophysiology, and, to a limited extent,
treats them. Clinical neurophysiology relies
entirely on the measurement of ongoing
function—either spontaneous or in response
to a defined stimulus—in a patient.
It is a commonplace that the characteristic virtue of Englishmen is their power of sustained practical activity,
and their characteristic vice a reluctance to test the quality of that activity by reference to principles. They are
incurious as to theory, take fundamentals for granted, and are more interested in the state of the roads than in
their place on the map.