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The social cognition of medical knowledge, with special reference to childhood epilepsy

By Malcolm MacDonald, Richard Badger and John O'Regan


This paper arose out of an engagement in medical communication courses at a Gulf university. It deploys a theoretical framework derived from a (critical) sociocognitive approach to discourse analysis in order to investigate three aspects of medical discourse relating to childhood epilepsy: the cognitive processes that are entailed in relating different types of medical knowledge to their communicative context; the types of medical knowledge that are constituted in the three different text types analysed; and the relationship between these different types of medical knowledge and the discursive features of each text type. The paper argues that there is a cognitive dimension to the human experience of understanding and talking about one specialized from of medical knowledge. It recommends that texts be studied in medical communication courses not just in terms of their discrete formal features but also critically, in terms of the knowledge which they produce, transmit and reproduce

Year: 2009
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