Can the patients solve simple problems such as the following: "If Mary is taller than Jane, and Jane is taller than Ann, who's the tallest?" How do they interpret proverbs such as "Don't cry over spilled milk"? How well can they comprehend similarities such as "How are a car and an airplane alike?" How well can they generalize and complete a series—for example, "Continue the following: AZ BY CX D_"? A more detailed evaluation can be done, when indicated, using formal neuropsychological testing batteries. Educational background must always be taken into account in interpretations of these tests.
These functions can be abnormal in damage to a variety of brain areas involving higher-order association cortex and are not well localized.