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Lecture 16

Lecture 16 - Mar 20.doc

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McGill University
PSYC 342
Jens C Pruessner

PSYC 342 Lecture 16 - Mar. 20 What is Cognition?: • Cognition is a term referring to the mental processes involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension, including perceiv- ing, learning, remembering, but also knowing, judging and problem-solving. These are higher-level functions of the brain and encompass language, imagination, perception and planning Role for Hormones in Cognition: • Perception • Memory • Moral decision making • General cognitive abilities Perception: • Test on reducing vigilance and responsiveness to social threat by manipulating attention • Apply dot probe test to test behavioural tendencies, in addition to faces with different facial expression • Humans want to take in positive and negative information from the environment • If Ps stares at face, they might miss dot, so the test examined RT based on whether the positive/negative face pictures af- fected the person • If Ps only look at the negative faces (take in the negative faces only), one is at risk to develop depression - focus on aspect of rejection • When you are under more stress, you look more for negative environment surrounding you • If you are positive person, under stress (cortisol levels increase), you want to increase observation of the positive face pic- ture and vice versa (depressed people under stress will increase observation of negative faces) Memory: • Encoding • Retrieval • Reconciliation of memory • The smaller the latency, the worse your memory will be • When you learn emotional material, you will retain it better (activate amygdala) Memory Reconsolidation: Moral Decision Making: General Cognitive Abilities: • Differences between men and women Verbal • • Visuospatial • Mathematical • Hormone Treatment Verbal Fluency: • Generally, all components of language use: • The ability to generate words • Grammar, spelling • Reading • Vocabulary • Oral comprehension • Sex differences tend to vary across these different dimensions, though overall ability is generally found to be better in women (Halpern 64) and men tend to show higher rates of verbal disabilities (stuttering, dyslexia) • Fetal brain exposure to different levels of sex hormones is thought to lead to the differences in cognitive function between men and women • Evidence further suggests that higher endogenous
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