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PSYC 100
Ingrid Johnsrude

Parts of the brain: 1) Thalamus: regulates wakefulness and sleep, part of the visual and auditory system and relays almost all sensory information to the cerebral cortex 2) Amygdala: involved in arousal, memory and automatic responses and is associated with fear, emotional responses ad hormonal responses. 3) Basal Ganglia: involved in controlling movement 4) Cerebral Cortex: outer layer of the the cerebral hemispheres of the brain consisting of a “rind” of grey matter (the neuron cell bodies) 5) Pituitary Gland: attached to the base of the hypothalamus, most hormones secreted here 6) Corpus callosum: connects two cerebral hemispheres to the cortex 7) Hippocampus: part of the limbic system, in the temporal lobe, important for learning and memory 8) Limbic system: located in a circle around the thalamus, regulates emotions and motivated behaviours related to the survival of organisms. Made up of the Amygdala and Hippocampus 9) Frontal Lobe: directing/maintaining attention. Location of conscious thinking and emotions, initiating movements and speech, strong memories stored here, sense of smell, exercising impulse control. 10) Parietal lobe: awareness of left/right sides of the body, position in space, receives sensory information, deals with perception 11) Occipital Lobe: vision (object of recognition), conscious experience of seeing is made possible 12) Temporal Lobe: storage of memories, experience strong emotions, smell and taste, plays a role in hearing, seeing , orientation and appreciation of time 13) Hypothalamus: controls the hormonal system, controls automatic nervous system, organizes behaviours related to the survival of the species 14) Cerebellum: pair of hemispheres, ensures that movements are coordinated, well timed and precise, integrates visual, auditory, vestibular and somatosensor 15) Brain Stem: connects with spinal cord, relays sensory information to the brain areas necessary, important for consciousness, sleep, and life maintaining functions (breathing, heart beat) What does the nervous system do? - Controls all behaviour and mental processes 2 main divisions: 1) Central (CNS)  brain, spinal cord 2) Peripheral  cranial nerves, spinal nerves, transmits information from and too the CNS a. Skeletal  sensory or afferent (body to brain), moto or efferent (brain to body) b. Automatic  receives information and commands organs to function, important for homeostasis i. Sympathetic  promotes “fight or flight” response, alertness, inhibits digestion. ii. Parasympathetic  promotes “rest and digest” response, enhanced digestion Glia Cells: Serves function in neurocommunication At how many MV (millivolts) is an action potential fired?  +10 mv What does that mean? - The neuron is sufficiently depolarized What are the 2 types of Synapse? 1) Excitatory Synapse: activated when a terminal button releases a transmitter substance that excites the post synaptic neurons on the other side of the synapse. More likely the post synaptic neuron will fire. 2) Inhibitory synapse: lower the likelihood that the axons of the post synaptic neuron will fire when they’re activated What are graded potentials? - Small potentials (voltages) generated at the post synaptic membrane by the action of neuro transmitters that make the post synaptic neuron more likely (excitatory) or less likely (inhibitory) to generate an action potential at the cell body Describe the functional roles of the “amines” neurotransmitters: a) Dopamine: involved in motivation, punishment and reward b) Epinephrine: adrenaline (burst of energy when released) c) Norepinephrine: arousal and vigilance d) Serotonin: regulating mood e) Acetylcholine: motor control at the junction between nerves and muscles Functional roles of neurotransmitters of amino acids:  Glutamate: primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain  Gamma-amino butyric (GABA): primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain Functional role of the peptides neurotransmitters: - Regulates emotions, pain perceptions, and stress responses  Opioids: bind to the same post synaptic receptors as opium and morphine, body able to cope with more pain. How do drugs alter synaptic transmission? - Does so by changing the nature of neurotransmitter activity at the synapse - The substances can block or enhance 1) Neurotransmitter synthesis and release in the presynaptic neuron 2) Binding at the post synaptic receptors 3) Neurotransmitter reuptake, the process that chemically transforms neurotransmitters so that they are no longer active Methods used to study function of the brain: - Research techniques: brain lesions, brain stimulus studies - Micro electrons (long pins) are placed in the brain to record the electrical activity of nerve cells Left and right Hemispheres: Left = Specialized in speech and language Right = specialized in 3D space and spacial relationships Together: Control most of the brain Sensation: to process something by which physical energy in the environment is transduced by peripheral receptors into electrical signals, and converged to the brain How neurons can encode: a) Place: neurons in different places in the body signal different qualitative features b) Population: Information is conveyed across a whole population of cells in a pattern of stimulation c) Temporal codes: By the rate of firing in one or many nerve fibers Describe how sensing is a data reduction and compression problem - Thalamus reduces constant sensory information such as the veins over your eyes. They’re there but your brain doesn’t acknowledge them so it can pay attention to sensory information that changes and isn’t constant Visual system: (Seeing) Image  cornea  Iris (/pupil)  Lens  back of eye  retina  photoreceptors  optic disc  (axons leave eye) optic nerve  brain (visual cortex) - Image goes into eye - Cornea admits the light - Iris controls the amount of light - Lens focuses the image to the inner surface of the back of the eye - Brain flips image eventually - Retina performs sensory functions - 130 mil + photoreceptors (in retina) send information to the optic disc - Axons leave the eye and go to the optic nerve and travel to the brain Different Sources of behavioural evidence for rods: - Responsible for our sensitivity to dim light - Many of them from different areas connect to one ganglion cell, visual information lacks sharpness - Insensitive to difference between colours Different sources of behavioural evidence for cones: - Responsible for colour vision - Function when level of illumination is bright enough to see things clearly - Fovea: contains densely packed cones, one cone connected to one ganglion cell, responsible for fine and detailed vision Describe! Trichromatic/opponent process: - Red Light: Excites R/G ganglion cell - Green Light: Inhibits R/G ganglion cell - Yellow Light: R and G equally stimulated - Blue Light: Inhibits Y/B ganglion cell Why are eye movements important for visual perception? - The eyes sharpness varies across a visual field - Without the involuntary movements our vision would become blurry right after we fixed our gaze on a single point and our eyes stop moving. Vestibular sense and its practical significance: Helps us detect when we’re upright and keep our balance. Provides sensory information that keeps us upright Auditory system from ear to cortex: (Hearing) Sound  Ear Canal  Ear drum  ossicles  oval window  cochlea  basilar membrane  auditory hair cells  cilia  neural activity  auditory cortex - Sound goes into ear canal towards middle/inner ear - Eardrum vibrates - 3 ossicles (hammer, anvil and stirrup) act together in lever fashion to transmit the vibrations to inner ear - Cochlea attached to 2 openings (oval/round) stirrup presses against oval window and transmits sound waves - Basilar membrane in the cochlea vibrates (cochlea is divided into 3 chambers by 2 membranes this one is the more important for hearing) - Auditory hair cells detect the sounds - Cilia on those cells get stretched and translate into neural activity - Sent to auditory cortex Basilar Membrane and cochlea work together by: - Basilar membrane is in the cochlea - Inside the fluid of the cochlea sound waves are transmitted and then the pressure of the fluid changes causing the basilar membrane to vibrate back and forth. Olfactory System: (Smelling) - Receptor cells lie in the olfactory mucosa - They have cilia embedded in there - Also have axons that form synapses with neurons in the olfactory bulbs - Olfactory bulbs contain neural circuits that perform the first analysis of the olfactory information - The cells get excited and pass on information to the brain by axon of receptor cells. Gustation System: VERY SIMPLE! (Tasting) - Tongue contains papillae - Papillae contain taste buds (up to 200 +/-) - Taste buds contain receptor cells - Receptor cells have hair like projections called microvilli - Molecules of chemicals dissolved in salvia stimulate receptor cells - Receptor cells form synapses with dendrites of neurons - Sends axons to the brain through 3 cranial nerves Somatosensory System: - Somatosenses gather information from the body - Skin senses temp, touch/pressure, vibration and pain - Information from internal sources also - All free nerve endings - Straight to the brain More Descriptions! a) Perceptual Constancy: a mechanism that maintains a perceptual judgement as the external stimulus changes b) Size constancy: mechanism that maintains the perception of a particular object as being one size despite the fact that the size of the image on the retina varies c) Lightness constancy: the fact that the brain will perceive a surface as equally light regardless of illumination i. Structuralist approach to perception: sensations are the building blocks of perception ii. Gestalt: we have predisposition to see things in certain ways and that sometimes our perceptions of a whole image cannot be understood as merely the aggregate of our perceptions of all parts of the image a. Grouping rules: a set of rules that describe when elements in an image will appear to group together iii. Constructivist: perception holds that we construct reality is constructed by raw bits of sensory information. Guesswork based on knowledge and experience. Perception: 1) Proximity: Law of proximity = elements closest to each other are perceived as belonging to the same figure. 2) Continuity: predicts the preference of continuous figures 3) Similarity: similar elements are perceived to belong to the same figure 4) Closure: elements missing from the outline of the figure is filled in by the visual system Compare/contrast Sensation & Perception: - S = when physical energies are transduced into electrical signals that go to the brain - P = the selection organization and interpretation of sensory information  knowledge (previous) is used as a guide Define: a) Just noticeable difference: the smallest difference between 2 similar stimuli that can be distinguished b) Weber’s Law: the size of the just noticeable difference of a stimulus divided by initial intensity is a constant c) Fencher’s Law: In every domain, each just-noticeable difference represents an equal step in a psychological magnitude of a sensation d) Steven’s Power Law: the relationship between magnitude of a stimulus and its perceived intensity or strength. He created an equation that shows the relationship between magnitude and intensities for all sensations. e) Difference Threshold: (AKA Just noticeable Difference) f) Absolute Threshold: The minimum value of a stimulus that can be detected Contributions of signal detection theory to our understanding of perception - Every stimulus event requires discrimination between signal (stimulus) and noise (consisting of both background stimuli and random activity of the nervous system) - A person’s response bias can seriously affect an investigator’s estimate of the threshold of detection Describe how the psychological attributes arise in the auditory system and the physical characteristics of sounds to which they correspond: a) Pitch: as the basilar membrane vibrates more rapidly; the pitch of the sound increases (Frequency) b) Loudness: as the basilar membrane vibrates and become more intense, the loudness increases (Intensity) c) Timbre: changes as he basilar membrane makes more complex movements (Complexity) 3 ways we localize sound: 1) Low frequency sounds are located by difference in the arrival time of the sound waves in each ear 2) High frequency sounds are located by differences in intensity caused by the “sound shadow” cast by your head 3) Sound with more complexity has more complex timbre and will cause particular parts of the basilar membrane to vibrate Describe the cues contributing to visual depth perception: 1) Binocular cues: cues to distance that depend on input from both eyes a. Convergence: result of eye movements where the fixation point for each eye is identical b. Retinal disparity: two points on an object at different distances apart will fall on slightly different locations on each retina. 2) Monocular Cues: cues to distance from one eye a. Motion parallax: different position of an object viewed along 2 different lines of sight b. Pictorial cues: inter position - an object that partially blocks another object - perceived as closer
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