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University of Guelph
PSYC 2650
Karl Hennig

Cog Ch2 - The Neural Basis for Cognition For Exam 1 Chapter 2: 25-30; 33-36; 51-52 pg 25 -cognitive psychologists rely on multiple findings: response times, error rates, and questionnaire responses. -No one source of data more important than others; all contribute to fabric of evidence that allows us to test our theories. -reliance on many pieces of evidence and diverse pieces of evidence, important aspect of research on cognition; -crucial for the "inference to best explanation" that is at the methodological core of our field. -One form of evidence, need s its own presentation: -evidence concerning brain functioning that makes cognition possible. -begin w/ ex involving some bizarre symptoms that can result from brain damage; -use ex to illustrate what we can learn about the mind by studying brain, and learn about the brain by studying the mind. -Ex will, highlight fact: each part of the brain has its own specialized function, - Behaviors, thoughts, and feelings almost invariably depend on coordinated action of many regions. -to consider some basic brain anatomy, and examine some of metostudy functioning of brain's various parts. -will inspect the tissue altosee, understand, visual world that surrounds us. Pg 26 Capgras Syndrome: An Initial Example -human brain extraordinarily complex organ which the functioning of the whole dependent on many interconnected systems. -damage virtually anywhere produce specific-and sometimes highly disruptive- symptoms. -symptoms often tragic for afflicted persons and families, but can be source of insight into how brain functions. -Consider disordCapgras syndrome -disorder rare on its own, but seems to be one of accompaniments to Alzheimer's syndrome, -sometimes observed among the elderly -disorder can result from various injuries to brain -Someone w/ Capgras syndrome fully able to recognize people in their world- husband/wife , parents, friends-but -utterly convinced these people not who they appear to be. - the afflicted person insists the real individual , has been kidnapped (or worse). -person now on scene, isn't the genuine article; instead, must be a well-trained, well-disguised impostor. -Imagine living with this disorder. -turn to someone you know extremely well- say, "You look x, sound like x, and act like x, But I can tell that you're not x. WHO ARE YOU?" -Often a person w/ Capgras insists slight differences btwn impostor and person theyve replaced- -subtle changes in personality or tiny changes in appearance. -no one else detects these (nonexistent) differences, compounding bewilderment experienced by Capgras sufferer. -feelings spiral upward, w/ patient developing paranoid suspicions about why a loved one has been replaced and no one seems to acknowledge replacement. -extreme cases Capgras sufferer may be led to desperate steps, in some instances murdering supposed impostor in an attempt to end the charade and relocate "genuine" character. -one case, Capgras patient convinced his father had been replaced by robot , decapitated him in order to look for batteries and microfilm in his head -What is going on here? - answer, according to some lies in fact = facial recognition involves two separate systems in brain -one leads to cognitive appraisal ("I know what my father looks like, and I can perceive that you closely resemble him") -other to more global, somewhat emotional appraisal ("You look familiar to me, also trigger warm response in me"). -concordance of two appraisals leads to the certainty of recognition ("You obviously are my father"). -Capgras syndrome, the latter (emotional) processing disrupted, leading to intellectual identification w/o familiarity response -"You resemble my father but trigger no sense of familiarity, so you must be someone else:' Pg 27 The Neural Basis for Capgras Syndrome - crucial step examining hypothesis about Capgras syndrome = examine brains of people w/ disorder. -examination is made possible by neuroimaging techniques, -allow researchers to take high-quality, three-dimensional "pictures" of living brains, w/o disturbing the brains' owners. -what do techniques tell us about Capgras syndrome -One form comes from PET scans - tell great deal about the structure of brain-incld abnormalities in brain tissue -PET scans suggest link between Capgras syndrome and abnormalities in several brain areas -One site of damage = temporal lobe, particularly on right side of the head. -damage probably disrupts circuits involving amygdala, which -seems to serve as "emotional evaluator;' helping organism detect stimuli associated w/ threat or danger. - amygdala important for detecting positive stimuli- indicators of safety or available rewards. - Seems likely amygdala, "evaluator;' essential for making judgment of "you look familiar to me and trigger a warm emotional feeling" -one half of our two-systems hypothesis. -Patients w/ Capgras syndrome also have brain abnormalities in frontal lobe, specifically in the right prefrontal cortex. What is area's normal function:' - turn to fMRI, allows us to track moment-by-moment activity levels in different sites in a living brain. -allows answers to such questions as: When a person is reading, which regions are particularly active or same for listening to music . -can draw conclusions about brain areas function is. -important hint about Capgras syndrome from fMRI scans of patients suffering from schizophrenia -reveals diminished activity in patients' frontal lobes whenever experiencing hallucinations. - plausible interpretation = diminished activity reflects decreased ability to distinguish internal events (thoughts ) from external ones (voices), or distinguish imagined events from real ones. -How is this relevant ? - damage to frontal lobe, Capgras patients may be less able to keep track of what is real and what is not, what is plausible and what is not. -result = weird beliefs can emerge unchecked, including delusions What Do We Learn From Capgras Syndrome? -several lines of evidence supportaccount of Capgras syndrome -Some evidence comes from psychology laboratory onfirms suggestion recognition ordinarily has two separate parts: one on factual knowledge, one "emotional" tied to warm sense of familiarity -additionally , mentioned some of neuroscience evidence -(1) where damage is located in Capgras patients, -(2) likely functions of brain sites when they're not damaged. -evidence fits well w/ hypothesis: - damage to amygdala likely tobe reason Capgras patients experience no sense of familiarity when look at faces they know quite well. - damage to prefrontal cortex, helps understand why Capgras patients, when experience lack of familiarity, offer crazy hypotheses about their skewed perception. pg 29 -understanding of Capgras syndrome depends on combination of evidence drawn from cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience; -use both perspectives to test (and, confirm) hypothesis offered. -just as perspectives can illuminate Capgras syndrome, both can be illuminated by syndrome -can use Capgras syndrome to illuminate broader issues about nature of brain and mind. -Ex- Capgras syndrome suggests amygdala plays a crucial role supporting feeling of familiarity. -Other evidence suggests amygdala plays central part helping people remember emotional events of their lives -other evidence indicates : amygdala plays a role in decision-making esp decisions that rest on emotional evaluations of one's options. - tell us a lot about various functions that make cognition possible and our theorizing needs to include broadly useful "emotional evaluator;' involved in many cognitive processes. -Capgras syndrome tells emotional evaluator works in fashion separate from our evaluation of factual information, -providing way to think about occasions which someone's evaluation of facts points toward one conclusion, while emotional evaluation points toward different conclusion. -great value as we seek to understand processes that support ordinary remembering or decision making. -Cases like Capgras syndrome just as valuable helping understand how brain functions in normal people- when all neural systems intact. -ex considers what syndrome teaches about how parts of brain work together for simplest achievement. -ex order to recognize your father, one part needs to store factual memory of your fathers appearance -Another part responsible for analyzing visual input received when looking at a face. - Another area: job of comparing now-analyzed input to factual information provided from memory,
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