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Module 7 Notes taken from Module 7 of the Psych text book

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University of Waterloo
Colin Mac Leod

Chapter 7- The Brain and Consciousness - Consciousness: our awareness of ourselves and our environment o Allows us to assemble information from many sources as we plan for our future and reflect on our past - Evolutionary psychologists speculate that consciousness must offer a reproductive advantage Cognitive Neuroscience - Cognitive neuroscience- interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with our mental processes o is taking the first small step by relating specific brain states to conscious experiences - demonstration of some level of consciousness appeared in brain scans on a noncommunicative patient (in a car accident showed no signs of conscious awareness)... when asked to imagine playing tennis, fMRI scans showed brain activity that was like the ones of the healthy volunteers - based on cortical activation patterns, cognitive neuroscientists can now in limited ways read your mind o can tell which of the 10 similar objects (hammer, drill, etc) you are viewing - however one research theorizes that conscious experiences arise from specific neuron circuits firing in a specific manner...another sees conscious experiences as produced by the synchronized activity of the whole brain... how the brain produces the mind remains a mystery Dual Processing - cognitive science tells us that particular brain regions become active with a particular conscious experience - we have evidence of two minds... each supported by its own neural equipment - one grand ideas of recent cognitive neuroscience is that much of our brain work occurs off stage, out of sight o ie. Studies of split brain patients revealed a conscious “left brain” and a more intuitive “right brain” - perception ,memory , thinking, language, and attitudes all operate on two levels—a conscious, deliberate “high road” and an unconscious, automatic “low road”  dual processing - The Two track mind o This story illustrates the mind’s two levels...  At Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, the cognitive neuroscientists Melvyn Goodale and David Milner... a local woman that they found was overcome by carbon monoxide and it resulted in brain damage which left her unable to recognize and discriminate objects visually... yet she was only partially blind because she would act as though she could see... if you asked her to slip mail in a vertical or horizontal mail slot, she could... and although she could not report the width of a block in front of her she could grasp it with the right finger-thumb distance  But how could this be... we don’t only have one visual system? But after a scan of the woman’s brain activity...revealed normal activity in the area concerned Chapter 7- The Brain and Consciousness with reaching for and grasping objects, but damage in the area for recognizing objects  We might think of our vision as a one system that controls our visually guided actions but its actually a dual processing system  A visual perception track enables us “to create the mental furniture that allows us to think about the world” --- to recognize things and to plan future actions  A visual action track guides our moment to moment actions  On rare occasions, the two conflict... shown a hollow face illusion, people will mistakenly perceive the inside of a mask as a protruding face, yet they will reach into the mask to flick off a buglike target stuck on the face.... what their unconscious doesn’t know, their hand does  The big idea: much of our everyday thinking, feeling and acting operates outside our conscious awareness  So consciousness though enabling us o exert voluntary control and to communicate our mental states to others, is but the tip of the information processing iceberg....beneath the surface, unconscious information processing occurs simultaneously on many parallel tracks  When we are looking at a bird, we are consciously aware of the result of our cognitive processing (its a hummingbird) , but not of our
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