PSYCH101 Lecture Notes - Cognitive Neuroscience, Iceberg, Flashlight

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
University of Waterloo
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH101
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 levelsa 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
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Document Summary

Consciousness: our awareness of ourselves and our environment: 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- interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with our mental processes is taking the first small step by relating specific brain states to conscious experiences. Based on cortical activation patterns, cognitive neuroscientists can now in limited ways read your mind: can tell which of the 10 similar objects (hammer, drill, etc) you are viewing. 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 ie. studies of split brain patients revealed a conscious left brain and a more intuitive.