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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - Frontal Lobe, Cortical Blindness, Agnosia

Course Code
Dan Dolderman

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Where are you?
It is the physical and sociocultural environments surrounding you, which
continually create and reinforce patterns in your brain
- And within the brain, you arise because of the interconnectedness of
many functioning subsystems. Just think of the profound changes that
happen when you knock out a specific system
Neurological perceptual problems
- Blindsight: you will have hole in vision field if someone takes out that
specific system (eg. Central system- wont see centre- will see a hole)
- damage to brain cant see certain things, other parts of the brain
can see it though (you process movement at higher level than basic
physical location)
- You can still see things that you cant physically see
- Eg. Guessing shapes on a screen (Accurate most of time)
- Signals go from eye to thalamus, then gets info from your eye and
sends to back of your head and also amygdala which also gets some of
the signals which is responsible for reading emotional expressions on
faces, tone people were feeling (even though cant see)
- eg. Anton-Babinski Syndrome: full cortical blindness but conscious
denial of it and insistence that one can see normally
Object Agnosia
- Damage to “what” pathway
- “Draw an apple” will be able to draw (asking to produce image from memory)
- But if gave a picture of an apple, they would have no idea (cant produce from
identification of memory)
The Frontal Lobes
- At different parts of time, 1903s and 40s- subserved “abstract
attitude, foresights, and intellectual synthesis”
- 40s-50s:lacks functional significance
- Frontal lobes as the “final frontier” in neuropsychology
- Considerable agreement in the literature of a functional frontal lobe
dissociations between dorsal (cognitive, thinking functions of PFC) -
top), ventral (affective* of PFC, towards bottom)
- Way we actually think is because of interactions of both sides of PFC
- If disconnected from feeling PFC, you would make better decisions
(will think more rationally about things, using cognitive)
- PFC goes top to bottom *** (not left to right)
- Cognitive (dorsal) ; maintaining and shifting attention, mental
flexibility, abstract thinking, feedback utilization, creativity, working
memory, concentration etc
- Affective (ventral); behaviour regulation, emotional decoding,
processing emotions and reward, social inhibition (impulse controls),
primary reinforcers (food, sex)
- ^ Talk to each other a lot though (one actively the other very quickly,
thinking and feeling while making decisions) logic becomes led by
emotional experiences
- If trying to persuade someone, through rationality (usually), more
insecure we are in the moment or etc, the more we tend to default to
rational arguments (stats, figures), but what will really change
someones mind is usually affective system not rational
Orbitofrontal Cortex (in PFC)
- If damage can lose functions associated with emotional control
- Socially isolated, hypersexuality, difficulty getting things done,
blunted emotions, uncreative, low motivation, difficulty terminating
- eg. Patient knows someone dies that’s close and they understand but
the emotional pain of it is not there
Why Pro-Con lists dont work
- Emotion influences everyday “rational” decision making
- Emotional evaluation guides reasoning
- “Gut feelings” have neurons in gut and communicate with signals that
aren’t rational, just a sense (cant talk to you), gut is smart which
usually is smarter (not always right though), intuition and practice of
self awareness the more alert you will be to signals and in tune so you
will be wiser
- Persuasion: Rona vs. Statistics (connect more to Rona one person,
than a big group of people)
Sensory info activates the VPFC
- Causes autonomic arousal
- Creates unconscious bias that serves to facilitate cognitive processes
OFC is important for emotional responding
- Their arousal was spiked before they were able to figure out the decks
(stress function), the ones who get less arousal take longer to figure
out the decks because they are not receiving the danger signals (out of
tune), making good decisions in real life directly corresponds to how
emotionally in tune you are with yourself
Control results:
- Choose advantageously before they realized which strategy was best
- Developed anticipatory SCR even before they figured out the strategy
VMPFC patient results
-Chose disadvantageous even when they knew correct strategy learned slower,
never developed anticipatory SCR (even when they did realize the choices were
Bechara et al (1997)
- Study suggested that non-conscious biases guide behaviour before
conscious knowledge
- Without biases, overt knowledge is not sufficient to ensure
advantageous behaviour
The pre-frontal cortex (PFC)
Richard Davidson
- Mind and life institute: studies on long term effects of medication
- Key outcomes:
- 1) People can permanently adjust their neuroanatomy
- 2) People can make themselves much happier and emotionally stable
than previously believed
- 3) People can affect even low-level processes (eg. Startle, primary
emotional responses)
- Right side experiences sad emotions, left side is the happy side
6 Steps from Sensation to Perception..
1) Reality
2) Sensory receptors: contact reality (your eyes, take signals and turns into
3) Transduction: physical energy of stimulus is converted to electrical energy,
which is sent in pulses to the brain
4) Thalamus: the sensory message switchboard operator, which figures out
where to send it next…
5) Primary sensory cortex: initial processing of information occurs and gets fed
forward (eg. See a thing, then a human, then your mom)
6) Heriacrchial processing processing of visual information occurs I a series of
steps, from initial coarse processing of relatively basic features, to more
complex features,