Psychology Winter Session
January 29 2013
Bottom up processing and Top down processing
The mind is the brain does
The fact that our experience of the world relies intimately on the brain is shown in the
bizarre perceptual experiences of patients with certain kinds of neurological damage or
dysfunction. Ex. Oliver Sacks, The man who mistook his wife for a hat
The spilt brain
The two hemispheres of the brain are actually two mini-brains connected by a bundle of
fibers, the corpus callosum
o for several decades until the 1960s, it was not uncommon to cut the corpus
callosum to attempt to help people with epilepsy
o The brain is a collection of brains that evolved over evolutionary time.
brain is not a single thing but a inter connected thing. For example, the
hemispheres are connected in the brain. Brain is a collection of brains
which evolved through time. Different parts of the brain functioning
The left hemisphere deals with logic and thinking, also language production, the right
hemisphere deals with emotion and spatial processing.
Left communicates with right, right communicates with the left side of the body
Left eye -> right brain, Right eye -> left brain
Corpus callosum transfer communication with both sides of the brain
The left brain is the “story teller”
Interdependence of cognition and emotion
Localization of function – when you try to do something, it require many parts of the
brain to work together
Where are you?
We are nowhere. 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 function
subsystems. Just to think of the profound changes that happen when you know out a
o Spatial relationship in the back of your head, your visual field is represented in
the back of your head. You lose part of your visual field if you damage the back
of your head. Partial blindness.
Blindsight- people have some part of their visions damaged . Creates a hole.
Primary visual system is knocked out
o 40+ different areas work to help give you vision in your brain
o Vision is not a unitary ability
o 1800s working on the railway, using dynamite, placing a charge exploding and
shoots through his head. Before the accident he was the most efficient and
capable foreman. Post-accident, he is fitful, indulging in the grossest of profanity,
and IE, became a jerk.
The prefrontal cortex – the center of rationality
o What makes us fundamentally human, deals with higher cognitive abilities.
Integration of emotion and rationality.
o Integrate – interdependent.
o Considerable agreement in the literature of a functional lobe dissociation
o Dorsal (towards the top of the brain) = Cognitive (reason, rationality.)
o Ventral (lower down) = Affective*
o Maintaining attention
o Mental flexibility
o Abstract thinking
o Feedback utilization
o Inhibition of response
o Control of behavior
o Processing the reward and emotion
o Social inhibition (impulse control)
o Primary reinforces (food, sex, social affiliation) o If this area is damage
Difficulty initiating tasks
Emotion and Cognition
Emotion influences everyday “rational” decision making
Emotion and cognition are not separate
Emotional evaluation guides reasoning
o Carbon tax vs. carbon offset
Emotional and reason are separable
Somatic Marker Hypothesis
Sensory information activates the VPFC
Causes autonomic arousal
Creates non-conscious bias that serves to facilitate cognitive (conscious) evaluation of
Bechara et al. (1997)
OFC is important for emotional responding
Are emotional responses necessary for appropriate decision making?
Gambling task that simulates real life decision making.
o Chose advantageously before they realized which strategy was best
o Developed anticipatory SCR even before they figured out the strategy