Lecture 3 - 01/21/13
Chapter 2: the neural basis for cognition
The all about the brain video, the guy was just mentioning gibberish. That seems to be what
people hear when the brain is discussed.
The principle structures of the brain
the visual system
The principle structures of the brain
Forebrain includes the cortex and subcortical structures
Hindbrain sits on top of the spinal cord, alertness, basic rhythms
Midbrain Sits above the hindbrain, coordinate movements (eye movements), auditory
pathways, regulates experience of pain
centre of reasoning, planning, some parts of speech, movement (motor cortex), emotions,
problem solving Parietal lobe
top of head
sensory input from skin (touch, pressure, temperature, pain)
side (above ears)
speech perception, hearing, some types of memory
receives input from eyes
i.e. visual cortex
back of brain under cerebrum
responsible for movement, balance, posture, learned activities overtime (e.g. riding a bike)
controls functions essential to life (breathing, digesting, eliminating waste, sleeping, maintaining
maintains life without thinking
all of these are automated processes
centrally between left and right hemispheres
it is a bundle of fibers that connects the two
believed that this area is involved in creativity and problem solving
loss of a function associated with normal processing
Any type of damage to the brain either via birth or accident is called a lesion.
Example: Phineas gage, pipe thru head (frontal lobe), fully conscious, joking with the doctor,
recovered, after recovery, personality changed, aggressive and crude.
brain is roughly symmetrical
commissures connect hemisphere
corpus collosum is the largest
Split brain, left and right hemispheres are not communicating when a patient has epilepsy,
splitting the brain by cutting the corpus collosum to avoid epileptic seizures. What they find is
that individuals can communicate fairly normally, but have no information shared between the
two hemispheres A lot of the structures in the brain are similar on each side but somewhat handle different tasks
and their communication enables us to have things like speech and vision and controlling our
hand movements integrating that information.
Cortical organization is contralateral; the left side of the body or perceptual world has more
representation on the right side of the brain and vice versa. One side is more creative and the
other more about the language, but it's all dependent on the person and how the brain is
For instance, this patient's brain is disconnected, and in front of him presents a fork on the right
and spoon on the left. When a split brain patient is asked what he sees on the left or on the
right, they can see the fork on the right hand side and the spoon on the left side of the screen
and can verbalize that. The one thing to talk about here is how the information comes into the
visual cortex. When both eyes witness the event, in order to verbalize it, they can only state it's
a fork on the right hand side. When it's on the left hand side, they can't verbalize it but they can
go reach it with their hand. They have the ability to still grab the instrument but can no longer
verbalize it because of the disconnectedness.
Left hemisphere: language
right can only point, no language.
The Cerebral Cortex
Primary projection area
rest of cortex: association areas
Something that has a lot of ability for sensitivity and movement has better visual representation
in terms of area on the brain, on the cortex. Recall the picture with the actual representations of
lips, fingers, etc. from the textbook. It's not about the size of the body part that's important
necessarily, but how it functions.
less precision: smaller brain area
create associations between simple ideas and sensations. When we're thinking or trying to be
involved in learning, this is where we imagine what happens in the brain. Larger section of the
A patient who can recognize someone but they can no longer feel or associate them as the real
person, thinks that they're impostors. The question is why this happens? There's some conflict
going on between information pulled it and communication of areas of the brain. The main
explanation is that the patient sees the person and can visually recognize them. There's some disconnect to the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain, without that emotional
information that ties your visual information together, they don't feel like the same person.
Because of that, you come up with explanations that solves that like impersonation.
There's damage to the prefrontal cortex - where thinking and reasoning happens. When we
talking about damage to this area, you can't reason or logic, logic is flawed. Also implies that it's
harder to justify saneness. When you're problem solving this area lights up. In dreams however,
it's not active and it's one of the explanations of why dreaming doesn't make sense.
The patient also refers to himself as an imposter of himself. His logic for the impostors, e.g. his
mother, is that his sexual urges increases post-accident. He acknowledges the peculiar
behaviour of such an urge and concludes that it must be some other woman and not his mother.
Temporal lobe corte