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PSY100 Lecture7.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Psy100 Lecture 6 Tuesday October 5, 2010 Psychology Student Association - The Pre-Frontal Cortex Richard Davidson  Mind and life institute  Key Outcomes: people can permanently adjust their neuroanatomy, people can make themselves much happier and emotionally stable than previously believed and people can affect even low-level processes Neural Plasticity  The brain changes continuously  “Our brains’ connections are refined and retuned with every experience of our lives.” The brain is constantly evolving. Plasticity is amazing but the limits are unknown.  Only recently have we begun to appreciate our brains’ incredible plasticity or ability to change  Certainly, age is a factor  Current huge questions concern the outer limits to which people can learn to manipulate their own neural functioning and the benefits gained. Practical questions concern how to create a more brain-healthy society.  Brain areas can even recruit systems normally devoted to other tasks  Example: cut off a finger: that part of the sensory cortex will start to receive signals from the other fingers: enhanced sensitivity  Example: if blind, the sensory cortex corresponding to the Braille-reading finger expands; sense of touch starts to get processed by the visual cortex.  In essence, this is how our sensorimotor cortices evolved in the first place. The Split Brain  The two hemispheres of the brain are actually two mini-brains connected by a bundle of fibers, the corpus collosum  In 1930s-1950s, cutting the corpus collosum became all the rage, to help people with epileptic seizures and other disorders. Amazingly, these people seemed pretty normal but clever psychologists discovered ways of communicating separately with the now-independent hemispheres  Experiments: when asked to point to the item that was seen, the left hand (RH) pointed to the image seen by the right hemisphere. It’s a very simple logic.  People rely on the left hemisphere for what they have to turn into words. Figure 4.17, 4.19 -  A patient can have emotional reactions to stimuli without being able to verbalize what he/she saw.  Left hand and eye= right brain  Right hand and eye= left brain The mind is what the
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