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Sept 10 Psy260 Lecture Notes.docx

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Daniela Palombo

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Sept 10; Intro to learning neuroanatomy - The man with the 30sec memory video YouTube Learning and Plasticity - Learning: the process by which a change in behaviour results from experience - Plasticity: the capacity of the brain to change itself as a result of learning. o Early in life: immature brain is organizing o Throughout life: whenever we learn something new o Following brain injury: to compensate for a loss of function o Examples:  Brain volume in areas important for music is greater in musicians than in non-musicians  Taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus than bus drivers Brief introduction to Neuroanatomy - Neuroscientists believe the brain is the seat of learning and memory; Lateral: outside. Medial: inside - - Orientation The Brain-Orientation - Coronal plane - Horizontal plane - Sagittal plane Human Brain - The brain is made up of 2 symmetrical halves (hemispheres), left and right - Cerebral cortex: tissue covering the brain - “cortex”=bark - Spread it out-size of a newspaper! - Sulci (cracks) and gyri (bumps) - white matter: pathways; grey matter: cortical regions Human brain: sub-cortical - Under the cortex: involved in learning and memory - Corpus callosum apparent in sagittal slice Observing patients - Paul Broca’s aphasic patient ‘tan’ (late 1800s) o Named ‘tan’ because this was the only word he could produce clearly o Damage: Left (inferior) frontal lobe ‘Broca’s Area’ o Language production - Wernicke’s Aphasia (named after Karl Wernicke) o Damage to superior temporal lobe ‘Wernicke’s Area’ o Language comprehension - Localization of function Observing brain structure and function: the dark ages of brain science - Franz Joseph Gall (1800s) o Pseudoscience of phrenology: Detect brain functioning via bumps on the skull o Larger forehead=good at angry birds! Problems: not scientific (no way to verify) Structural neuroimaging - MRI: magnetic resonance imaging o Uses changes in magnetic field to generate image; magnet aligns atoms in brain or body Incoming stimuli: sensory pathways into the brain - Info from sensory organs is sent up to the brain - Primary sensory cortices are the first stage of sensory processing - More advanced processing occurs in adjacent cortical regions Outgoing responses: motor control - Primary motor cortex gets input from frontal lobes and other motor regions: o Sends output to the spinal cord via the brain stem o Spinal cord activates motor fibers that control muscles in hand Information pathways in the CNS - Spinal cord has 2 parallel nerve systems, one involving sensory nerves, the other, motor nerves: o Sensory nerves: sensory info goes from PNS to brain (dorsal roots) o Motor nerves: motor signals goes from brain to muscles (ventral roots) o Bell-Magendie law of neural specialization Observing brain systems in action - Human neuropsychology: studies relationship of brain function to behaviour - Techniques: experimental brain lesions, cases of patients with brain damage, cognitive testing, neuroimaging Experimental brain lesions - Research on animal brains:
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