PSY 300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Cognitive Neuroscience, Pineal Gland, Psy

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Published on 24 Aug 2018
PSY 300 Mind & Brain
Cognitive science: study of the mind and its operations (cognoscere = “to know”)
Neuroscience: study of brain and nervous system
Cognitive Neuroscience
The Cognitive Neuroscience Approach
-the mind can (and should) be studied
-but a major challenge is that the mind is hidden
-Cognitive neuroscience uses behavioral and brain-based techniques to understand
where and how our experiences are represented in the brain
-field of cognitive neuroscience is still in its infancy
Galen: (129-199 AD) greek surgeon in Roman empire who treated gladiators; at that
time the brain was largely ignored; believed that fluids or “humors” flowed through body
-Galen noticed that blows to the head—>cognitive/psychological issues
-drew attention to the brain’s ventricles, that he thought held fluid via lakes and
rivers that connected to the body
Rene Descartes: (1596-1650) interested in mind-body (brain) problem: How can a
physical substance give rise to our thoughts, feelings?
-put forth idea of dualism: mind and body (brain) come from different sources
-mind = non-physical and divine; body = physical and mortal; interact in the
pineal gland (within brain)
Franz Joseph Gall: (1758-1828) reasoned that if motor control has a “center” in the
brain, perhaps other cognitive faculties do as well
-also reasoned that bigger is better = more brain dedicated to a function equates
to superior capacity in that domain
Phrenology: measuring the size of different regions of the skull;
-phrenology gave us the concept of functional specialization: different regions of the
brain are specialized for different functions
-functionally specialized regions are often referred to as being domain-specific (as
opposed to domain-general)
What distinguishes cognitive neuroscience from phrenology?
1. Functional specialization in cognitive neuroscience is empirically-derived and
constraint by theories of cognition
2. Cognitive neuroscientists do not connect entire domains of cognition to singular
brain regions
3. Cognitive neuroscientists use methods that more directly measure the brain’s
structure and activity
-In cognitive neuroscience, it is thought that different regions of the brain are specialized
to support different aspects of a particular function
-Broca’s patient “Tan” indicated that a frontal portion of the left side of the brain is
critical for generating or producing language
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