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Guest Speaker- Andrea Stocco.docx
Guest Speaker- Andrea Stocco.docx

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University of Washington

Modeling Mind & Brain January 11 , 2013 Guest Lecturer: Andrea Stocco, PhD o University of Crete (Italy)  What we are going to talk about: methods used for understanding the relationship between brain and behavior. Reason #1: To Diagnose Problems (Finding Out Why Behavior is Broken)  Physical (doctor  make hypothesis, lab tests, medications)  Mental (psychologist  make hypothesis, no obvious lab tests, medications) Reason #2: To Anticipate Problems (Preventing Behavior to Go Awry)  Normal brain VS Parkinson’s Disease brain  On medication (dopamine), you will engage in risky behavior (ie gambling)  Off medication, you will shy off behavior that would result in losses (ie saving money) Reason #3: To Fix Problems (When Brain and Behavior are Disconnected)  i.e. spinal injuries The Methods  Patient Studies (Neuropsychology) o The brain is a system of specialized regions. o Different regions = different contributions to behavior. o Specific behaviors are localized in certain parts of the brain o Brain damage impairs specific behaviors o What patients can and cannot do after brain damage o Modern Neuropsychology: 1861  Paul Broca (1824-1880)  Broca’s Area (language center) o Hemispatial Neglect – though we see all the world around us, people with hemispatial neglect do not. o Limit of Patient Studies  No two lesions are exactly the same  Brain damage does not occur precisely where scientists would be interested  Long term consequences affect behavior (recovery, rehabilitation, neuroplasticity)  Psychological factors intervene  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) o A way to create reversible, “virtual” lesions  Creates “virtual patients” in the lab  Safe if done properly o Key idea  Brain regions use electricity to process information  Instead of destroying a region, we might just interfere with the electrical currents  Add electrical current to “jam” the signal o Pros  Pinpoint a function to a particular region  Provide “hard” evidence (i.e., non-correlational) o Cons  Difficult to localize damage precisely  Binary manipulation (working/non-working)  Locality assumption (no network effects)  Electroencephalography (EEG) o Discover what different parts of the brain are doing o Neurons are constantly “talking” to each other o They produce VERY small electric fields (about 40 milli-volt) o BUT there are billions of neurons (they add up) o Beyond EEG: MEG  Magneto-Encephalography magnetic fields to discover other electrica
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