PS260 Midterm 1 Notes
Chapter 1: The Science of the Mind
Cognitive Psychology: concerned with how people remember, pay attention and think.
A larger range of our thoughts, actions and feelings depend on previous knowledge the
reader already has.
H.M(Henry Molaison) patient who has amnesia cannot form new memories, so without
memory, he has no sense of ‘self’
Wundt and his student Titchener began the study of experimental psychology in the
1800’s. For the first time, psychology was a study separated from biology and
Focus was on conscious mental events.
Introspection: process in which the person looks ‘within’ to observe and record
Problems with Introspection:
Mental activity is unconscious and cannot be fully shared, as it is subjective and
As introspection failed, the desire to be more scientific led to changed in the scientific
field. It occurred during the first half of the twentieth century.
Focus switched to stimuli and behaviors that could be studied.
Behaviorism: behavior changes in response to stimuli, i.e rewards and punishments. Influential figure was: John B. Watson. Intrigued with the study of babies behavior and
Problems with Behaviorism:
Behavior cannot be understood only in terms of stimuli and responses, and it also
depends on perception, understanding, interpretation and strategy (how the experiment is
conducted; it should always be the same)
However, studying mental events are necessary to understand behavior.
Cognitive Revolution: (about 50 years old)
Started around the 1950’s1960’s
Study mental events, but do so indirectly.
Stimuli and visible events are measured. Hypotheses are developed and then further
tested to gather measurable events.
Immanuel Kant introduced the transcendental method. You begin with observable
tasks and work backwards.
Working Memory: storage system where information is held while being used.
Span Test: determine how long you can hold working memory. Performance on a span
test can measure the underlying of working memory system.
For the people who are mute, instead of having an ‘Inner voice”, they have an
“inner hand”. Most confusion happens not from sounds that sound alike, but from signs
that look alike.
WorkingMemory system: not a single entity. Central executive coordinates the activities
and another assistant is the Articulatory rehearsal loop.
Articulatory Rehearsal Loop:
Subvocalization: silently pronouncing words.
Phonological Buffer: auditory image of words.
Plays an important role during development as we learn new vocabulary.
Note: During span test, confusions are made from sounds that sound alike.
Concurrent articulation: reduces memory span dramatically. Needs to incorporate speech
Anarthria: inability to produce overt speech.
Muscle movement is not needed for subvocal rehearsal. Uses same regions during
speech production and comprehension. Cognitive Neuroscience: study of biological basis for cognitive functioning.
Neuropsychology: concerned with how various forms of brain dysfunction influence
Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition
Capgras syndrome illustrated that different parts of the brain perform different jobs.
Realized in the 1900’th century by studying patients with lesions to the brain.
Phineas Gage who was a victim of a railway construction in 1848 had a metal penetrate
through his brain (frontal lobes) which resulted in cognitive and emotional changes.
Localization of function: study of people with brain lesions in comparison to healthy
The brain has three principle regions:
Hind Brain: atop of spinal cord; regulates level of alertness; includes cerebellum
which coordinates movements and balance along with sensory and cognitive roles
Midbrain: above hindbrain; coordinates movement (especially eye); regulates
Forebrain: parts of brain visible from the outer surface; has cortex which is a
thin convulated sheet of tissue, and a variety of subcortical structures.
• Limbic System
Cortex: divided into the left and right hemispheres by longitudinal fissure.
Divided into anterior and posterior regions by the central fissure.
Commissures : thick bundles of nerve fibers; connects the two hemispheres; largest is
Cerebral Hemisphere is divided into four lobes
Frontal lobes Parietal lobes
Computerized axial tomography (CT)
Positron emission tomography (PET)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
When viewing images of faces, the fusiform face area (FFA) is active. When
viewing images of houses, the parahippocampal place area(PPA) is active.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: used to ask whether an area of the brain is
necessary for the task.
Primary projection areas: arrival and departure points for information entering
(sensory) and leaving (motor) the cortex. Rest of cortex has been considered association
cortex. Located in the posterior frontal lobes.
The primary somatosensory projection area is located in the anterior parietal lobes.
The primary auditory projection area is located in the superior temporal lobes.
The primary visual projection area is located in the occipital lobes.
Cortical maps represent sensory or motor information in an orderly manner.
Cortical space is assigned disproportionately; Greater sensory acuity or motor precision is
associated with larger cortical representation The Visual System
Retina: light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Visual processing and
analysis begins here. Patterns of Lateral Inhibition between neighboring cells of the
retina leads to edge enhancement.
Lateral Inhibition: Cell C is more inhibited than Cell B.
Photoreceptors: found in retina
Rods: Colour blind, higher sensitivity; lower acquity; found in the periphery of
Cones: lower sensitivity, coloursensitive, higher acuity, found in fovea.
Neurons that communicates information from the retina to the cortex:
In the eye:
Ganglion cells and the optic nerve
Lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)
V1, the primary visual projection area, or primary visual cortex, located
in the occipital lobe
Parts of a Neuron :
Dendrites: detect incoming signal
Cell Body: contains nucleus and cellular machinery
Axon: transmits signals to other neurons.
Communication between neurons is done by Chemical Signals.
Neurotransmitters: chemicals released by one neuron to communicate with another
neuron. Space between the two is called a Synapse.
If postsynaptic cell reaches threshold, and action potential is fired down to axon,
releasing neurotransmitters that affects the next neuron.
Receptive Field: kind of stimuli that neuron best responds to. Has a Centersurround
organization. (Reacts best in the center) Parallel Processing: Different steps of kinds of analysis occur at the same time.
Parvocellular cells have smaller receptive fields and tend to continue firing
as long as the stimulus is present.
Magnocellular cells have larger receptive fields and respond more strongly to
changes in stimulation.
Serial Processing: Steps are carried one at a time.
What System: concerned with identification of objects; oc