Parallel distributed processing: when a signal is processed simultaneously among many different
brain structures – but for different purposes (processed simultaneously in certain parts of the brain
then sent elsewhere to generate an action/response)
– different parts of the brain act independently on the spinal motor neurons
Hierarchical distributed processing: when a signal is processed within ascending levels of the CNS
– structures of the brain can involve higher-level processing for both perception and action
– the highest levels of control in the brain only affect the next levels down
Use of both parallel AND hierarchical distributed processing allows for a certain overlap of
functions, so that one system is able to take over from another when environmental or task conditions
require it. Use of both also allows for a certain amount of recovery from neural injury, by the use of
Stimuli processed at the spinal cord level: somatosensory information from the muscles, joints, and
False: Parallel input pathways integrate during thalamic processing
– they stay segregated
All descending motor pathways except the corticospinal tract originate in the brainstem.
Three structures that make up the brain stem: medulla, pons, midbrain
Cerebellum and brainstem connected together by tracts called peduncles.
Cerebellum: adjusts our motor responses by comparing the intended output with sensory signals
then updates the movement commands if they deviate from the intended trajectory; modulates the
force and range of our movements; involved in motor learning
Thalamus and hypothalamus make up the diencephalon.
According to Fig 3.2, the cerebellum receives information from the spinal cord (segmental
networks) and cerebral cortex (nonmotor and premotor cortical areas, motor cortex).
According to Fig 3.2, afferent inputs go to the segmental (spinal) ne