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Chapter 1

PSYC 211 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Rodent, Primary Motor Cortex, Bipedalism


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 211
Professor
Yogita Chudasama
Chapter
1

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PSYC211 Chapter 1 Notes
Definitions:
Dualism: The belief that the body is physical but the mind (or soul) is not
Monism: The belief that the world consists only of matter and energy and that the mind is a
phenomenon produced by the workings of the nervous system
Blindsight: The ability of a person who cannot see objects in his or her blind field to accurately reach
for them while remaining unconscious of perceiving them; caused by damage to the “mammalian”
visual system of the brain
Corpus Callosum: The largest commissure of the brain, interconnecting the areas of neocortex on
each side of the brain
Split-brain Operation: Brain surgery that is occasionally performed to treat a form of epilepsy; the
surgeon cuts the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain
Cerebral Hemispheres: The two symmetrical halves of the brain; constitute the major part of the brain
Unilateral Neglect: A syndrome in which people ignore objects located toward their left and the left
sides of objects located anywhere; most often caused by damage to the right parietal lobe
Generalization: A type of scientific explanation; a general conclusion based on many observations of
similar phenomena
Reduction: A type of scientific explanation; a phenomenon is described in terms of the more
elementary processes that underlie it
Reflex: An automatic, stereotyped movement that is produced as the direct result of a stimulus
Model: A mathematical or physical analogy for a physiological process; for example, computers have
been used as models for various functions of the brain
Doctrine of Specific Nerve Energies: Müller’s conclusion that because all nerve fibers carry the
same type of message, sensory information must be specified by the particular nerve fibers that are
active
Experimental Ablation: The research method in which the function of a part of the brain is inferred by
observing the behaviours an animal can no longer perform after that part is damaged
Functionalism: The principle that the best way to understand a biological phenomenon (a behaviour
or a physiological structure) is to try to understand its useful functions for the organism
Natural Selection: The process by which inherited traits that confer a selective advantage (increase
an animal’s likelihood to live and reproduce) become more prevalent in a population
Mutation: A change in the genetic information contained in the chromosomes of sperms or eggs,
which can be passed on to an organism’s offspring; provides genetic variability
Selective Advantage: A characteristic of an organism that permits it to produce more than the
average number of offspring of its species
Evolution: A gradual change in the structure and physiology of plant and animal species - generally
producing more complex organisms - as a result of natural selection
Neoteny: A slowing of the process of maturation, allowing more time for growth; an important factor in
the development of large brains
Physiological Psychologist: A scientist who studies the physiology of behaviour, primarily by
performing physiological and behavioural experiments with laboratory animals
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Introduction:
Universal human characteristic is curiosity where we want to explain what makes things happen
In ancient times, people believed that natural phenomena were caused by animating spirits
(animism)
What role does the brain play in comparison to the soul or spirit (mind-body question)
Dualism: belief in the dual nature of of reality. Mind and body are separate; body is made of
ordinary matter, but the mind is not
Monism: belief that everything in the universe consists of matter and energy and that the mind
is a phenomenon produced by the workings of the nervous system
Understanding Human Consciousness: A Physiological Approach
Consciousness can be used to refer to a variety of concepts, including simple wakefulness or to
refer to the fact that we humans are aware of and can tell others about our thoughts, perceptions,
memories and feelings
Consciousness can be altered by changes in the structure or chemistry of the brain; potentially be a
physiological function, just like behaviour
Consciousness and the ability to communicate seem to go hand in hand
Phenomenon of consciousness is our ability to send and receive messages with other people
enables us to send and receive our own messages inside our own heads - in other words, to think
and to be aware of our own existence
Blindsight:
Blindsight suggest that the common belief that perceptions must enter consciousness to affect our
behaviour is incorrect. Our behaviour can be guided by sensory information of which we are
completely unaware
The brain contains several mechanisms involved in vision.
Mammalian system is responsible for our ability to perceive the world around us. Primitive visual
system is devoted to controlling eye movements and brining our attention to sudden movements
that occur off to the side of our field of vision
The phenomenon of blindsight suggests that consciousness is not a general property of all parts of
the brain
Only the mammalian visual system has direct connections with the parts of the brain responsible for
consciousness
Split Brain:
Disconnecting parts of the brain involved with perceptions from parts that are involved with verbal
behaviour also disconnects them from consciousness. This suggests that parts of brain involved in
verbal behaviour may be associated with consciousness
Split brain operation has been used for patients with severe epilepsy which drugs cannot control. In
these people, nerve cells in one side of the brain become overactive, and the overactivity is
transmitter to the other side of the brain by the corpus callosum
Corpus callosum is a large bundle of nerve fibers that connect one side of the brain to the other
Cerebral hemispheres receive sensory information from opposite sides of the body. They also
control movements of the opposite sides
Corpus callosum permits the two hemispheres to share information so that each side knows what
the other side is doing and perceiving
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