PSYC 211 Chapter 1: Chapter 1.docx
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Chapter 1. Introduction
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.
Understanding Human Consciousness: A Physiological Approach
x 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.
-caused by damage to a particular part of the brain, is known as blindsight
-Our behavior can be guided by sensory information of which we are completely unaware
-the human brain contains not one but several mechanisms involved in vision.
-“mammalian” system seems to be the one that is respon- sible for our ability to perceive the world around
-visual information can control behavior without producing a conscious sensation. The phenome- non of
blindsight suggests that consciousness is not a general property of all parts of the brain; some parts of the
brain, but not others, play a special role in consciousness
-The prim- itive system, which evolved before the development of brain mechanisms that give rise to
consciousness, does not have these connections, so we are not conscious of the visual information it
detects. It does have connections with the parts of the brain responsible for controlling hand movements.
-The surgical procedure is one that has been used for people with very severe epilepsy that cannot be con- trolled
-uncontrollably overactive, and the overactivity is transmitted to the other side of the brain by the corpus callosum
x corpus callosum (core pus ka low sum)sure of the brain, interconnecting the areas of neocortex on each side of the brain.
x 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.
x cerebral hemispheres The two symmetrical halves of the brain; constitute the major part of the brain.
-the effects of these disconnections are not obvious to the casual observer.
-the left—controls speech
-The right hemisphere of an epileptic person with a split brain appears able to understand instructions
reason- ably well, but it is totally incapable of producing speech
-The operations of the right hemisphere are more difficult to detect
-The olfactory system is an exception to the general rule that of sensory information crosses from one side
of the body to the opposite side of the brain
-the right brain has per- ceived the odor and can identify it
-But if asked to use the right hand, the patient fails the test because the right hand is connected to the left
hemisphere, which did not smell the odor presented to the right nostril
x 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.
-the parietal cortex also receives auditory and visual information
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