Chapter 2 from Cognition (4th edition).docx

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18 Apr 2012
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Chapter 2 - Cognitive Neuroscience
-goal is to discover brain mechanisms that give rise to human mental functions such as language,
memory, and attention
-cog neuroscientists must assume that the mind is composed of specific parts - modules: the sections of
brain, each is responsible for particular cog operation
The brain as the Organ of the Mind
Franz Joseph Gall and J.G. Spurzheim (1750s-1830s)
Phrenology - study of shape, size, and protrusions of cranium in an attempt to
discover relation of parts of brain to mental activities/abilities
Their argument's 3 basic principles:
The brain is the sole organ of the mind
Basic character and intellectual traits are innately determined
Since there are differences in character and individual traits among
individuals, and differences in various intellectual capacities w/I single
individual, there must exist differentially developed areas in brain
responsible for these differences
Where there is variation in function there must be variation in the
controlling structures
Believed that the more highly developed the function is, the larger it would be -
the larger the function, the more it would manifest itself as a protrusion on the
skull
One could define person's strengths/weaknesses by examining shape of
skull
Underlying hypothesis that specific functions are localized in specific parts of
brain
Not everyone agrees w/ hypothesis since it takes a strict one-to-one
correspondence b/w specific functions and parts of brain
Shepherd Ivory Franz - expert in ablation; destruction of parts of cortex of an animal and
observation of results
Concluded that mental processes are not due to independent activities of
individual parts of brain, but to activities of brain as a whole
Advised against phrenology
With Karl Lashley, studied effects of ablation of frontal lobes of rats
Made small holes in animal's skull and determine by later histology
(microscopic analysis of tissue structure) where the lesion occurred, thus
determining effect of lesions on retention of a simple learned maze habit
Concluded that as long as sufficient tissue remained after operation, the
location of tissue was irrelevant
Karl Lashley
Lesioned cortex of rats in different areas and different degrees
Concluded that performance in simple mazes was not affected by brain damage
- but it declined as difficulty of task increased and/or amount of brain damage
increased
Mechanisms for habits are not closely grouped w/i small areas
Neither learning nor memory is dependent on properties of individual
cells, instead they are functions of the total mass of tissue
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