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Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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McGill University
PSYC 213
Jelena Ristic

Key term Definitions Modules: The sections of the brain, each of which is responsible for particular cognitive operations. Phrenology: Study of the shape, size, and protrusions of the cranium in an attempt to discover the relation of the parts of the brain to various mental activities and abilities Localization of function: The attempt to discover correspondences between specific cognitive functions and specific parts of the brain, based on the assumption that there is a strict one-to-one correspondence between specific functions and specific parts of the brain. Histology: microscopic analysis of tissue structure. Law of mass action: learning and memory depend on the total mass of brain tissue remaining rather than the properties of individual cells. Law of equipotentiality: even though some areas of the cortex may become specialized for certain tasks, within limits any part of an area can do the job of any other part of that area. Interactionism: mind and brain are separate substances that interact with and influence each other. Epiphenomenalism: 'mind' is a superfluous by-product of bodily functioning. Parallelism: 'mind' and brain are two aspects of the same reality ad flow in parallel. Isomorphism: Mental events and neural events share the same structure. Broca's aphasia: a deficit in the ability to produce speech as a result of damage to Broca's area. Broca's area: area of the brain's left hemisphere that is responsible for how words are spoken. Wernicke's area: area of the brain's left hemisphere that is responsible for processing the meaning of words. Wernicke's aphasia: a deficit in the ability to comprehend speech as a result of damage to Wernicke's area. Interhemispheric transfer: communication between the brain's hemispheres is enabled in large part by the corpus callosum. Split brain: a condition created by severing the corpus callosum. Emergent property: in Sperry's sense, 'mind' comes about as a result of brain processes, but is not itself a component of the brain. This means that the mind is not reducible to or predictable from other features of the brain. Emergent causation: in Sperry's sense, once the 'mind' emerges from the brain, it then has the power to influence lower-level processes. Supervenient: in Sperry's sense, mental states may influence neuronal events while being influenced by them. Event-related potential (ERP): electrical signals recorded from the brain that occur after the onset of a stimulus. Positron emission tomography (PET): an imaging technique in which a participant is injected with a radioactive substance that mingles with the blood and circulates to the brain. A scanner is then used to detect the flow of blood to particular areas of the brain. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): a non-radioactive, magnetic procedure for detecting he flow of oxygenated blood to various parts of the brain. Connectionism: the theory that cognitive processes are regulated by complex systems consisting of a large number of interconnected elements. Neural networks: a system of connections between elements that models connections between neurons in the nervous system. Hebb rule: a connection between two neurons takes place only if both neurons are firing approximately the same time. Parallel processing: many neural connections can be active at the same time. Serial processing: only one neural activity may take place at any one time. Summaries by sections The Brain as the Organ of the Mind The attempt to discover which parts of the brain were specialized for which cognitive operations dates back to Gall (1758-1828) and Spurzheim (1776- 1832) whom promoted phrenology. Their purpose was to represent locations in the brain of various psychological functions. Although they are no longer taken seriously, their underlying premises should still be considered. Their argument: 1) The brain is the sole organ of the mind. 2) Basic character and intellectual traits are innately determined.3) Where there is variation in function there must be variation in the controlling structures. They believed that one could divine a person's strengths and weaknesses by examining the shape of the skull. Despite their method's weakness, the underlying hypothesis that specific functions are localized in specific parts of the brain has guided subsequent research. Franz and his work was a big influence in the history of the localization of function controversy. He was an expert in ablation (parts of the cortex of an animal are destroyed and the results are observed). Franz concluded that 'mental processes are not due to the independent activities of individual parts of the brain, but to the activities of the brain as a whole'. Lashley was Franz's student. From (1890-1958) they studied the effects of ablation in frontal lobes in rats. They made small holes in the animals skull and then determined through histology where the lesions had occurred. However, their results persuaded them that as long as enough tissue remained after the operation then the location of tissue was irrelevant. Lashley later published a classic in the area of localization of function known as 'Brain mechanisms and intelligence' (1929). Lashley observed the ability of rats to learn or remember tasks such as finding there way through mazes of different levels of difficulty. Per
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