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Chapter 2

Sensation and Perception Psych 367 Chapter 2.docx

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Douglas Wylie

Chapter 2 introduction to the physiology of perception The brain: the minds computer Brief history of the physiological approach Early hypotheses about the seat of the mind - Aristotle: the heart was the seat of the mind and soul - galen: saw human health, thoughts, and emotions as being determined by 4 different spirits flowing from the ventricles in the center of the brain - Descartes: pineal gland, which was thought to be located over the ventricles, as the seat of the soul The brain as the seat of the mind - Willis concluded that the brain was responsible for mental functioning, that different function were located in different regions of the brain and that disorders of the brain were disorders of chemistry Signals traveling in neurons - Reticular theory: nervous system consisted of a large network of fused nerve cells - Neuron theory: nervous system consisted of distinct elements or cells - Staining: a chemical technique that caused nerve cells to become coloured so they stood out from surrounding tissues o It become possible to see the structure of the entire neuron - Mueller proposed the doctrine of specific nerve energies: perceptions depend on nerve energies reaching the brain and that the specific quality we experience depends on which nerves are stimulated o Activity in the optic nerve would result in seeing Recording from neurons - Edgar Adrian: was about to record electrical signals from a single sensory neuron Basic structure of the brain - William james: the brain is the most mysterious thing in the world - Cerebral cortex o 2 mm thick layer that covers the surface of the brain and contains the machinery for creating perception - Modular organization o Basic principle of cortical function o Specific functions are served by specific areas of the cortex - Primary receiving areas o The first areas in the cerebral cortex to receive the signal initiated by each sense receptors - Occipital lobe o Primary receiving area for vision - Temporal lobe o PRA for hearing - Parietal lobe o Skin sense: touch temperature, pain - Frontal lobe o Signals from all senses and play an important role in perceptions that involve the coordination of information receive through two or more sense Neurons: cells that create and transmit electrical signals Structure of neurons - Cell body: contains mechanism to keep cell alive - Dendrites: branch out from cell body to receive signals from other neurons - Axon: is filled with fluid that conducts electrical signals - Receptors: specialized to respond to environmental stimuli Recording electrical signals in neurons - Nerve: carries signals that consist of many axons of many neurons - Method (recording from a neuron) o Measuring the difference in charge between inside and outside of neuron - When nerve fibre at rest: - 70 mV : resting potential - Action potential: a signal passes through the neuron 40 mV Chemical basis of action potential - Electrical signals in neurons are created by and conducted through liquid - Neurons are surrounded by a solution of ions - Solution outside neuron is rich in Na ions - Solution inside is rich in K ions - Action potential is a rapid increase in positive charge until the inside of the neuron is +40 mV compared to outside - Followed by rapid return to baseline of -70mV - First Na flows in then K flows out - Permeability: property of the cell membrane that refers to the ease with which a molecule can pass through the membrane - Selective permeability: occurs when a membrane is highly permeable to one specific type of molecule but not others - Before action potential permeability to Na and K are low Basic properties of action potential - Propagated signal: one response triggered, it travels down the axon without decreasing in size o It enables neurons to transmit signals over long distances -
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