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6- The Cerebral Cortex and Our Divided Brain.docx

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PSYC 1000
Benjamin Giguere

THE CEREBRAL CORTEX AND OUR DIVIDED BRAIN The cerebral cortex  Older brain networks sustain basic life functions and enable memory, emotions, and basic drives  Newer neural networks within the cerebrum (the hemispheres that contribute 85% of the brains weigh) form specialized work teams the enable our perceiving, thinking and speaking  Covering the hemispheres is the cerebral cortex, a think surface layer of interconnected neural cells  it is the brains thinking crown; body’s ultimate control and information-processing center  As we move up the ladder of animal life, the cerebral cortex expands, tight genetic control relax, and the organism’s adaptability increases What part of the human brain distinguished us most from less complex animals? The cerebral cortex The structure of the cortex  The brain’s ballooning left and right hemispheres are filled mainly with axons connecting the cortex to the brain’s others regions  The cerebral cortex contains 20-23 billion nerve cells and 300 trillion synaptic connections  Supporting the nerve cells are nine times as many spidery glial cells  they provide nutrients and insulating myelin, guide neural connections, and mop ions and neurotransmitters; may also play role in learning and thinking; by chatting with neurons they may participate in information transmission and memory  In more complex animal brains, the proportion of glia to neurons increase  Each hemisphere’s context is subdivided into four lobes, separated by prominent fissures, or folds  Starting at the front of the brain and moving on top are frontal lobes (behind forehead), the parietal lobes (at the top and to the rear), and the occipital loves (at back of the head). Reversing direction and moving forward, just above your ears, you find the temporal loves. THE CEREBRAL CORTEX AND OUR DIVIDED BRAIN Functions of the cortex Motor functions  Mild electrical stimulation to parts of an animal’s cortex made parts of its body move  The effects were selective: stimulation caused movement only when applied to an arch-shaped region at the back of the frontal lobe, running roughly ear-to-ear across the top of the brain.  Stimulating parts of this region in the left or right hemisphere of the brain caused movements of specific body parts on the opposite side of the body  Motor cortex an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements Left hemisphere tissue devoted to each body part in the motor cortex and the sensory cortex  brain devotes more tissue to sensitive areas and the areas requiring precise control. Sensory Functions  Sensory cortex area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations  Cortex also receives input from other senses than touch receive visual information in the visual cortex in your occipital lobes, at the back of the brain. From occipital lobes, visual information goes to other areas that specialize in task such as identifying words, detecting emotions, and recognizing faces  Any sound you hear is processed by your auditory cortex in your temporal lobes (just above ears) THE CEREBRAL CORTEX AND OUR DIVIDED BRAIN Association areas  In associations areas, neurons are busy with higher mental functions, such as learning, remembering, thinking and speaking  Are found in all 4 lobes  In frontal lobes enable judgement, planning and processing of new memories  Frontal lobe damage can alter personality, remove a person’s inhibitions, and moral judgements seem unrestrained by normal emotions  with their frontal lobes damaged, people’s moral compass seem to disconnect from their behaviour  Association areas also perform other mental functions  in the parietal lobes they enable mathematical and spatial r
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