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Chapter 2


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PSYC 2650
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition Capgras Syndrome: An Initial Example - This disorder is rare on its own but often accompanies Alzheimer’s syndrome - Observed among the elderly, can result from various injuries to the brain - Someone with Capgras syndrome is able to recognize the people in their world but is convinced that these people are not who they appear to be (a well-trained imposter of their loved one) - Recognition involves two separate systems in the brain: One leads to cognitive appraisal The other to an emotional appraisal - The concordance of these two appraisals then leads to recognition - Examination of this disorder is made possible by neuro-imaging techniques: PET scans (looks at structure of the brain) -People with this disorder often suffer from abnormalities in the amygdala and the pre frontal cortex fMRI scans (tells us which portions of the brain are especially active during scan) - The damage to the amygdala is likely to be the reason why Capgras patients experience no sense of familiarity - The damage to the prefrontal cortex helps us understand why Capgras patients offer such crazy hypotheses when they experience this lack of familiarity The Principal Structures of the Brain - The human brain weighs between 3-4 pounds (roughly the size of a small melon) - Estimated to contain a trillion nerve cells - Different parts of the brain perform different jobs Hindbrain, Midbrain, Forebrain - The human brain is divided into three main structures Hindbrain: sits directly atop the spinal cord and controls several key life functions. (Ex. the rhythm of heartbeats and rhythm of breathing, posture and balance) -The largest area of the hindbrain is the cerebellum. (role: coordination of our bodily movements, integrating input received from various sensory systems) Midbrain: plays an important part in coordinating our movements, relays auditory information from the ears, and regulates our experience of pain. Forebrain: the largest region. -The outer surface is the cortex (thin covering on outer surface of the brain, constitutes 80% of the human brain) -The longitudinal fissure is the deepest groove running from the front of the brain to the back and separating the left cerebral hemisphere from the right. -Other fissures divide the cortex in each hemisphere into four lobes: Frontal lobes: directly behind the forehead Parietal lobes: the brains top most part Temporal lobes: below the frontal lobes Occipital lobes: at the very back of the brain, connected to the parietal and temporal lobes -The central fissure divides the frontal lobes from the parietal lobes -The lateral fissure divides the frontal lobes from the temporal lobes Subcortical Structures (beneath the cortex)  Thalamus: acts as a relay station for nearly all sensory information going to the cortex  Hypothalamus: directly below thalamus, controls motivated behaviours; eating, drinking, sexual activity  Limbic System: surrounds thalamus and hypothalamus. Includes: -Amygdala and Hippocampus (both underneath cortex in temporal lobe) These structures are essential for learning, memory and emotional processing -Like most parts of the brain, the subcortical structures come in pairs. -There are differences in function between the left-side and right-side structures but both sides work together -This is made possible by the commissures: thick bundles of fibers that carry information back and forth between the two hemispheres -Corpus Callosum: the largest commissure Primary Motor Projection Areas Primary projection areas: Sends out signals that ultimately result in muscle movement. Arrival (prima
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