PSYC 2650 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ct Scan, Parahippocampal Gyrus

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2 Dec 2011
Cognitive Psyc – Chapter 2
- functioning of the brain as a whole is dependent on interconnected systems
- damage anywhere in the brain will result in specific symptoms
Capgras syndrome: person is able to recognize the people in their world (ex. Husband,
parents, etc.) but is convinced that they are not who they appear to be
- thinks they are impostures
- thinks their real husband, child, etc. has been kidnapped or worse
- PET scans have link Capgras syndrome to multiple brain areas
- One site of damage is the temporal lobe on the right side of the head – this
involves disrupting the circuits involving the amygdala (the “emotional
evaluator, helps detect safety or danger)
- Also damage in the prefrontal cortex
Neuroimaging techniques: allows researchers to take high-quality, three-dimensional
“pictures” of living brains, without in anyway disturbing the brain of the owner
PET (positron emission tomography) scans: tell about the structure of the brain, including
abnormalities in the brain tissues
- provides a precise measurement assessment of how blood is flowing through each
region of the brain
- therefore also looks at functioning
fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging): tracks moment to moment activity levels
in different sites of the living brain
- allows you to see which parts of the brain are activated during different activities
- measures oxygen content in blood flowing through different regions of the brain
- oxygen content can determine the level of neural activity in that region
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): tells about the structure of the brain
- relies on magnetic tissues of atoms that make up brain tissue
- yields very detail pictures of the brain
CT (computerized axial tomography) scan: uses x-rays to study the brain’s anatomy
- CT and PET scans can be used together to pinpoint signals in the brain
- CT provides a map of brain
- PET tells us about activity levels and which areas of the brain are active and
inactive at different times
- results of CT and MRI are fairly stable – only changes if brain structure changes (due to
injury, etc.)
- results of PET and fMRI are highly variable – results depend on what task the person is
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- two things contribute to face recognition – factual knowledge and an emotional
part that is tied to a warm sense of familiarity
Principle Structures of the Brain
- human brain weighs between 3 and 4 pounds
- 10 million billion connections
Hindbrain: sits directly atop the spinal cord and includes several structures crucial for
controlling key life functions
- rhythms of heartbeat, breathing
- maintains body’s overall tone, maintains posture and balance
- regulates brain’s level of alertness¸
Cerebellum: plays role in coordination of body movements and balance
- damage to this area can cause problems in spatial reasoning, in discriminating
sounds, and in integrating the input received from various sensory systems
Midbrain: plays important part in coordinating our movements, including skilled, precise
movements of our eyes
- also contains circuits that relay auditory info from the ears to the areas in the
- also helps to regulate experience of pain
Forebrain: largest region of the brain
- cortex: outer layer of the brain (only 3 mm thick), makes up 80% of the brain,
curled up tissue (called convolutions)
- longitudinal tissue: deepest groove in the brain, runs from front of brain to the
back and separating the left cerebral hemisphere from the right
- frontal lobes: forms front of brain
-parietal lobes: top of brain
- occipital lobes: back of brain
Thalamus: brain region that acts as a relay station for nearly all the sensory information
going to the cortex
Hypothalamus: structure below the thalamus, crucial role in the control of motivated
behaviours such as eating, drinking, and sexual activity
Limbic System: interconnected structures surrounding the thalamus and the
- contains the amygadala and hippocampus, both essential for learning, memory
and for emotional processing
Commissures: thick bundles of fibres that carry information back and forth between the
two hemispheres
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