Class 2 Online Reading Notes: Behind The Curtain

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Communication, Culture and Technology
Nathan Innocente

CCT Online Reading 2 September 19 2013 Behind the Curtain By Daniel Levetin Pg. 83-110 page 83 Mind  refers to the part of us that embodies thoughts, hopes, desires, memories, beliefs + experiences. Brain  organ of the body, a collection of cells & water, chemicals & blood vessels, that resides in the skull - Activity in brain gives rise to the contents of the mind. - Cognitive scientists (CS) make analogy that brain is like computer’s CPU or hardware while mind is like the programs/software running on the CPU. - Diff programs can run on essentially the same hardware – different minds can arise from similar brains Rene Descarte wrote that mind+brain are 2 separate things: “…the mind pre-existed … [brain] is merely an instrument of the mind, helping to implement the mind’s will, move muscles, and maintain homeostasis in the body.” Dominant view of today on brain & mind: the sum total of your thoughts, beliefs & experiences is represented in patterns of firings (electrochemical activity) in the brain. - If brain ceases to function, the mind is gone, but the brain can still exist, thoughtless, “in a jar in someone’s laboratory” page 84 Think of the brain as a type of computer. > Networks of interconnected neurons person computations on information and combine their computations in ways that lead to thoughts, decisions, perceptions & ultimately consciousness. > Diff subsystems responsible for diff aspects of cognition : damage in area just above brain and behind left ear (Wernicke’s area)  difficulty in understanding spoken language : damage in area at top of head (motor cortex)  difficulty moving fingers : damage in center of brain (hippocampal complex)  block ability to form new memories, old memories still intact : damage in area just behind forehead  dramatic changes in personality > Such localization of mental function is a strong scientific argument for the involvement of brain in thought CCT Online Reading 2 September 19 2013 page 85 4 Lobes in the Brain + cerebellum Frontal lobe – planning, self-control, making sense out of complex signals our sense receive - “perceptual organization” – Gestalt psychologists Temporal lobe – hearing and memory Parietal lobe (posterior of frontal lobe) – motor movements + spatial skill Occipital lobe – vision Cerebellum – emotions, planning of movements - oldest part of our brain Lobotomy – surgical separation from thalamus to prefrontal cortex Page 86  Musical activity involves nearly every region of the brain and neural subsystem  Diff aspects of music handled by diff neural regions  brain uses functional segregation for musical processing and employs system of feature detectors whose job it is to analyze specific aspects of the musical signal (pitch, tempo, etc)  Several diff dimensions of a musical sound need to be analyzed (usually involving several quasi- independent neural processes) that are then brought together to form a coherent representation of what we’re listening to. Listening to Music Starts With… 1. Subcortical (below the cortex) structures: cochlear nuclei, brain stem, cerebellum 2. Auditory cortices on both sides of brain  following music that you’re familiar with activates addition regions of brain (hippocampus:memory center and subsections of the frontal lobe-inferior frontal cortex: lowest parts of frontal lobe)  tapping along w/music involves cerebellum’s timing circuits  Performing music involves frontal lobe for planning your behaviour as ell as motor cortex and sensory cortex which provides the tactile feedback that you’ve played the correct note on your instrument  Reading music involves visual cortex  Listening/recalling lyrics centers in temporal + frontal lobes page 87 Emotions we experience in response to music involve structures deep in the primitive, reptilian regions of the cerebellum vermis and amygdala – the heart of emotional processing in the cortex. CCT Online Reading 2 September 19 2013 Brain is a massively parallel device, with operations distributed widely throughou
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