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Chapter 1

Lecture 3 - Chapter 1 - The Science of Psychology

by OC72

Course Code
Steve Joordens

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Lecture 3- Chapter 1 - The Science of Psychology
The Biological Roots of Psychology
If all the nerves start from the brain then the brain also looks very materialistic
The human body could also be thought of in material terms just like how everyone
thought that the external world including animals were atoms interacting; there
was nothing spiritual about animals and then they began to think that humans fall
into that category too
The notion that came from Muller's work that it really looks like the body as a whole is
composed of basic wiring (neural tissue) and a lot of these signals that control
behaviour come from the brain so people started to think if the brain was a
machine or some spiritual entity
The implications of Muller's work were confirmed by ablation studies performed by
Pierre Florens (1774-1867)...the result of removing part of the brain depends on
which part is removed
Ablation research: Take animals and put them through tests (auditory, visual etc) and
then surgically remove part of the animal's brain. For example; if you remove the
cortical region (back of the head); they would behave as though they were blind
even though their optic track was fine and so were their eyes.
It started a notion; The brain is composed of localized functions, so the specific parts of
the brain seem to do specific things.
Paul Broca (1824-1880) was the first to apply this logic to humans when he performed
an autopsy on a stroke victim and claimed to find the 'speech centre' of the brain
(Check out Broca's Brain by Sagan)
Could not out-put sensical speech but could understand it
When people who had this disorder died; Broca opened their skull and they all had
damaged tissue over the left ear which is now called Broca's Area
Gustav Fritsh & Eduard Hitzig (1870) added further evidence using electrical
stimulation studies...body appeared to be mapped on the surface of the brain
Fernology (its wrong; its sensicle but not for the brain)---> most people thought that
brain was like muscle tissue; so fir example if you do curles everyday for your
biceps it will destroy the muscle and rebuild a stronger one. People applied this to
the brain so for example; if a person thought about math all the time then they
would have a bump on that part of the brain and if they didn't then the would have
like a dip. Gives an idea of localization
London cab drivers have more dense neuro connections in the area of the brain that we
know is responsible for spatial cognition. The brain doesn't get bigger but the
neuro connections get stronger
Neuroplasticity: If parts of the brain are used their structure changes to process
information more efficiently it doesn't expand in size but it expands in complexity
Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) championed the notions of objective investigation
and precise measurement
He wanted to ask the question: how fast does the human body (especially the brain)
transmit information? He answered this question by getting a bunch of people to
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