PSYB57H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Corpus Callosum, Roger Wolcott Sperry, Steam Whistle

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13 Aug 2016
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- specific cognitive functions are associated with specific brain areas
- cognitive neuroscience: a branch of psychology which combines cognitive
psychology and neuroscience in order to discover the brain mechanisms that
give rise to mental functions
mental functions like learning, memory, language, attention
BRAIN AS THE ORGAN OF THE MIND:
- brain is composed of specific parts called modules
modules are responsible for particular cognitive operations
- phrenology: study of the shape, size, and protrusions of the cranium in an
attempt to discover the relationships between parts of the brain and various
mental activities and abilities
invented by Franz Gall
talked about 3 basic principles:
1) brain is sole organ of the mind
2) basic character and intellectual traits are innately determined
3) since there are differences in character and intellectual traits among
individuals, there must exist differentially developed areas in the brain
responsible for the differences
the more highly developed a function was, the larger it would be; and the
larger a function would be, the more protruded it would be on the skull
- localization of function: idea that there is a direct correspondence between
specific cognitive functions and specific parts of the brain
- Shepherd Ivory Franz: studied the effects of ablation of the frontal lobes in
rats
ablation: technique where the parts of the cortex of an animal are destroyed
and the consequences for behaviour are observed
showed that mental processes are not due to the independent activities of
individual parts of the brain but to the activities of the brain as a whole
proved phrenology wrong
- Franz’s student Lashley showed that:
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small lesions either produce no symptoms or very transient ones; this shows
that mechanisms for habits are not grouped close together in small areas
when larger areas are involved, rate of formation of some habits is directly
proportional to the extent of the injury and independent of the position
within any part of the brain
there was no evidence in the brain for specialized connections developed as
a result of learning
learning and memory were not dependent on properties of individual cells
but were functions of total mass of tissue
- two laws came out of this result:
1) law of mass action: learning and memory depend on total mass of brain
tissue remaining rather than the properties of individual cells
QUANTITY versus. quality
2) law of equipotentiality: even though some areas of the cortex may
become specialized for certain tasks, any part of an area can do the job of
any other part of that area
represents plasticity
 Relation Between Mind and Brain:
- consciousness: the narrow concept referring to what we’re aware of at any
point in time
- unconsciousness: the concept of referring to processes that are executed
out of our awareness
- 4 types of relations:
1) Interactionism (Descartes): mind and brain are thought of as separate
substances that interact and influence each other;
pineal gland is the site within the brain where the interaction of these two
substances occurs
2) Epiphenomenalism (Huxley): mind is thought of as simply a byproduct of
brain processes and has no causal role in determining behaviour
the mind is to the brain as the steam from a steam whistle is to a coal-
powered locomotive
you can’t discover much about the brain by looking at the mind and its
processes
3) Parallelism (Fechner): the mind and brain are thought to be two aspects
of the same reality, where an event in the mind is accompanied by a
corresponding event in the brain
studying mental events can reveal valuable information about the brain
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4) Isomorphism (Kohler): accompaniment to Gestalt psychology; an
experience and its corresponding brain process share the same pattern
unlike belief of parallelism, the relationship isn’t point for point, between
mental events and brain events
psychological facts and underlying events in the brain resemble each other
in all their structural characteristics
neural and mental events have the same structure
gestalt switches: when one area of the brain begins fatigued and the other
part takes over
METHODS IN COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE:
 Animal Models:
- indirect route to investigating brain mechanisms in humans
- carefully controlled lesions and their consequences provide insight about
relationships between brain structures and their characteristics
- almost everything we currently know about the micro-organization of brain
structure and function comes from study of animal brains
- differences across species in terms of structure and function place
limitations on our ability to generalize from specie to specie
 Behavioural Studies:
- finding out information about the structure and function of human brains
by investigating behaviours of healthy humans
 Study of Brain Injuries:
- brain injuries serve as substitutes for experiments that provide evidence
for localization of one or more functions
- classic study by Paul Broca and Karl Wernicke
broca’s aphasia: a deficit in ability to produce speech as a result of damage
to Broca’s area (left hemisphere)
unable to speak but able to understand
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