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Chapter 1

PSYB65H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Clinical Neuropsychology, Frontal Lobe, Pineal Gland

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Ted Petit

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Chapter 1 Introduction to Neuropsychology
1.1 Introduction to Neuropsychology
- The mythical claim that humans use only %10 of their brain has unknown origins, although there are
certain prominent figures such as Einstein whom have no doubt increased the popularity of this myth
What is Neuropsychology
- Neuropsychology is the study of the relation between behavior and the activity of the brain
- There are two main types of neuropsychologists, clinical and experimental. Clinical neuropsychology is
concerned with psychological assessment, management and rehabilitation of neurological disease and
injury. Experimental neuropsychology, also referred to as cognitive neuropsychology, explains patterns
of behavioral impairments
Heart, Mind and the Brain; The Early History of Neuropsychology
- Human thoughts and behaviours were not always attributed to the brain. Empedocles was a philosopher
who believed that the heart was the source of human behaviour, a position that became known as the
Cardiac or Cardiocentric Hypothesis. Aristotle came to the same conclusion but for different reasons. He
believed that the heart controlled thought and sensation and that the brain served as a radiator, cooling
down the blood that leads to the heart
- Although the cardiac hypothesis might seem out of date, the symbols of this perspective are common
throughout our culture. Because, for example, the emotion of love is associated with the heart, not the
- Early theories of brain function did not typically recognize the importance of the brain on higher cognitive
functions. Instead, the brain was viewed as a passive interpreter of signals, whereas the mind was often
characterized as a separate entity from the brain
The Mind-Body Problem
- Renee Descartes’ Reflexive Theory presented the belief that the control of behaviour was caused by a
person’s animal spirit. This theory accounted for reflexive behaviours by describing how external stimuli
would move the skin, although this theory appeared to account for some involuntary behaviours such as
withdrawing one’s hand from a hot stimulus, it could not account for voluntary behaviour
- Descartes believed voluntary behaviours depended on the interaction of the body and soul. He believed this
interaction to occur in the pineal gland because of its unitary nature and that it is covered by cerebrospinal
fluid (which he believed to have the animal spirit)
- Descartes’ theory relied heavily on what was modern technology at the time; hydraulic mechanical
systems. One of the problems with all of these mechanical accounts of mental life is their relative inability
to account for variability in behaviour
- The account of mind-body interaction provided by Descartes has a much bigger problem than variability.
He proposed that the mind and body are separate but interacting entities known as dualism
- The opposing position, called monism, posits that the mind and body are unitary; “there is no ghost in the
1.2 The Recent History of Neuropsychology
- The 1990s has been declared the decade of the brain
Cataloging the Effects of Lesions
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