• It was initially believed that cognitive processes and structures were best
described at the level of abstraction above the neural level.
o Studying neurons does not provide useful explanations in terms of theory
like memory storage does.
Development of different levels of explanation – symbolic and
• Which level is most useful for understanding and study is debated – need to
understand how brain develops and functions.
• Developing and applying methods of inquiry can conclusively link cognitive
processes to underlying neural activity
o Understanding of how cognitive operations arise from neural activity is
main goal of neuroscience
o Related goal is to determine cognitive functions affected by damage to
certain brain structures and whether it is possible to recover following.
• Most brain growth happens around 4 years old, and maxes out at 20 years old
Structure of the brain
• Four structures of the brain: hindbrain, midbrain, forebrain
• Cerebral cortex: forebrain
• Hindbrain: One of three bulges on the neural tube.
• Most primitive structure evolutionarily
• Brain stem: medulla and pons
• 3 major structure
o Medulla oblongata: transmits information from spinal cord to brain and
regulate life support functions such as respiration, blood pressure,
coughing, sneezing, vomiting, and heart rate.
o Pons: neural relay centre; crossover of information from left side body to
right side brain and vice versa. Also implicated in balance and visual and
o Cerebellum: coordinate muscular activity. Governs balance and
coordination in motor behaviour
Lesions in cerebellum can cause jerky movements, tremors, and
impaired balance and gait.
Also problems in attention in visual and auditory stimuli and
dealing with rhythm.
Midbrain • Midbrain: Inferior and superior colliculi relay information between brain regions
and are located in the middle.
• Reticular formation: wake and alertness
• Thalamus: switching station for sensory information; memory
• Hypothalamus: controls pituitary gland by releasing hormones that regulate
other glands in the body (homeostatic behaviour)
• Hippocampus: involved in learning, memry and emotion – long term memory
• Amygdala: memory, emotion, aggression – emotional learning
• Cerebrum: largest structure in brain
o Cerebral cortex: half dozen layers of neurons with white matter to carry
information between cortex and thalamus
o Four lobes: frontal, parietal, occipital, temporal
o Left and right are connected by the corpus callosum (fpo)
o Temporal lobe is connected by anterior commisure
o Central sulcus divided frontal and parietal lobes
o Lateral sulcus define the temporal lobe
o Each lobe has two sides (left and right)
o Parietal lobe: somatosensory cortex, processes sensory information from
the body – pain, pressure, touch, temperature
o Occipital lobe: visual information
o Temporal lobe: auditory information, and perceive faces
Affected by amygdale and hippocampus (memory)
o Front lobe has 3 regions
Motor cortex: fine motor movement
Premootor cortex: coordinate motor cortex
Prefrontal cortex: executive functioning – making decisions,
planning, strategies, and inhibiting inappropriate behaviours,
• Dmg can result in change in personality, mood, and ability
to control behaviours
• Last part of brain to mature and first to deteriorate
Localization of function
• Means of mapping out the brain
• Franz Gall: faculty psychology: theory that different mental abilities were
independent and autonomous functions carried out by different parts of the brain.
• Johan Spurzheim: phrenology: psychological strengths and weaknesses can be
correlated to relative sizes of different brain areas
o Problem with phrenology:
Size of portion is relative to its power Faculties were independent (they are not)
• Aphasia: disruption of expressive language (Broca’s area, left frontal lobe –
posterior and inferior region)
• Wernicke’s area (superior posterior region of temporal lobe) – can produce
speech but makes no sense – also impaired understanding of speech.
• Double disassociations: Impaired A is not necessary impaired B in area X and
• Primary somatosensory cortex: organized to receive input from a specific part
of the body: size of real estate on the PSC is not relative to corresponding region.
• Penfield: first maps for cognitive functions such as smelling, motor, speaking, etc.
• Lashley: impairment related to amount of cortex removed, and not specific area.
o Brain is dynamic – complex f