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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Notes


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY270H1
Professor
Gillian Rowe
Chapter
3

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Neurons: the building blocks of the nervous system
oSend signal within a neuron: ELECTRICAL action potentials (properties of the environment are
represented by electrical signals in the nervous system)
oSend signal between neurons: CHEMICAL neurotransmitters
oCommunication: getting the message across transforming energy from the environment
transduction: energy in one form transformed into different energy by brain; action potentials
do not ravel across synapse, they trigger a chemical process
action potential: AP reach certain level electrical signal sent down to neuron to end of axon
synaptic vesicles open and release neurotransmitters which are picked up by receiving
dendrites
neurotransmitters: chemicals that affect the electrical signal of the receiving neuron
inside drugs: dopamine (increases neuron fire excitatory); GABA (decreases neuron fire
inhibitory)
outside drugs: cocaine, alcohol, prescription drugs
oIntensity of stimulus represented by the rate of nerve firing; all action potentials are basically the same
(Adrian)
Feature detectors: neurons that respond best to a specific stimulus
oNeurons that respond to specific visual features
observing tree: light reflected retina representation of tree
Modularity module: an area specialized for a specific function (FFA, PPA, and EBA are
examples)
FFA (Fusiform Face Area): information perceiving faces
Underside of temporal lobe
Kanwisher et al.: Neural activity greatest when faces seen test to see if images of bodies or
human heads make a difference; results show that while it isnt saying that neurons arent
being activated at FFA, but are responding more strongly to human faces
Parahippocampal place area (PPA): activated by pictures presenting indoor and outdoor
scenes
Extrastriate body area (EBA): activated by pictures of bodies and parts of bodies (not but
faces)
Hubel and Wiesel: each neuron fired only to a specific type of stimulation presented to a specific
type of stimulation presented to a small area of the retina
chorus of neural signals use orchestra analogy (some loud, some quiet)
Neural code: the pattern of neural firing that represents an environmental stimulus; also
applies to memory except the code for memory involves stored information
Specificity coding: neurons specifically turned to and specialized to respond to a specific face (i.e. a
grandmothers face)
oLettvin: grandmother cell responds only to specific stimulus
Problems: (1) too many things around to have one neuron respond to one stimulus (2) although
there are neurons that respond only to specific types of stimuli such as faces, even these neurons
respond to a number of faces
Solved: distributed coding: the code that indicates a specific face is distributed across a
number of neurons pattern of firing a number of individual neurons *similar to neural chorus
Brain:
oCerebral cortex: outer, squished part of brain most highly developed; most actual information
processing happens in CC
Lobes:
Frontal: reasoning and planning
Parietal: touch, temperate, pain, and pressure
Temporal: auditory, and perceptual processing memory
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