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Chapter 2

PSY270 Chapter 2.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY270H1
Professor
Christine Burton
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 2: Cognitive Neuroscience Cognitive Neuroscience: study of the physiological basis of cognition Neurons: building blocks and transmission lines of the nervous system Neurons The Microstructure of the Brain: Neurons • Nerve net: network of continuously interconnected nerve fibres o Nerve net theory: provided a complex pathway for conducting signals uninterrupted through the network • Ramon y Cajal: investigated the nature of the nerve net o Use the Golgi stain – stained only some of the cells in a slice of brain tissue o Studied tissue from the brains of newborn animals, density of cells in newborn brain is small compared with adult brain o Neuron doctrine: individual cells transmit signals in the nervous system; these cells are not continuous with other cells as proposed by nerve net theory • Cajal’s conclusions about neurons: o In addition to neurons in the brain, there are also neurons that pick up information from the environment – receptors o For all neurons, there is a small gap between the end of the neuron’s axon and the dendrites or cell body of another neuron – synapse o Neurons form specific connections – neural circuits The Signals that travel in Neurons • Adrian recorded electrical signals from single neurons using microelectrodes o Key principle for understanding how electrical signals are recorded is that we are measuring the difference in charge between the recording and reference electrodes  Recording: connected to recording device and positioned near neuron  Reference: connected to reference and located outside of tissue o Action potential: electrical signal • Action potentials travel all the way down the axon without changing its size o Neurotransmitter: chemical that is released when signals reach end of axon • As pressure increased on the receptor, rate of nerve firing (number of action potentials) travelling down the axon increased o Intensity of a stimulus can be represented by the rate of nerve firing o Related to the magnitude of an experience Localization of Function Localization of function: functions are served by specific areas of the brain Cerebral cortex: layer of tissue about 3 mm thick that covers the brain Localization for Perception • Primary receiving areas: first areas of the cerebral cortex to receive signals from each of the senses o Temporal: auditory o Occipital: vision o Parietal: area for the skin senses o Frontal: receives signals from all of the senses, coordination of info received through two or more senses • Prosopagnosia: inability to recognize faces due to damage to a certain area in the temporal love on the lower right side of the brain • Brain imaging: create images that show which areas of the brain are activated as awake humans carry out cognitive tasks 1. PET: measures blood flow using radioactive tracers 2. Subtraction technique: measuring “control state” before stimulation is presented, and again while the stimulus is presented 3. fMRI: magnetic field is presented to the brain, haemoglobin molecules line up • Fusiform face area (FFA): location of the area in the human brain that responds to faces • Parahippocampal place area (PPA):activated by picture
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