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Chapter 2

jan 16, chapter 2 cognitive neuroscience.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY270H1
Professor
Susanne Ferber
Semester
Winter

Description
Jan 16, 2012, PSY270 chapter 2- Cognitive neuroscience  Cognitive neuroscience: study of the physiological basis of cognition  Neurons: building blocks and transmission lines of the nervous system  Nerve net: network that was believed to be continuous, provided a complex pathway for conducting signals uninterrupted through the network  Neuron doctrine: idea that individual cells transmit signals in the nervous system, and that these cells are not continuous with other cells as proposed by nerve net theory  Cell body: contains mechanisms to keep the cell alive  Dendrites: branch out from the cell body to perceive signals from other neurons  Axons/nerve fiber: transmits signals to other neurons  Synapses: small gap in between the end of the neuron’s axon and the dendrites or cell body of another neuron  Neural circuits: neurons are not connected indiscriminately to other, but form connections only to specific neurons, many neurons are connected together to form.  Action potential: recorded from an axon in response to 3 levels of pressure stimulation: light, medium and strong. Increasing stimulus intensity causes an increase in the rate of nerve firing.  Localization of function: neurons serving different cognitive functions transmit signals to different areas of the brain  Cerebral cortex: which is layer of tissue about 3mm thick that covers the brain.  Primary receiving areas: first areas of the cerebral cortex to receive signals from each of the senses  Temporal lobe: when sound stimulates receptors in the ear, resulting electrical signals reach the auditory receiving area..  Occipital lobe: primary receiving area for vision occupies  Parietal lobe: area for the skin senses; touch, temperature and pain  Areas for taste and smell are located on the underside of the temporal lobe and in a small area within the frontal lobe  Frontal lobe: signals from all the senses and plays an important role in perceptions that involve the coordination of information received through two or more senses  Prosopagnosia: an inability to recognize faces  Brain imaging has been used to demonstrate localization of function in the human cortex  Brain imaging: technique for measuring brain activity in humans  Positron emission tomography (PET): takes advantage of the fact that blood flow increases in areas of the brain that are activated by a cognitive task. Measures the signal from the tracer at each location in the brain. Higher signals indicate higher levels of brain activity  Enable to track changes in blood flow to determine which brain areas were being activated  Subtraction technique: brain activity is measured first in a ‘control state’, before stimulation is presented, while the stimulus is presented. Activity due to manipulation is determined by subtracting the control activity from the stimulation activity  Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): measurement of blood flow. Adv: blood flow can be measured without radioactive tracers. Takes advantage of the fact that hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood, contains a ferrous molecule and therefore has magnetic properties. Indicates the presence of brain activity because the hemoglobin molecules in areas of high brain activity lose some of the oxygen they are transporting.  Subtraction technique is also used for fMRI, because it doesn’t require radioactive tracers and is more accurate. 
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