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Cognitive Psychology: The Brain.docx

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Structure of the Brain The Hindbrain and Midbrain  The Hindbrain o Develops originally as one of three bulges in the embryo's neural tube. o Most primitive functions o Contains three major structures: 1. Medulla Oblongata- or simply medulla, transmits information from the spinal cord to the brain and regulates life support functions. 2. The Pons- Latin for bridge. Acts as a neural center, facilitating the crossover of information between the left and right sides of the brain. It also plays a role in balance and the processing of visual and auditory information. 3. The Cerebellum- contains neurons that coordinate muscular activity. It is immensely primitive. It governs balance and is involved in general motor behaviour and coordination.  Damage to this structure could lead to jerky movements, tremors, and impairment of balance and of gait.  The Midbrain o Many of it's structures (such as the inferior and superior colliculi) are involved in relaying information between other brain regions, such as the cerebellum and forebrain. o Reticular Formation- keeps us awake and alert; involved in sudden arousal. The Forebrain  Thalamus- another structure for relaying information, especially to the cerebral cortex.  Hypothalamus- controls the pituitary gland by releasing hormones and the homeostatic behaviours.  Hippocampus- involved in the formation of long-term memories.  Amygdala- modulates the strength of emotional memories and is involved in emotional learning.  Basal Ganglia- production of motor behaviour. Focusing on the Cerebrum:  Consists of a layer called the cerebral cortex which is a layer of neurons with white matter underneath that carries information between the cortex and the thalamus or between different parts of the cortex.  This cortex is divided into four lobes: 1. Frontal (underneath the forehead)  Motor Cortex- located in the precentral gyrus; directs fine motor movement.  Premotor Cortex- involved in planning fine motor movement.  Prefrontal Cortex- (or lobe) executive functioning such as planning, making decisions, implementing strategies, inhibiting inappropriate behaviours, and using working memory to process information. Damage to this cortex may mark change in personality, mood, affect, and the ability to control inappropriate behaviour. 2. Parietal (underneath the top rear part of the skull)  Contains somatosensory cortex, which is contained in the postcentral gyrus (a ridge of the brain). It is involved in the processing of sensory information from the body (ex. Touch, pain, or temperature). 3. Occipital (at the back of the head)  Processes visual information 4. Temporal (on the side of the head)  Processes auditory information and the ability to recognize certain stimuli such as faces.  Due to its proximity to the amygdala and hippocampus, damage to this lobe may result in memory loss.  It is also divided into two hemispheres which are connected by either the corpus callosum (in the frontal, parietal, and occipital lobes) or the anterior commisure (in the case of the temporal lobes).  Central Sulcus- a shallow groove on the surface of the brain; divides the frontal and parietal lobes  Lateral Sulcus- defines the temporal lobes. Localization of Function  A method of mapping brain areas to different cognitive or motor functions; identifying which neural regions control or are active when different activities take place.  Franz Gall (1758-1828)- faculty psychology: different mental abilities, such as reading or computation, were independent and autonomous functions, carried out in different parts of the brain. He believed different parts of the brain were associated with faculties such as parental love, secretiveness, etc.  Johan Spurzheim developed the study of phrenology: psychological strengths and weaknesses could be precisely correlated to the relative size of different brain areas. The problem with this idea was the assumptions that size was related to strength and different faculties were absolutely independent.  Paul Broca (1824-1880)- Injury to a particular part of the left frontal lobe resulted in a particular kind of aphasia, or disruption of expressive language. This is now known as Broca's area; injury results in Broca's or non-fluent aphasia.  Carl Wernicke (1848-1904) discovered the second "language center" now known as Wernicke's area located
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