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Chapter 2

PS260 Chapter 2 - Nerual Basis for Cognition.docx

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Anneke Olthof

Chapter 2: Neural Basis for Cognition Capgras Syndrome This disorder is rare on its own, but one of the most accompaniments to Alzheimer's syndrome. This disorder can result from various injuries to the brain.  someone with this syndrome is fully able to recognize the people her world, but they aren't who they appear to be.  facial recognition involves two separate systems in the brain: 1. cognitive appraisal "I know what my father looks like and I can perceive that you closely resemble him" 2. emotional appraisal "You look familiar to me and also trigger a warm response in me".  these lead to a certainty of recognition "You obviously are my father".  in this syndrome, the latter (emotional) processing is disrupted, leading to intellectual identification without the familiarity response. "You resemble my father, but no sense of familiarity, therefore you're someone else." Neural Basis for Capgras Syndrome Neuro-imaging techniques: allow researchers to take high-quality, 3D pictures of living brains.  PET scan - tells about the structure of the brain (including abnormalities in the brain tissue).  one site of damage is in the temporal lobe  probably disrupts circuits involving the amygdala ("emotional evaluator") o amygdala is important for detecting positive stimuli (indicators of safety or available rewards. o essential for making judgements of "you look familiar to me and trigger warm feeling"  brain abnormalities in the frontal lobe; prefrontal cortex o fMRI scan - allows to track moment-by-moment activity levels in different sites in a living brain. o tells us which parts of the brain are active, and are used heavily in the brain o neuroimaging reveals diminished activity in the patients' frontal lobes whenever they are experiencing hallucinations o diminished activity reflects a decreased ability to distinguish internal events (thoughts), from external ones (voices), or to distinguish imagined events from real ones. What did we Learn from Capgras Syndrome?  the damage to the amygdala is the reason why patients experience no sense of familiarity  amygdala suggests the importance of remembering emotional events of peoples' lives  amygdala also plays a role in decision-making (especially for emotional evaluations of one's options)  the damage to the prefrontal cortex helps us understand why Capgras patients, when experiencing lack of familiarity, offer such crazy hypotheses about their skewed perception.  there is evidence based on cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience  we can use Capgras syndrome to illuminate broader issues about the nature of the brain and of the mind.  Capgras syndrome tells us:  emotional evaluator works separate from our evaluation of factual information  emotional evaluation points toward a different conclusion Principle Structures of the Brain Hindbrain, Midbrain, Forebrain The human brain is divided into three main structures: hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. 1) Hindbrain hindbrain: sits directly atop the spinal cord and includes several structures that control key life functions.  e.g. the rhythm of heartbeats and the rhythm of breathing are controlled.  plays an essential role in maintaining the body's overall tone;  it helps maintain body's posture and balance and helps regulate brains' level of alertness  largest area of the hindbrain is the cerebellum.  cerebellum: main role was coordinating bodily movements and balance  also plays a diverse set of roles  damage to this organ can cause spatial reasoning, in discriminating sounds, and integrating input received from various sensory systems. 2) Midbrain midbrain: plays an important role in coordinating movements.  this includes skilled, precise movements of our eyes  in the midbrain are circuits that relay auditory information from ears to areas in the forebrain  other structures in the midbrain help to regulate our experience of pain 3) Forebrain forebrain: largest region of the brain cortex: thin covering on the outer surface of the brain  the cortex constitutes 80% of the human brain  consists of a very large sheet of tissue  the wrinkles or convolutions cover the brain's outer surface.  longitudinal fissure: deepest groove (section) of the brain  cerebral hemisphere  other fissures divide the cortex in each hemisphere into four lobes: 1. frontal lobes - front of brain to right behind the forehead  central fissure divides frontal lobes on each side of the brain 2. parietal lobes - brain's top most part 3. temporal lobes 4. occipital lobes Subcortical Structures 1. thalamus - acts as a relay station for nearly all sensory information going to the cortex 2. hypothalamus - plays a crucial role in the control of motivated behaviours (eating, drinking, sexual activity). 3. limbic system - essentially for learning and memory, and for emotional processing. The amygdala, hippocampus is included here Like most part of the brain, subcortical structures come in pairs, and so there is a hippocampus on the left side and right, etc. There is a temporal cortex on the left and
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