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Chapter 2

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Carolyn Ensley

Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition Lecture Outline:  Capgras Syndrome: An initial Example  The Prinicple Structures of the Brain Capgras Syndrome: An initial example  In this chapter, we lay a foundation regarding the brain and methods used to study the brain  We begin with an example of a bizarre syndrome that results from brain damage  Patients with Capgras syndrome are able to recognize family and friends but believe that these people are not who they appear to be, that they are imposters.  One hypothesis about Capgras syndrome is that it stems from two different facial recognition systems in the brain: o A more cognitive system that underlies perceptual recognition is intact o However, a more emotional system that underlies the feeling of familiarity is disrupted   Takes the facial features and associates them with something emotional  An individual with Capgras Syndrome will not feel that emotion attachment to the person in question. o To evaluate this hypothesis, we can also consider evidence from neuroimaging, methods that permit researchers to take high quality, three- dimensional images of the living brain.  The brain damage associated with Capgras syndrome involves the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure that is important for emotional processing. o Hard to be damaged in this area without dying o Can be damaged by a tumor, underdeveloped, a head injury  Another damaged region is the right prefrontal cortex, a region at the front of the brain important for reasoning. o problems of the amygdala can happen separate from the problems with the prefrontal lobe; however, in combination capgras is very common  Hypothesis testing in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience complement each other.  For instance, based on Capgras syndrome, researchers might then hypothesize that the amygdala is important for other aspects of emotional memory: o Remembering emotional events in one’s life  Might have trouble with remembering the emotional events in ones life o Making decisions that rest on emotional evaluations of the options  Have trouble with using emotions in the process of decision making The Principal Structures of the Brain  The simplest fact illustrated by Capras syndrome is that different parts of the brain perform different jobs  Researchers began to realize this in the nineteenth century by studying the cognition and behavior of patients with lesions to the brain.  Phineas Gage was one such famous patient. In 1848, an explosion during the construction of a railway sent a tamping iron through his frontal lobe, resulting in a variety of cognitive emotional changes. o Unable to make emotional connects, was very erratic o Did not however have any problems with Capgras.  The study of people with brain lsions also helps us learn about the functions of these brain regions in healthy people  This approach is referred to as the localization of function o Children who experience some damage are able to localize functions that would be found in the opposite side of the brain when that region is missing where it should be.  Even for seemingly simple cognitive tasks, multiple regions of the brain are involved. o For the identification of people as we know and the emotional aspects of relationships with people  The hindbrain sits directly atop the spinal cord.  damage to this area typically resulted in death in the past o Controls rhythms of the heart and breathing o Regulates levels of alertness o Includes the cerebellum, which coordinates movements and balance, in addition to more recently discovered sensory and cognitive roles  The midbrain sits above the hindbrain. o Coordinates movement, especially eye movement o Includes parts of the auditory pathways o Regulates the experienc
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