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Chapter 2

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Carolyn Ensley

Class 2, Lecture 3, Chapter 2: The Neural Basis for Cognition Clicker Questions:  The Primary Motor Area of the brain is adjacent to the primary sensory area of the brain The visual system  Vision is the modality through which much of our knowledge is acquired  vision provides an excellent illustration for how the close study of the brain can proceed, and what it can teach us.  The structure of the eye is designed to project a sharp image onto the retina, the light- sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. o For cognition, we are mainly concerned with the retina and the cells that start the cognitive process once light it received.   Two types of photoreceptors, or cells that respond to light, are found on the retina o Rods  Higher sensitivity  Lower acuity  low detail detection, very grainy, not very fine  Colour-blind  Found in periphery of the retina o Cones  Lower sensitivity  Higher acuity  able to perceive detail, much more densely packed.  Colour-sensitive  Found in the fovea  A series of neurons communicates information from the retina to the cortex o In the eye  Photoreceptors  Bipolar Cells  Ganglion cells and the optic nerve (which has direct connection to the visual cortex). o In the thalamus  Lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) o In the cortex  V1, the primary visual projection area, or primary visual cortex, located in the occipital lobe   Visual processing and analysis begins in the retina.  Patterns of lateral inhibition between neighboring cells of the retina leads to edge enhancement.   Lateral Inhibition o Lateral inhibition links o Basically what happens is the cells in the retina transfer activation when a dark patch is next to a bright patch, only occurs when there is light next to dark. o The bright patch gets bright, the dark patch darker  projects a lighter projection experience to the viewer (increasing the activation in lighter areas) and decreases the activation in darker areas  Increases acuity o Much of what we know about the visual system comes from a technique known as single-cell recording. o To understand this technique, we need to learn a few things about neurons. o The basic parts of a neuron are:  Dendrites, which detect incoming signals  The cell body, which contains the nucleus and cellular machinery  The axon, which transmits signals to other neurons o Communication between neurons is done via chemical signals  Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by one neuron to communicate with another neuron.  The space between the two is called a synapse.  Thus, the first neuron is called the presynaptic neuron and the second neuron the postsynaptic neuron. o Communication within neurons is done via electrical signals.  Neurotransmitters affect the post-synaptic neuron by changing ion distributions and resulting electrical potentials.  If the post-synaptic cell reaches threshold, an action potential is fired and propagates down the axon, releasing neurotransmitter that affects the next neuron.  It is the notion of THRESHOLD that is important for our purposes  In order for us to recognize things w
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