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Guy Proulx (13)

1. The Development of Neuropsychology.pdf

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PSYC 3530
Guy Proulx

1. The Development of Neuropsychology Saturday, September 7, 2011:20 PM The Brain Hypothesis • Neuropsychology-- the study of the relation between behavior and brain function • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)-- a wound to the brain that results from a blow to the head • Memory and attention are abilities that are required for effectively dealing with everyday problem solving, a mental skill referred to as executive function • Neuropsychology is strongly influenced by two traditional foci of experimental and theoretical investigations into brain func tion: ○ The brain hypothesis, the idea that the brain is the source of behavior ○ The neuron hypothesis, the idea that the unit of brain structure and function is the neuron, or nerve cell • Brain is an Old English word for the tissue found within the skull • The basic plan of the brain is that of a tube filled with salty fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that cushions the brain and may play a role in removing metabolic waste • Cerebral cortex-- The most conspicuous outer feature of the brain composed of crinkled tissue that has expanded from the front of the tube to such an extent that it folds over and covers much of the rest of the brain • The folds of the cortex are called gyri, and the creases between them are called sulci • • Some large sulci are called fissures, such as the longitudinal fissure that divides the two hemispheres and the lateral fissure that divides each hemisphere into halves • The brain’s hemispheres are connected by pathways called commissures, the largest of which is the corpus callosum Textbook Notes Page 1 • • The cerebral cortex constitutes most of the forebrain, so named because it develops from the front part of the tube that makes up an embryo’s primitive brain • The remaining “tube” underlying the cortex is referred to as the brainstem • The brainstem is in turn connected to the spinal cord, which descends down the back in the vertebral column • Neuropsychologists commonly refer to functions performed in the forebrain as higher functions because they include thinking, perception, and planning • The regulatory and movement-producing functions of the brainstem and spinal cord are thus sometimes referred to as lower-level functions • • Tissue in the CNS does not regenerate, whereas tissue in the PNS does • The brain and spinal cord are protected by bones (the skull and vertebrae) • Organized into sensory pathways, collections of fibers carry messages for specific sensory systems, such as hearing, vision, and touch • Sensory pathways carry information collected on one side of the body mainly to the cortex in the opposite hemisphere by means of a subdivision of the PNS called the somatic nervous system (SNS) • Motor pathways are the groups of nerve fibers that connect the brain and spinal cord to the body’s muscles through the SNS • The pathways that control organs are a subdivision of the PNS called the autonomic nervous system (ANS) • Cardiac hypothesis-- that mental processes occur in the heart • The Greek philosopher Aristotle (348–322 B.C.) was the first person to develop a formal theory of behavior ○ He proposed that a nonmaterial psyche was responsible for human thoughts, perceptions, and emotions and for such processes as imagination, opinion, desire, pleasure, pain, memory, and reason • The philosophical position that a person’s mind is responsible for behavior is called mentalism, meaning "of the mind" Descartes proposed that the body is material and thus clearly has spatial extent, and it responds mechanically and reflexively to Textbook Notes Page 2 • Descartes proposed that the body is material and thus clearly has spatial extent, and it responds mechanically and reflexively to events that impinge on it • Described as nonmaterial and without spatial extent, the mind, as Descartes saw it, was different from the body • Descartes located the site of action of the mind in the pineal body, a small structure high in the brainstem ○ Today, the pineal body, now known as the pineal gland, is thought to take part in controlling biorhythms • The position that mind and body are separate but can interact is called dualism, to indicate that behavior is caused by two things ○ Descartes’s dualism originated what came to be known as the mind–body problem: for Descartes, a person is capable of being conscious and rational only because of having a mind, but how can a nonmaterial mind produce movements in a material body? • Other philosophers called monists avoid the mind–body problem by postulating that the mind and body are simply a unitary whole • Descartes also proposed that animals do not have minds and so are only machinelike • The key indications of the presence of a mind are the use of language and reason • By the middle of the nineteenth century, another theory of the brain and behavior was taking shape: the modern perspective of materialism, the idea that rational behavior can be fully explained by the working of the nervous system without any need to refer to a nonmaterial mind • In Darwin’s terms, all living things are said to have common descent-- all organisms, both living and extinct, are descended from some unknown ancestor that lived in the remote past Experimental Approaches to Brain Function • The first general theory to present the idea that different parts of the brain have different functions was developed by German anatomist Franz Josef Gall (1758–1828) and his partner Johann Casper Spurzheim (1776–1832) • Spurzheim called the study of the relation between the skull’s surface features and a person’s faculties phrenology • Cranioscopy-- a device was placed around the skull to measure the bumps and depressions • As a result of his studies, Broca located speech in the third convolution (gyrus) of the frontal lobe on the left side of the brain ○ In recognition of Broca’s contribution, the anterior speech region of the brain is called Broca’s area, and the syndrome that results from its damage is called Broca’s aphasia • Functions could be localized to a side of the brain, a property that is referred to as latera
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