Psychology Notes

Psychology Notes - Psychology Notes: Chapter 4: The Brain...

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Psychology Notes: Chapter 4: The Brain and Consciousness Phrenology: early method of assessing personality traits and mental abilities by measuring bumps on the skull – developed by Franz Gall and Johann Spurzheim Criticised by Pierre Flourens: believed the brain functions as a single unit - Karl Lashley: specific brain regions were involved in motor control and sensory experiences (theory called equipotential) - Paul Broca: first strong evidence the brain contains specialized functions – discovery that the left frontal region related to language Broca’s area: the left frontal region of the brain that is crucial to the production of language Basic brain structures and functions: - Brain is a collection of interacting neuronal circuits - Has become specialized through adaptation Spinal cord: part of the central nervous system, a robe of neural tissue that runs inside the hollows of the vertebrae from just above the pelvis and into the base of the skull - Segmented, each segment marked with a pair of spinal nerves, emerging from the side of the cord which communicate information with the rest of the body - Composed of two distinct tissues: o Gray matter: segment of the spinal cord that is dominated by the cell bodies of neurons o White matter: segment of the spinal cord that consists mostly of axons and the fatty sheaths that surround them Gray and white matter are clearly distinguishable throughout the brain as well - Spinal cord relays information from the body to the brain - Also the spinal reflex: conversion of sensation into action by neurons and connections between them o Muscles have stretch receptors inside them to sense changes in length o These are the dendritic tips of receptor neurons in the spinal cord o Muscles neuron stretches and causes connected neurons to fire o Receptor neuron’s axons enter spinal cord, transmit signal, which contracts the muscle Brainstem: section of the bottom of the brain that houses the most basic programs of survival, such as breathing, swallowing, urination, vomiting and orgasm - The top of the spinal cord, which has thickened and become more complex - Performs functions for the head as the spinal cord does for the body - Has nerves that connect it to the skin and muscles of the head – also ears, eyes - Reticular formation: large network of neural tissues within the brainstem involved in behavioural arousal and sleep-wake cycles Cerebellum: large convoluted protuberance at the back of the brainstem that is essential for coordinated movement and balance - Important for proper motor functions - Damage to nodes: head tilting, balance problems, loss of smooth compensation of eye position for movement of head
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- Damage to ridge: problems walking - Damage to lobes: loss of limb coordination - Operates unconsciously and independently from the rest of the nervous system - Also involved in planning, memory, language use, emotions, empathy - Ataxia: clumsiness and loss of coordination experienced by people with cerebellum disorders
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course PSYC 100 taught by Professor Richard during the Fall '08 term at McGill.

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Psychology Notes - Psychology Notes: Chapter 4: The Brain...

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