Final Sp 10 (1) - Amy Parks & Heather Baker-Carr Professor...

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Professor DePue – Final Spring 2010 1. What are the different neural representations that make up the “self”, that help us discriminate ourselves from others? Some of these representations may be nonemotional, but emotional representations will be very impactful on defining our self. In light of the current questions posed, it is necessary to identify the “self” which allows us to distinguish ourselves from others. Joseph LeDoux provides a framework for understanding the “self” suggesting that individuals generate a coherent story or a self-concept (pg. 33, The Emotional Brain, 1996). The self-concept utilizes our consciousness to tie together a complete narrative of our life, which is often based on behaviors that we are not consciously aware of. The behaviors are produced by the brain systems that operate below the level of conscious awareness (unconscious). The conscious bases explanations for our behaviors on our self-image, past memories, future expectations, the current social situations and the physical environment. In order for a person to experience an event and allow it to be recognized as part of our conscious, they must be able to distinguish between a mental representation for the event and the mental representation of the “self” as an observer (or agent) (LeDoux, pg. 279). This conscious awareness of the “self” as separate from the event and subsequently as a separate entity from others, the working memory stores the mental representations (of the event and of the “self” as an agent) as episodic representations. Episodic representations become an integrated part of the working memory. Working memory is a crucial part of the brain system that serves as a “limited-capacity serial processor” for the creation and manipulation of symbolic mental representations. It should be noted that the consciousness seems to process things serially, or one at a time (more or less), whereas the unconscious mind seems to work in parallel (more or less, due to the many different system that regulate the unconscious. Higher-level thinking and reasoning are possible due to working memory (LeDoux, pg. 272). In order to perform for the brain to perform a wide range of
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This note was uploaded on 10/06/2010 for the course HD 3660 taught by Professor Depue,r. during the Spring '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Final Sp 10 (1) - Amy Parks & Heather Baker-Carr Professor...

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