Chapter 14 I - Chapter 14: Cognitive Functions...

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Chapter 14: Cognitive Functions
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Lateralization of Function • Lateralization of function refers to the idea that each hemisphere of the brain is specialized for different functions. • Each hemispheres is generally connected to the contralateral (opposite) side of the body. – Example: skin receptors and muscles on the right side of the body are connected to the left hemisphere – Each hemisphere processes visual information from the opposite side of the world.
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Lateralization of Function • The left and right hemisphere exchange information primarily through a set of axons called the corpus callosum. • Other areas that exchange information include: – The anterior commissure. – The hippocampal commissure. – A few other small commissures. • Information crosses to the other hemisphere with only a brief delay.
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Lateralization of Function • The two hemispheres are not mirror images of each other. • Division of labor between the two hemispheres is known as lateralization . – In most humans the left side is specialized for language. • The corpus callosum allows each hemisphere of the brain access to information from both sides.
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Lateralization of Function • Each hemisphere of the brain gets input from the opposite half of the visual world. • The visual field is what is visible at any moment. • Light from the right half of the visual field shines into the left half of both retinas. • Light from the left visual field shines onto the right half of both retinas.
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Lateralization of Function • The left half of each retina connects to the left hemisphere. • The right half of each retina connects to the right hemisphere. • Half of the axons from each eye cross to the opposite side of the brain at the optic chiasm . • The auditory system is arranged differently in that each ear sends the information to both sides of the brain.
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Lateralization of Function • Damage to the corpus callosum interferes with the exchange of information between hemispheres. • Epilepsy is a condition characterized by repeated episodes of excessive synchronized neural activity. – Mainly due to decreased release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. • Physicians once cut the corpus callosum to prevent the seizure from spreading to the opposite side of the body.
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Lateralization of Function • People who have undergone surgery to the corpus callosum are referred to as split-brain people . • Spit brain people maintain normal intellect and motivation but they tend to: – Use hands independently in a way others cannot. – Respond differently to stimuli presented to only one side of the body.
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Lateralization of Function • Sperry (1974) revealed subtle behavioral differences for spilt brain people. • Because the left side of the brain is dominant
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Chapter 14 I - Chapter 14: Cognitive Functions...

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