Biology and Personality Part One Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Biology and Personality Part One Deck (49):

What is the relationship between the brain and its environment?

The relationship between the brain and its environment works in both directions: biology affects environment and environment (learning, experience, context) changes biology


How is Understanding the brain and behavior connected?

Understanding the brain can help us understand behavior, but understanding behavior can also help us understand the brain


What does the Amygdala do?

Links perceptions and thoughts with memory and emotional meaning


What is the amygdala's role?

Role is assessing whether a stimulus is threatening (possibly if it is rewarding, this is less clear)


The Amygdala: Relevant Traits Include...

anxiety, fearfulness, sociability, sexuality, optimism


What is something the amygdala has relevance to?



Relevant to Motivation Example

Whitman murders at University of Texas in 1966: had a malignant tumor next to the amygdala, which may have caused his motivation to murder his wife, mother, himself, and 14 others without understanding why he wanted to do this


What is the function of the frontal lobe and neocortex?

Higher cognitive functions: abstract reasoning, ethics, hypotheticals


How are emotions sorted in your brain?

Pleasant emotions (left) and unpleasant emotions (right) (sort of—anger seems more of a left FC thing. But complicated because of inhibition, excitation, and processing functions make it difficult to interpret brain activity/behavior relationships. Plus, the right hemisphere in general appears to handle processing of emotional stimul


Which side of the brain is approach and which side is withdrawal?

Approach (left) and withdrawal (right)


Which side of the brain is inhibition of reactions to unpleasant stimuli



What do the The Frontal Lobes and Neocortex do?

Lateral specialization and integration


What is the Somatic marker hypothesis

idea that the bodily (or somatic), emotional component of thought is a necessary part of problem solving and decision making (the prefrontal and especially the orbital cortex important in integrating emotion and cognition— critical to self concept and to problem-solving and decision-making


Give Examples of Social Understanding and Self-Control

Phineas Gage (1848): personality changed in a negative way (fitful, irreverent, impatient, obstinate), less emotional, could not hold a job, made unwise decisions


Someone with brain damage might not be able to...

to understand others’ emotions or regulate own impulses and feelings (disinhibition), unable to make appropriate decisions (compromised judgment and executive functions


What is Negative emotions and cooperativeness

People prone to negative emotions have an especially high level of activity in the prefrontal cortex; People who are cooperative have high activity when interacting with others


What is the Role in Self-enhancement?

when this area was temporarily shut-off, self-descriptions were less positive than in a control condition


Cognition and emotion are...

mutually reliant and defining


What is the capgras syndrome?

belief that loved ones have been replaced, follows injury to right frontal lobe; possible explanation is that people fail to respond emotionally to their loved ones and therefore conclude they must not be the same people


Where is the The Ascending Reticular Activating System

Connected to cerebral cortex and rest of brain


What does The Ascending Reticular Activating System do?

Regulation of balance between arousal and calming by allowing information into the brain
•Believed to be the basis for the distinction between extraversion
and introversion
•Introverts are chronically overaroused (too much information is let in) and extraverts are underaroused (not enough information is let in)


What is some supporting evidence for the Ascending Reticular Activating System?

• extraverts had less activity in three areas of the brain while working on a memorization task
• the lemon juice test: introverts salivated more


What does recent research say about the Ascending Reticular Activating System?

More recent research is contradictory: different parts of the brain can show different levels of arousal (so the ARAS does not control everything)


What is The Anterior Cingulate Cortex important for?

Important for experiencing emotion; helps regulate the amygdala through inhibition (implicated in OCD and PTSD)


What does the anterior cingulate cortex do?

Controlling emotional responses and behavior impulses
•Charles Whitman (tumor interfered with the anterior cingulate-amygdala circuit)


What are possible implications for extraversion and neuroticism:

stronger response to positive and neutral words among extraverts than introverts; more activity among neurotics when a stimuli did not match an expectation (mismatches may trigger negative emotions associated with neuroticism)


What is important to remember about the brain system?

Important to remember that the brain is a system: nearly everything in the brain is connected to everything else
•networks and circuits may be more important than areas or structures


What is the Neural context effect:

it’s important to look at more than one area of the brain to understand complex processes


What is Persistence?

two areas of frontal cortex and part of the striatum


What is the C-System?

involved in effortful reflective thought about self and others: lateral prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, medial temporal lobe, and posterior parietal cortex


What is the X-System?

effortless, reflexive social thought: ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and lateral temporal cortex


What is the Low Road?

Reflexive, X-System


What is the Hight Road?

Reflective, C-Stystem


What are traits associated with the low road?

Impulsive, Spontaneous, faster processing,fast learner, non-thinking, parallel processing,not affected my mental load


What are traits associated with the high road?

intentional, controlled, slower processing, slower learner, thinking, serial processing, affected by mental load


The Hidden Brain is

X-System,Amygdala, Habitual routine behaviors, Reptilian brain structure, Dopamine receptors pleasurable


What is the C-system or System 2

The prefrontal cortex, new information storage and evaluation, neocortical structure, High energy needs, painful


What was the Prefrontal leucotomy (by 1937):

damages small areas of white matter behind each frontal lobe with intention of decreasing pathological levels of agitation and emotional arousal


What is the prefrontal lobotomy

remove or destroy whole sectors of the frontal lobes


What are some facts/lessons of psychosurgery

Observations of patients consistent with brain damage
•Very popular (despite high mortality rates) from the ‘30s up to the early ‘50s (replaced with use of neuroleptic medications)


What is a research method for studying the brain?

imaging techniques


Difficulties with imaging techniques include

The radiator analogy •May indicate inhibitory activity •All parts of the brain are always active to some degree
• Blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) imaging signals and
perfusion imaging
•Brain activity in response to a stimulus does not mean the same psychological process occurs every time that area is active


Additional difficulties with imaging techniques include

Most researchers only look at small areas
•Difficult to detect the neural context effect
•The technology is difficult to use and theory not always “up to” interpreting results.



– connected to just about everything else; secretes several hormones



– important role in emotion (this is discussed more later)



important in processing memories



outer layer of the brain



– outermost layer of the cortex – most distinctive part of the human brain


Frontal cortex

large size; crucial for uniquely human aspects of cognition such as planning ahead, anticipating consequences, and emotional experience