Chapter 2 - Cognitive Neuroscience Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 2 - Cognitive Neuroscience Deck (57):
1

cognitive neuroscience

the study of the physiological basis of cognition

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levels of analysis

the idea that a topic can be studied in many different ways. For example, this book on cognitive psychology explains the behavioral and physiological experiments.

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neurons

small units of the brain that create and transmit information about what we experience and know.

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nerve net

a complex pathway for conducting signals uninterrupted through the network.

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neuron doctrine

the idea that individual cells transmit signals in the nervous system, and that these cells are not continuous with other cells. Discovered by Spanish physiologist Ramon y Cajal.

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cell body

the metabolic center of the neuron

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dendrites

branch out from the cell body and receive signals from other neurons.

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axons

long processes that transmit signals to other neurons

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synapse

the gap between the end of a neuron's axon and the dendrite or cell body of another neuron.

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neural circuits

a group of interconnected neurons

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receptors

specialized neural structures that respond to environmental stimuli such as light, mechanical stimulation, or chemical.

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microelectrodes

small wires that are used to record electrical signals from single neurons.

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recording electrode

when used to study neural functioning, a very thin glass or metal probe that can pick up electrical signals from single neurons.

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reference electrode

used with a recording electrode to measure the difference between the two. Reference electrodes are placed where the electrical current remains constant so that any changes can be recorded.

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resting potential

the difference in charge between the inside and outside of a nerve fiber when the fiber is at rest (no other electrical signals are present).

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nerve impulse

an electrical response that is propagated down the length of an axon; also called an action potential.

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action potential

propagated electrical potential responsible for transmitting neural information and for communication between neurons. Action potentials travel down a neuron's axon.

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neurotransmitter

a chemical released at the synapse in response to incoming action potentials.

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principle of neural representation

states that everything a person experiences is based not on a direct contact with stimuli but representations in the person's nervous system.

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retina

the layer of neurons that lines the back of the eye.

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visual cortex

the area at the back of the brain that receives signals from the eye.

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feature detector

neurons that respond to specific stimulus features such as orientation, movement, and length.

Discovered in the 1960s by David Hubel and Thorsten Wiesel.

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hierarchical processing

processing that occurs in a progression from lower to higher areas of the brain.

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sensory code

refers to how neurons represent various characteristics of the environment.

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specificity coding

the idea that an object could be represented by the firing of a specialized neuron that responds only to that object.

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population coding

the representation of an object by the pattern of firing of a large number of neurons.

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sparse coding

when a particular object is represented by a pattern of firing of only a small group of neurons, with the majority of neurons silent.

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localization of function

one of the basic principles of brain organization that states specific functions are served by specific areas of the brain.

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cerebral cortex

a layer of tissue about 3mm thick that covers the brain.

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neuropsychology

the study of the behavior of people with brain damage

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Broca's area

an area of the left frontal lobe that is specialized for speech/language production.

Proposed by Paul Broca in 1861.

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Wernicke's area

an area of the temporal lobe responsible for language comprehension.

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occipital lobe

the lobe at the back of the brain that is devoted primarily to analyzing incoming visual information.

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temporal lobe

lobe on the side of the brain responsible for language, memory, hearing, and vision.

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parietal lobe

lobe at the top of the brain responsible for sensations caused by stimulation of the skin and also some aspects of visual information.

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frontal lobe

lobe at the front of the brain that serves higher functions such as language, thought, memory, and motor functioning.

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prosopagnosia

a condition caused by damage to the temporal lobe that is characterized by an inability to recognize faces.

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double dissociation

occurs if damage to one area of the brain causes function A to be absent while function B is present, and damage to another area causes function B to be absent while function A is present.

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magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

creates images of structures in the brain. A standard technique for detecting tumors and other brain abnormalities.

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functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

a brain imaging technique that measures how blood flow changes in response to cognitive activity.

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brain imaging

makes it possible to determine which areas of the brain are active during cognitive processes.

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voxels

​small cube-shaped areas of the brain about 2 or 3 mm on a side. Voxels are not brain structures but are small units of analysis created by the fMRI.

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fusiform face area (FFA)

an area in the temporal lobe that contains many neurons that respond selectively to faces. The same part of the brain that is damaged in cases of prosopagnosia.

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parahippocampal place area (PPA)

An area in the temporal lobe that contains neurons that are selectively activated by pictures of indoor and outdoor scenes.

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extrastriate body area (EBA)

an area in the temporal cortex that is activated by pictures of bodies and parts of bodies, but not faces or other objects.

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distributed representation

the idea that specific cognitive functions activate many areas of the brain.

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neural network

groups of neurons or structures that are connected together.

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diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)

a technique based on detection of how water diffuses along the length of nerve fibers, for tracing nerve pathways and determining connections

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Camillo Golgi

developed a staining technique in which a thin slice of brain tissue was immersed in a solution of silver nitrate; fewer than 1 % of the cells were stained.

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Ramon y Cajal

a Spanish physiologist who used two techniques, the Golgi stain and a newborn animal brain. A newborn brain is less dense, and the Golgi stain only affects less than 1% of the tissue; these characteristics made it possible for Cajal to discover that the nerve net is not continuous.

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Edgar Adrian

in the 1920s, he was able to record electrical signals from single sensory neurons; awarded the Nobel Prize in 1932. He discovered that each action potential travels all the way down the axon without changing its height or shape.

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David Hubel

alongside Thorsten Wiesel found that each neuron in the visual area of the cortex responded to a specific type of stimulation presented to a small area of the retina.

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Charles Gross

discovered that the neurons in the temporal lobe responded to complex stimuli and neurons in another area of the temporal lobe responded to faces

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Paul Broca

proposed, in 1861, that an area of the left frontal lobe is specialized for speech/language production. This area is now called Broca's area.

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Carl Wernicke

identified, in 1879, an area of the temporal lobe responsible for language comprehension. This area is now called Wernick's area.

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Doris Tsao and coworkers

found that 97% of the neurons within a small area in the lower part of a monkey's temporal lobe responded to pictures of faces but not to pictures of other types of objects.

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Alex Huth and coworkers

were able to determine what kinds of stimuli each voxel responds to using a fMRI and having subjects view film clips of various objects and actions.