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What is cognition?

it's basically our inner life

perception, attention, memory, language, emotion, planning and consciousness


What is the default network and when is it active?

The default network is the combination of brain regions that are more active during "rest" as opposed to during tasks

it's involved in daydreaming or mind wandering, autobiographical memories, envisioning the future and moral decisions

It contrasts with the "task positive network"


What is the status of the default network in schizophrenia, depression, and autism?

schizophrenia = doesn't turn off properly when the task network is on

depression = default network is way overactive (rumination)

autism = default network is hypoactive


What are the two basic types of association cortex?

unimodal (dealing with only one sensory modality)

multimodal (incorporates multiple modalities)


WHat are the 4 primary sensory areas?

1. motor

2. auditory

3. somatosensoty

4. visual


What's technically the motor association cortex?

the premotor area


What is the general pathway of sensory informaiton flow through the association cortices?

1. primary sensory cortex

2. unimodal association cortex

3. multimodal association cortex

4. premotor cortex

5. motor cortex (to respond)


How many layers of cortex are there?



How does the primary visual cortex (and other sensory cortices) differ cytoarchtecturally from the primary motor cortex?

primary visual cortex - thinner, but layer 4 is much thicker (this is a granular layer - receives info from the thalamus)

primary motor cortex - thicker, but layer 4 is thin and layer 5 is especially thicker (this is the pyramidal layer for output)


What cell type is located throughout the layers of the cortex? What cell type is really only in layer 4?

pyrmidal cells are everywhere

stellate cells are in layer 4


The primary sensory cortices receive input from what? Into what layer?

from the thalamus into layer 4


What 4 areas of the thalamus provide input to the primary sensory cortices?

lateral geniculate - visual info

medial geniculate - auditory info

ventral posterior medial - somatosensory

ventral posterior lateral - somatosensory


Where do the association cortices get input from? To what layer?

From the MULTIMODAL thalamic nuclei, to layer 4


What are the 4 multimodal thalamic nuclei?

1. pulvinar - visual

2. medial dorsal - supeerior colliculus, olfaction, amygdala, ventral pallidum

2. lateral posterior - association cortex, anterior cingulate, retina

4. anterior - hypothalamus, hippocampus, cingulate


What layers receive input from other areas of the cortex (not thalamus)?

Does this differ between the primary and association cortices?

1, 2, 3, and 5

it differs in that the association cortices just get a lot more information than the primary cortices


From what two layers do the sensory and assocition cortices send output to other cortical areas?

2 and 2


Which two layers project out of the primary and association cortices to the thalamus? Which one also provides output to the other subcortical areas like the basal ganlgia, mdibrain, brainstem and spinal cord?

5 and 6

5 is the one that goes to the thalamus and other subcortial areas


Therefore, what layer of the cortex gives you motor function?

layer 5


What layer receives MODULATORY input from the thalamus?

layer 1


Wall cortical layers receive modulatory input from the brain stem with what NTs?

5HT, DA, NE and ACh


How does the function of the parietal association cortex differ based on what hemisphere its in?

nondominant hemisphere = attention, visupspatial localization (where's waldo", spatial relationships

dominant hemisphere = skilled movements, right-left orientation


Specifically, where is the seat of attention based?

in the nondominant posterior parietal cortex (also called the inferolateral parietal cortex)


What is the physiological basis for selective attention found in the posterior parietal?

recordsing in monkey parietal association cortex are only active when they attend to a certain target

this allows selective attention - blocking out stimulus we don't need to pay attention to


What mental disorder has a marked deficiency in selective attention?



What neuropsych test is used to test selective attention?

stroop test


Damage to the nondominant posterior parietal cortex will result in what?

spatial neglect (left-sided neglect)


Damage in the dominant posteiorr parietal cortex will result in what?

motor apraxias


What are some characteristics of spatial neglect?

it's a failure to acknowledge half of the world.

note that it's not an issue of the sensory system or of perception - it's an attention problem

applies to emviornment, patient's own body, and even memory and visualizations


What is the incidence of spatial neglect in right-hemisphere strokes?

nearly 50%!


Damage to what areas of the brain will result in motor apraxias?

anywhere in the motor cortex obviously, but also in the interparietal sulcus


What is a motor apraxia?

it's a loss of ability to perform SKILLED motions when sensory and general motor systems are still intact


Specifically, what is ideomotor apraxia?

apraxia in which the patient can't use gestures (waving goodbye) or tools (fork and knife for examples)


How can you test for ideomotor apraxia, and what is a positive result?

you have the patients pantomime use of imaginary tools, imitate action, or use actual tools

the test is positive if they can't do this, obviously. but also positive if patient uses the hand in place of an imaginary tool - like using hand to brush the teeth instead of using the hand to pretend to use a tool to brush the teeth



What can't a patient do in orofacial apraxia?

They can't make specific facial meovements (usually in stroke near the language areas on the left)


What can't a patient do in ideational apraxia?

they can't sequence actions

so they'll put on their shoes before their socks, etc.

(usuallyf rontal cortex damage - common in dementia)


Where is the temporal association cortex (2 parts) and what does it specialize in?

the superior temporal sulcus - specializes in language and social attention

inferior temporal cortex (deep) - expert recognition


What special neurons are located in the inferior temporal cortex on the left?

it's the fusiform face area with face neurons


Through what kind of encoding do face neurons convey recognition?

it's not thorugh a "grandmother" neuron

it's thorugh population coding - each neuron responds to a particular feature and together they build up a unified image of grandma


Recognition of wat else will occur like it does int he fusiform face area?

any category of highly salient objects - like birds in bird watchers


What do you call a general deficit in recognition?



Damage to what area causes an inability to recognize faces? What is it called?


bilateral lesions of the inferior temporal cortex


What happens in a visual agnosia? Where is the damage?

inability to recognize an oject by SIGHT - you can still recognize them by using other senses

(so they look at a cup and can't name it, they put the cup in their hand and they can name it)

this is from damage to the UNIMODAL visual association cortex


Wha thappens in astereognosia? Where is the damage?

this is an inability to reocgnize an object by touch alone - but they can do so with other senses like vision

(put cup in hand wiht eyes closed and can't name it, open eyes and can name it)

damage to unimodal somatosensory cortex


What happens in ASSOCIATIVE visual agnosia?

you can identify something, but not name it

this is from damage to the posterior parietal cortex

(for example, they can say, it's what you comb your hair with, but they can't say it's a comb)


What happens in finger agnosia? Where ist he damage?

they can't name their fingers!

damge to the angular gyrus of the dominant parietal cortex


What syndrome does finger agnosia often occur in? WHat are the other symptoms?

Gertmann syndrome

finger agnosia



right-left confusion


WHat neuropsych test is useful for testing prefrontal function?

wisconsin card sort


How does the cortex change during the first few years of life?

it starts out with distinct motor, sensory and prefrontal networks that are not yet integrated and a rudimentary default network

rapidly, it will overproduce synaptic density during the first few years

myelination will occur

gray matter will become thicker for the first few years


During the first few years of life, in what direction does the maturation usually go and what does this mean for degeneration?

usually goes form posterior to anterior basically

the last areas to mature are often the first to degenerate


What happens to the brain through maturation after the first few years of life?

1. synapses are pruned down to what's necessary

2. the grey matter becoems thinner - partially due to loss of excess synapses, and also as myelination expands, you just lose grey matter by definition