Lecture 2: Cognitivism & Neuroscience Flashcards Preview

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What is the meaning of cognition as a property of people?

Knowledge or the process through which it is obtained.


What is cognitive psychology?

As a meta - theoretical approach to psychology in general. A concern with exploring analogies or similarities between humans and computing devices.


Who is Ulric Neisser's?

The birth of cognitive psychology is often placed on him and his book in 1967.
He stated that cognitive refers to the processes by which sensory information is transformed reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered before it appears in consciousness.


How is sensory input transformed?

light energy is converted into chemical signals transmitted along the eptic nerve.
Fluctuating patterns of pressure are converted into chemical signals transmitted along the vestibulocochlear.


What was Neisser influenced by?

Neisser's work was heavily influenced by Bartlett.
Bartlett proposed that our memories are not literal copies of events but reconstructions.


What are cognitive structures?

The non specific but organised representation of prior experiences. e.g. our feel for driving.


What are the benefits of cognitivism?

* Did not deny the mind like some behaviourists did.
* Emphasised the active, rather than the passive nature of cognition. E.g.McGurk & Macdonald (1976) effect: what we hear may not be what we should be actually hearing.We hear from an impression of our brains.
* Cognitive models focus on the function rather than the structure.
* We should be able to use computers to model human mental processes because computers can be programmed to do complex things.


What is a functioning role in cognition?

When the mental state is described purely in terms of its function than its physical place in the brain. Then we do not need to understand the specific neurological layout of a particular individual's brain in order to study mental states.


What are the limitations of cognition?

* Computers intelligence is inhuman: it does not grow,has no emotional basis and is shallowly motivated.
* It does not do justice to the complexity of human mental processes or take that all humans are different into consideration.
* Artificially intelligent programmes tend to be single minded, undistractable and unemotional.
* its a reductionist theory.
* Largely ignores behaviour and focuses on internal processes.
* Minimizes importance of the environment.
* A dualist theory - how does the software (programme) control or understand the hardware (body).


What is the Neuroscience approach?

* Measure the inner workings of the computer that the programme is running on.
* The mind is not as easy to work on as a computer. You can't open it up and tamper with the components.


What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

Uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.


What is Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI)?

Measures changes in the magnetic fields as blood becomes deoxygenated at particular sites in the brain.


What is Diffusing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DMRI)?

Allows the mapping of the diffusion process of molecules in biological tissues.
Visualise anatomical connections between different parts.


What is Magnetoencephalography (MEG)?

Record micro magnetic changes caused by the brain electrical activity.


What is Electroencephalography (EEG)?

Record electrical activity of the brain along the scalp.


What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

Apply a pulsating magnetic field to the skull over the area where you think the activity of interest occurs.
Temporarily disrupts the functioning of a particular area of the brain.


What is the localisation hypothesis?

It is possible to find areas of the brain that control specific cognitive functions (memory, perception, thinking, reasoning, problem solving).
Associated with evolutionary psychology.


What is Phrenology/ Cranioscopy?

* Proposed the idea that one could examine bumps on a person's head and obtain some valid measure of their personality and mental state.
* Although totally discredited the ideas are still popular.


What was lesion case study 1?

Phineas Gage was a patient with damage to a specific areas of the brain the prefrontal cortical lobes.
After an accident he was no longer able to plan ahead, pay attention, behaviour become more impulsive.


What was lesion case study 2?

*Broca's area discovered by Paul Broca.
One of his patients could understand speech but was unable to speak.
The speech defect caused by damage to Broca's area.
*Wernicke's area discovered by Carl Wernicke in 1874.
People who suffer from neurophysiological damage to this area are unable to understand the content of words while listening, and unable to produce meaningful sentences.


What was the HM Neurosurgery Study?

Suffered epileptic seizures - had a surgical procedure which involved the bilateral removal if parts if his limbic system.
Post - surgery, he was unable to lay down ant new memories but could learn new motor skills - mirror drawing.
Researchers argued that this was evidence memories and skills are located in different parts of the brain - and in the case of HM only one had been impaired by the surgery.


What is Localising fear?

Separate components of the amygdala are activated by things that have no relation to fear,
*natural and happy faces
*Erotic scenes
*Minor musical chords.
There is more than one fear state. e.g. unrealistic fears or realistic fears.
Fear is modulated by other processes
*Mental set
Therefore, it is not reasonable to argue that any emotion could be localised in a single place, or mediated by only one circuit.


What individual differences are there in brain structure?

Although almost universal agreement that the brain is not homogenous. it is also clear that brain regions are not clearly demarcated.
Areas of the brain gradually fade into one another and therefore overlap.


What is distributed processing?

The simplest sensory or motor cognitive function involves large and widely distributed areas of the brain.
If processing is distributed across different regions then a lesion in any one of those regions could cause deficit in performance.
That brain region may be necessary but not sufficient for that particular cognitive process.


Can the brain recover from damage?

After a stroke for example, patients may lose some cognitive functions.
However sometimes other areas of the brain start to compensate for this - either in the same area in the opposite hemisphere or the area next to the damaged region.