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Flashcards in lecture 31 Deck (18):

What else does our big brain do?

much of our conscious mental activity relates to abstraction
- analysis - how things work
- calculation and estimation
- planning


How can we break prefrontal cortex down anatomically?

- dorsolateral region
- orbital
- medial

- medial and orbital more associated with social cognition


What is the function of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex?

working memory:
- remembering a phone number
- remembering and applying rules (count backwards from 100 in steps of 7)

memory of the future
- delayed gratification, plans, goals
- temporal structuring of behaviour
- dorsolateral pfc damage: distractability, impulsiveness, perseverative errors


Is language controlled by prefrontal cortex?

- no
- language is the servant of intellect
- auditory cortex
- motor cortex
- wernicke's area
- angular gyrus
- broca's area

all of these are not prefrontal


What is the border between prefrontal and complex motor association areas?

- kind of frontal eye fields


What do we attend to mostly when looking at faces?

- sharp angles of eyes and mouth
- this is where we get a lot of nonverbal communication from


What does prefrontal cortex examine?

- what's important immediately and in the future
- salience of our environment


What are higher order inferences?

- categorisation, multiple regression, principle components (huge numbers of variables, what's actually going on?)
- the meaning of proverbs
- word similiarity, word meaning (definition)
- estimates

- list words beginning with...
- females tend to be better at this sort of thing

- males tend to be better and spatial recognition - are these two shapes the same?


What is the standard stroop task?

- read words - colours, but they are coloured differently

- blue written in green
- red written in brown wtc

- task: 'name the ink colour as fast as possible'

stard result
- incongruent slows compared with congruent condition (because word meaning interferes with colour naming on incongruent trials)

emotional stroop task
- emotion condition vs neutral condition
- anxious participants: emotion condition slowed cf neutral condition
- non-axious participants: no difference
- not necessarily prefrontal test


What is the wisconsin card sort?

- measures the ability to change categorisation strategy
- not told what the rule is - have to figure it out over time
- categorisation rule is changed without telling you
- tests ability of prefrontal cortex to restrategise when the strategy you've been using hasn't been working
- need flexibility to solve problems


What is the Tower of London/Hanoi task?

- first becomes possible between 3 and 6
- BA 10 is strongly activated during this type of task
- this region is most conspicuously enlarged in humans compared to apes
- as is our ability to plan into the future


Has the evolution of advanced social competencies - such as conceptualising the motivations of others - given rise to uniquely human functions?

- no compelling evidence of "theory of mind"
- the capicity of us to know what someone else knows
- not yet seen in other species


How do we think?

- what do we think about - getting what we want, understanding the way things work
- predicition and control
- curiosity is a defining characterstic of complex animals, seen to an extraordinary degree in humans


Why do we think so much? why do we explore? why not just "stay home"?

- control
- often we go beyond what's required
- drive to explore and to explain


What drives exploration and innoviation?

- is it the need to find an advantage in the grim struggle for survival, or is it the bounty of excess?
- in contrast to the commonly held assumption that competition drives innovation, the reverse may be trueL competition produces stasis. Only complacency drives change.
"relaxed selection" prof. terrance deacon
- the metabolically regulated enzyme sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) modulates monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels to link mood and behavoir to energy consumption
- variability in the SIRT1 gene contributes to human susceptibility to anxiety disorders


What is SIRT1?

- the metabolically regulated enzyme sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) modulates monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) levels to link mood and behavoir to energy consumption
- variability in the SIRT1 gene contributes to human susceptibility to anxiety disorders
- Sirt1 improves healthy ageing and protects from metabolic syndrome-associated cancer: nature 2010
- Sirt1 activates MAO-A in the brain to mediate anxiety and exploratory drive: cell 2011
- A novel pathway regulates memory and plasticifty via SIRT1 and miR-134: nature 2010
- "hungry, heaviy preyed-on animals would be best served by being anxious, vigilant, and carefuk, whereas well-fed mice should carelessly radiate and procreate"


What is the purpose and mechanism of thinking?

- understanding, problem solving
- our most influential way of thinking is Science
- science, succeeds in part by humanistic rejection of arbitrary authority, advocacy of personal liberty, and the "rigourous application of common sense"


How do we think?

- empirical methods
- deductive methods
- strategies, re-strategising - in the minds eye
- modelling