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General Psychology, Week 3 notes

by: Ali Friedman

General Psychology, Week 3 notes

Marketplace > Georgetown University > Psychlogy > > General Psychology Week 3 notes
Ali Friedman


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Notes on lectures from the 3rd week (on 1/26 and 1/28)
General Psychology
Class Notes
psych, notes, brain, Psychology, sensation, cortex, Vision
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ali Friedman on Saturday February 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at Georgetown University taught by in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see General Psychology in Psychlogy at Georgetown University.


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Date Created: 02/06/16
Week of 1/26: Lectures on the Human Brain and Sensation Lecture #3 on 1/26: The Human Brain I. What’s Special About the Human Brain?  Intelligence: humans have big (smarter) brains than all other species o Few key regions that are big, like the cortex, which folds a lot (leads more surface area); allows for a lot more power/flexibility  Vision: big part of our brain= devoted to vision; sense we are most reliant on  Sociality: humans rely on strength in numbers for our survival since as a species we are weak/slower than others  Language: no other species have as complex a language as we do  Symbolism: idea that sounds/marks on a page stand for concepts  Planning & control: our executive powers II. Navigating the Human Brain  4 major sections of the cortex: frontal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe, & parietal lobe  Lower down you are in brain, the more essential a purpose the functions of that area serves o Top= called superior or dorsal o Lower down= called inferior or ventral o Front side of axis (further left on profile view)= anterior or rostral  Output comes out the front (movement, complex cognition that brain produces) o Back side= posterior or caudal  Input o Middle part of brain= medial o Things towards sides of the brain= lateral  Function that= lateralized is specific to one side or other III. Regions of the Cortex  Cortex= modular; different parts do diff things  Frontal lobe: planning/self control, emotion regulation, speech o Takes up almost half the cortex (executive suite) o Motor strip= furthest back in frontal lobe  Temporal lobe: being able to use/understand language, hearing, complex visual processing o For most right handed people language is processed in left temporal lobe o Damage Wernicke’s Aphasia: contentless speech o Broca’s area= ability to produce/output language  Broca’s aphasia= grammar free speech; very hard for them to get words out  Parietal lobe: symbolic processing, body sensations (where things are in space relative to your body) o Sensory strip= the most anterior section of parietal lobe o Damage to this part can cause dyscalculia (inability to estimate or do math)  Occipital lobe: solely devoted to vision o Might experience blindsight (selective blindness) if occipital lobe is damaged  Allows you to see a little bit even though you’re totally blind IV. Modularity of the Cortex Caveats to Modularity  Language requires coordination of several diff languages  Everywhere in brain is connected to pretty much everything else o Rare to have just 1 part that performs task alone o Especially for sociality & intelligence  Neuroplasticity: changes that occur in the brain as result of experience o Activity can move to different location in the brain, especially as result of brain damage Conflicts Between Modules  Capgras syndrome: disassociation b/w temporal cortex and recognition; you recognize people’s faces without any sense of recognition o Assume that face you see= some sort of imposter in the mirror  Automatic vs. controlled processes o Automatic don’t require any executive functions bc= well learned o But sometimes when you use exec functions to overthink, it becomes more difficult o Ex: well learned process: reading, playing piano V. Laterality  =Final caveat to modularity; diff b/w left & right o 2 halves= connected by corpus colossum; we don’t notice the diff halves of the brain working bc they work together  Left: sensory processing & motor control of contralateral side of your body, linguistic analysis  Right: sensory processing & motor control of contralateral side of body, nonverbal analysis (has no language) o Person w severed corpus colossum: if they see a bike on the left, since right side doesn’t have language person says they didn’t see anything o Can’t name what he’s seeing until his right brain draws it (split brain) Key Ideas  Neural activity represents world we live in  Function= localized and lateralized, but not strictly or simply  Brain= like an archaeological site  Brain systems can operate independently and be at odds with each other Lecture #4 on 1/28: Sensation ~1 of the topics in psych we actually know pretty well I. Vision  Sensation: the registration of an object or event triggered by the stimulation of a sensory organ (like your eyes) o =The process by which important changes in world create changes in state of the brain  Fact that light travels in waves= essential o We get info based on amplitude (how much light there is) & the wavelength (what kind of light we’re looking at; its color) o When we see something that’s white it’s bc it’s a combination of the whole visible light spectrum  We can’t see as many waves of light as some species o Blue/indigo wave lengths are 300 nm shorter than red ones  30% of neurons in our brain= devoted to vision  Light is almost instantaneous whereas it takes a while for smell to travel o Light travels through reliable medium of space (not air)  Humans are dependent on light due to our Savannah environment o We are bipedal, so we don’t care about smell as much (not close to the ground)  McGurk effect: when info coming from 2 diff senses is contradictory, brain trusts one’s sight  Transduction: process by which physical information is converted electrical signals in the nervous system o Transforming the info carried by light and sound o Light enters through pupil retina that performs the transduction (through various rods and cones) o Cones detect color & only work in bright light; =the densest o Rods are good at detecting stuff in dim light (rods= in your periphery) o Images going into eye are flipped backwards & upside down; transmitted by optic nerve back your brain, creating a sensation o Parallel processing: different sets of cells determine color vs. shape vs. location at the same time  Feature integration: somehow all this info= bound back together again to create coherent image even though processed separately  Perception: the interpretation of sensory input in order to form a mental representation of the event o When changes in brain give rise to experience of reality II. Psychophysics  Psychophysics: involves measuring how effectively observers represent sensory events of varying intensities  1 job of sensory system is to determine what’s important to pick up on  Absolute thresholds: the minimal intensity needed to just barely detect a stimulus (“just noticeable difference”) o Thresholds vary across individuals and across sensory qualities & CONTEXT** o Hearing: clock’s tick from 20 ft in a quiet room o Vision: candle flame 30 miles away on clear, dark night III. Signal Detection  Signal detection theory: holds that the response to a stimulus depends on a person’s sensitivity to the stimulus in the presence of noise; concept= formalized by Weber’s law o Just noticeable difference divided by initial stimulus intensity= C (constant) o Also requires measuring the number of false alarms to detect true sensitivity  Pareidolia: tendency to see false alarms since we’d rather have false alarms than not be prepared in face of danger IV. Change Detection  Change detection requires sufficient change in stimulus quality o Inattentional blindness: image changes so slowly so no change insignificant enough to be detected  Sensory adaptation: a change in neural responding to a stimulus that stays the same o Ex: adjusting to a bright light in a dark room; really due to your brain adjusting to the change V. Empiricism Vs. Nativism  Epistemology: the philosophical theory of knowledge; “how we know what we know”  Locke had realism/empiricism theory: we are directly and accurately perceiving reality o This was proven false o Mind maps the world in 2 dimensions, but we perceive it in 3  Kant’s nativism: conception without perception is empty; perception without conception is blind o Replaced Locke’s theory o Dress was blue and black or white and gold??  Distal senses: vision, hearing, smell o Used to sense things from a distance away; need 2 apparatuses to better gauge how far away something is  Proximal senses: touch, taste, proprioception, & interoception o Proprioception: sensory information from the joints, tendons, & muscles; where you’re body is in space/how diff parts work together o Interoception: sensory information about internal body states like pain and hunger Key Ideas  Sensation =what world brings to you, perception is what you bring to the world  Detection of info requires both sensitivity and setting an appropriate threshold  Brain= a change detector  Your senses bring in distal info, proximal info, and internal info via transduction


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