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Psy2012 Week 5 of notes

by: Lauren Carstens

Psy2012 Week 5 of notes PSY2012

Marketplace > Florida State University > PSY2012 > Psy2012 Week 5 of notes
Lauren Carstens
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We finished Chapter 3 and began chapter 4 this week. She recommends that we also read the book for these chapters because they are more difficult to comprehend.
Melissa Shepard
Class Notes
Psychology, week 5, chapter 3, chapter 4, brain, sight principles
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This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lauren Carstens on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY2012 at Florida State University taught by Melissa Shepard in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views.


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Date Created: 02/12/16
Psychology Chapter 3: Biological Psychology The Nervous System: Structure & Function  Central Nervous System (CNS) o The brain and spinal cord o Controls mind and behavior  Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) o The sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body o Connected to the PNS o Contains nerves in the body that extend outside of the nervous system  Ex: Sensory Receptors (touch, taste, etc), muscles, glands o Consists of all nerves in the body outside the brain and spinal cord o Two components  Somatic Nervous System  Part of the PNS, interacts with the external environment  Contains nerves that connect the CNS to sensory organs  Sends signals from the sense organs (eyes, ears, tongue, etc.) and skin to the CNS o Smelling and hearing about French fries at a fair  Sends signals from the CNS to the skeletal muscles, directing voluntary movements o Walking over to the stand and swiping your card to buy the fries  Autonomic Nervous System  Regulation of internal environment  Connects the CNS to the smooth involuntary muscles and organs (heart, stomach, liver) and to the body’s hormone-producing glands  Two Components o Sympathetic Nervous System  Triggers “fight or flight response”  Heart and breathing rate increases, pupils dilate, digestion stops (to focus on fighting or fleeing), adrenaline flows, etc o Parasympathetic Nervous System  Returns the body to a stable state of equilibrium after using the sympathetic nervous system  Our body is conserving and maintaining our energy use  Reverses the effects of the Sympathetic Nervous System (Breathing returns to normal, digestion begins again, body calms down after using a lot of energy)  “Rest and Digest” The Brain  Does a larger brain mean a smarter brain? o Human brain vs. Elephant brain (Elephants have a greater capacity for intelligent thought, but aren’t smarter) Localization of Function: The Human Brain  Hindbrain (includes the Medulla and the Pons) o Connects the spinal cord to the brain o Medulla regulates breathing, heart beat and other vital functions o Pons connects the cortex to the cerebellum  Motor coordination  Triggers dreams  Cerebellum o Coordinates voluntary movements and balance o Allows for certain types of associative learning (making connections and realizing things are associated to each other) o Modulation of emotions  Proven with tests on damaged cerebellums  Secondary or tertiary responsibility, not primary o Discrimination of sounds and textures  Thalamus o Sits in top of the brainstem o Brain’s “Sensory Switchboard” o Receives sensory input (except smell) and sends info to specialized regions of the brain  Limbic System o Hypothalamus  Regulates the body’s internal environment (homeostasis)  Regulates the Autonomic Nervous System  Releases certain hormones in the body when necessary to regulate homeostasis  Regulates some emotions (anger & fear) and drives (hunger, thirst and sexuality)  Remember the hypothalamus with the 4 F’s  Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding and sex  If the hypothalamus was damaged, these drives would be almost gone (no drive to eat or fight/flee) o Amygdala  Tied to emotions (aggression and fear)  Important in the formation of emotional memories o Hippocampus  Important functions in storing and retrieving declarative memories  Differentiate between declarative memories (explicit memories) and procedural memories  Declarative memories: Facts and knowledge o Episodic Memory: Memories of experiences and past events o Semantic Memory: Factual information  Procedural Memory: Unconscious memories such as skills  Crucial in spacial memory (physical lay out of environment; mental maps)  Damage to the hippocampus damages your ability to form memories, but does not touch past memories  H.M.  Had hippocampus removed and then was unable to remember new facts and events (Procedural memory was in tact) o Cerebral Cortex  Outermost covering of the brain  Big wrinkly outside of the brain o It’s wrinkled to maximize space to fit neurons and maximize brain power!  80% of brains mass  Divided into 2 hemispheres (left and right)  Hemispheres are connected by the corpus callosum  Each hemisphere is divided into 4 lobes, separated by fissures o Frontal lobe: makes humans unique (personality) by helping us make plans and judgments; helping us speak and helping with muscle movement  Oversees and organizes all other brain functions o Parietal lobe: Registers and processes body sensations  Touch and perception (Reaching, grasping, moving eyes) o Occipital lobe: Contains visual context  Processes visual information  Animals who don’t rely heavily on visual cues have smaller occipital lobes o Temporal lobe: primary sight for hearing, understanding meanings and storing past memories  Processes auditory info and speech Brain-Mapping Methods  There have been many advances recently that allow scientists to better map brain activity  Actively “manipulating the brain” o Electrical stimulation: assume what the person does after the simulation is a function related to the part of the brain that you are simulating o Lesion studies: Surgically destroying parts of the brain to determine the results  Usually done on animals unless a part of the brain is causing tumors and needs to be removed o Electroencephalograph (EEG)  Measures electrical activity via electrodes placed on the skull  Can tell which regions of the brain are active during specific tasks  Ex: If someone has a seizure, they look at what area of the brain caused it  Tells us little about what’s happening inside neurons so we can’t really determine where exactly in the brain the activity is occurring o Brain Scans  Allows us to “see” the brain  CT and MRI scans: allows us to visualize the structure of the brain from person to person o Does not show brain activity  PET scans: Shows changes in brain activity due to stimuli  fMRI studies: use blood oxygenation levels to visualize brain activity over brief time intervals o Magnetic Simulation and recording  Transcranial Magnetic Simulation (TMS)  Applies strong and quickly changing magnetic fields to the surface of the skull that can either enhance or interrupt brain function o Allows causal determination of functioning  Magnetoencephalography (MEG)  Measures tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain  If you interrupt brain function and a certain behavior stops, you know it was that area of the brain needed for that particular function Nature vs. Nurture  Are people’s differences due to genetics or their learning environments? (Why do we act the way we do?)  Is the variability caused by Nature (genes) or Nurture (environment)? o Not just one  They both contribute so the new question is how much do each contribute?  Nature’s Contribution o Genotype: Our genetic makeup that has been transferred by our parents  Some genes are dominant and some are recessive so you can not always outwardly see them o Phenotype: Our set of observable characteristics that do not come from genes (intelligence) o The biology of the brain has a lot to do with emotions and behavior  Our behaviors are more complex than other animals  Ex: If you have high cortisol levels (stress hormone), you will be more likely to experience anxiety  Ex: If you have low serotonin levels, you will be more likely to experience depression  Biology has an influence on psychological disorders  Amygdala is the emotional center of the brain so, when it is dysfunctional, the way you experience and show emotions is effected  Ex: Not experiencing fear or aggression anymore  Nurture’s Contribution o Nurture: concerns how our experience (environment) affects behavior  Ex: Parental or peers  Parents provide our genes, but are also part of our environment  Parenting styles affect self-confidence and social competence  Parents can influence: o Political attitudes o Religious beliefs o Personal manners  Surprisingly, in terms of personality matters, siblings are, on average, as different as two random people even though they share the same home environment  Peers  Learning to interact, cooperate and balance issues of social status among people of the same age  Peers have a bigger influence on food preferences than parents  Nature and Nurture can interact and affect each other Behavioral Genetics  Studies the relative impact of nature and nurture on psychological traits  Estimates heritability (percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes) o Some traits are highly heritable (height) and some are not (political beliefs) o Heritability refers to populations, not any individual person o Does not give any information about fate  Ex: When plants die, they’re all the same height but that has nothing to do with genetics Nature Affects Nurture  Baby’s personalities are referred to as their temperament o Their temperament is affected by their genes, but also environment  How people interact with them can influence how they act in the future  Nurture can affect the brain (our biology) o Study looking at the ratio of the cortex in different rat’s brains  The rats living in an “impoverished environment” had smaller brain cells.  The rats living in an “enriched environment” had larger brain cells. Twin Studies  Identical twins share 100% of their DNA  Fraternal twins share 50% of their DNA o  With twins, we can study how any differences in environment would effect genes  Study done on two sets of twins who are raised in the same environment  While both twins are being raised in the same environment, if the identical twins are more similar than fraternal twins in relation to a specific trait, genes ARE important  Another study done with twins and adoption  Same genes, different environment  If the twins that are not sharing the same environment are less similar regarding a specific trait than the twins that are raised together, environment IS important as well. True or False?  Heredity, not environment, affects IQ scores  False o Our environment affects IQ as well as our genes Psychology Chapter 4: Sensation and Perception What is Sensation?  The basic processes by which sensory organs in the nervous system respond to stimuli in our environment  Detection of physical energy by sense organs, which then send information to the brain  Sensation entails elementary psychological experiences (ex: bitterness of taste, loudness of a sound)  Why should we study sensation? o Psychologists study behavior and mental processes o The initial building blocks of both behavior and mental processes is information we take in through our senses  Our psychological pathways are largely determined from what we get through our senses o Our sense receptors convert (“transduce”) psychical energy into electrical signals within neurons  How sensation happens o Transduction: Our nervous system converts external energies (environmental stimuli) into a language our neurons understand  Done by sensory receptors Perception  Largely a psychological process  The brain’s interpretation of raw sensory inputs about taste, sound, light, etc. o After sensation occurs  Involves integration of outside world (external stimuli) and one’s own inner world (previous knowledge or experience) o Largely dependent on our previous knowledge and personal history o Closely tied to thought and memory  Ex: Loud ringing noise: Sensation “That’s my alarm clock ringing!”: Perception  Ex: Noticing coffee is bitter: Sensation Labeling it as extra bitter and remembering past coffee has tasted less bitter: Perception How we Perceive the World  Our cognitive system actively works to create meaningful patterns o Ex: ‘Infomation’  We naturally fill in the missing ‘r’ o We are constructing our realities  Two Interacting Processes o Bottom-up processes: Sensory detection & encoding; constructing of the whole from its parts  Sense-driven  Focus on object recognition  Lines, angels, shapes, colors, etc.  Look for items/ events that “grab” our attention o Ex: Doing a puzzle without the picture on the box  We construct our reality based on sensory information we receive, not expectations o Top-Down Processes: Conceptually-driven organization & interpretation of information  Thought driven  We are processing through our experiences and expectations  Start with the whole and work down to parts  Focuses on items/ events to which we deliberately:  Actively direct our attention (goal-directed)  Orient our attention  Ex: Using the picture from the box to gather similar puzzle pieces that will make a certain part  Ex: Reading words where the inside letters are all messed up but the first and last letters are in the right spot: You know the words(whole) already, you’re just reading the letters(parts) second Thresholds  Absolute threshold o Minimum stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50% of the time  Minimum intensity needed to detect a stimulus half of the time o One way that psychologists measure perception o Looks at how sensitive our sensory detections are  Ex: Dissolve sugar in water and have participants taste it  The absolute threshold is the minimum sugar needed for half of the participants to taste it  Signal Detection Theory o Predicts how and when we detect the presence of a faint stimulus (signal) amid background stimulation (noise)  Noise is anything that is messy in our environment that could mess with our perceptions (turning up the car radio because the interstate is louder than a normal road)  Not necessarily always sounds  When do you detect stimuli in different environments/ positons? o Researchers are interested in a signal-to-noise ratio o According to this, there is no absolute threshold because the amount needed will differ in different scenarios  Detection depends partly on each person’s experience, expectations, motivation and level of fatigue  Ex: If someone rarely eats sugar, they will detect sugar in water better o How to determine if a signal/stimuli is present or not and whether or not you detect the stimulus  True positives: A stimulus is present and you think it is present.  A smoke alarm goes off when there is a fire.  False positives: A stimulus is absent, but you say it is present.  A smoke alarm goes off when there is not a fire.  True negatives: A stimulus is absent and you say it’s absent.  A smoke alarm does not go off when there is not a fire.  False negatives: A stimulus is present, but you say it is absent.  A smoke alarm does not go off when there is a fire.  Difference Threshold o Minimum difference between two stimuli required for detection 50% of the time  Ex: When can you tell when more sugar is added to tea/the stove is getting hotter/ a light is getting brighter o Measured with the Just Noticeable Difference (JND)  Smallest difference in the strength of a stimuli that we can detect  Our ability to distinguish between a stronger stimulus and a weaker stimulus Weber’s Law  Two stimuli must differ by a constant minimum percentage (rather than a constant amount) in order to be perceived as different o The stronger the original stimulus, the larger the change must be for someone to detect a change from the original stimulus to the added stimulus o If a stimulus is weaker, you don’t need to add as much stimulus in order to detect change  Light, weight and tone each have different constants Sensory Adaptation  Activation of your sense is strongest when a stimulus is first detected o Why you feel blinded when you walk outside after a movie  Sensitivity diminishes as a consequence of constant stimulation o Over time, our eyes adjust to the light; it doesn’t stay too bright forever  Why does sensory adaptation occur? o We free up energies/resources to pay attention to other things o Our nervous system needs to attend to other stimuli  Benefit o Reduced sensitivity to constant sensory information frees us to focus on informative changes in our environment  Perception is linked to what’s likely to be more useful Sensory Interaction  Cross-modal Processing: When one sensory system may affect another o When smell influences taste (when you have a cold) o When visual information influences auditory perception (“McGurk Effect”) Parallel Processing  Simultaneous/ concurrent processing of multiple information streams by the brain  The brain engages in multiple subtasks at the same time o Ex: In visual information processing, we process multiple things at once (color, shape, motion) o Can also refer to using multiple senses at once  Normally done outside of our conscious awareness Perceptual Organization  How do we organize and interpret our sensations so they become meaningful perceptions?  Looks at the effects of missing information and how our sensory processes can deceive us  Perceptual Sets o Occur when our expectations influence our perceptions  Looking at a woman’s face or a man playing a saxophone and then seeing a picture that could be seen both waysYou will probably see what you initially saw in the combined picture first o Context Effects  A given stimulus may trigger different perceptions based on context  Ex: ‘B’ and ‘13’ look the same but are perceived differently based on context  Perceptual Constancies o Perceiving objects as unchanging (having consistent shape, size and color) even as illumination and retinal images change  Even when people are standing closer or farther, you will perceive the same sizes and color o Allows us to flexibly navigate our world and rely on object recognition at the same time o Top-down process o Shape Constancy: We perceive a door as a door whether it appears as a rectangle or a trapezoid o Size Constansty: We percieve objects as the same size no matter how far away they are from us  We see expanding abjects as approaching us and shrinking objects as retreating from us (not an actual change in size o Color Constancy: We percieve items as the same color despite how much lighting is being shown How do we Recognize Something once we Sense It? Perceptual Organization o In order to recognize individual items, you must perceive is as:  Distinct from it’s surroundings  Having a shape or form  Located somewhere in space (ex: distance, motion)  Being constant in size, shape and lightness Gestalt Principles (Gestalt=Form; Gestalten= to fasten or shape in German)  Our brains do more than register information about the world (ex: bottom-up processing)  We perceive objects as whole  Closure Principle o If there are gaps, our mind tends to close them because we perceive that there is a complete object o Perceptually, we tend to see objects as whole even though there are parts missing  Proximity Principle o When there is close proximity with small objects, we are more likely to see them as a unified whole o When they are spread out, we are more likely to see them as discreet objects  Similarity Principle o When there is similarity between objects, we are likely to see them as a whole o When there is dissimilarity, we are more likely to view them as discreet objects  Color  Shading  Shapes  Continuity Principle o We perceive that objects continue and are one shape even when other objects block it and are in front o We perceive objects as whole even if other objects block part of them  Symmetry Principle o It is perceptually pleasing to us to divide objects into an even number of symmetrical parts o We are likely to view symmetrical figures as being combined as a single unit  Figure-Ground Principle o The forefront(focus) of a picture is the figure o Everything in the background (objects, scenery) is the ground o We constantly filter how we attend to sensory information (bistable images)  Both parts of the image could be either the figure or the ground depending on what you are focusing on Perception of Motion  The brain perceives motion by comparing visual frames  A rapid series of slightly varying images create perception of motion o Flip books of stable images  The brain compares images of what is to what was


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