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John Jay College. Psy 200: Intro to congnitive psychology Prof. Williams

Cognitive Neuroscience

Field of study that links the brain and other aspects of the nervous system to cognitive processing and observable behavior.

the interdisciplinary study of brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language.

The Brain

Organ in our bodies that most directly controls our thoughts, emotions and motivations

Nervous System

Basis for our ability to perceive, adapt to, to interact with the world around us.

Postmortem Studies

Look for people with brain damage while still alive and document their behavior. After death, examie brain for lesions areas with tissue damage.

MRI ( magnetic resonance imaging)

provides still image revealing the structure of the brain. Computer produces 3-D image of brain.

PET (positron emission tomography)

To track glucose comsumption, mildy radiosactive glucose substance is injected into person

EEG ( elctroencephalogram)

Recording of the electrical frequencies and intensities of the brain. Can be used to study sleep and awake states. EEG waves are averaged over a large number of trails (Ex. 100) to obtain and event-related potential (ERP). Information not well localized/specified but is good measure of change in the brain.

Metabolic Imaging

Changes in brain take place as a result of increased glucose and oxygen consumption in the brain. Can pinpoint localized activity during a given task

fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging)

Based on oxygen consumption. Placed in a MRI machine (magnetic field produces changes in oxygen atoms). More active brain areas=more oxygen. Less invasive then PET, but costly machine.

Anatomy of Brain

Brain is divided into 3 major parts. Forebrain, Midbrain, Hindbrain.

Cerebral cortex

outer layer of hemispheres. the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center

Basal ganglia

motor funtion (associated with damage in parkinson's disease) Large clusters of neurons, located above the thalamus and under the cerebral cortex, that work with the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex to control and coordinate voluntary movements.

Limbic system

Emotions, motivation, memory, learning. 3 interconnected structures.


Plays a role in emotion, anger and aggression


Plays a role in anger and fear.


Memory function, in particular formation of new memories rather then retaining old memories also important in spatial memory. * Koraskoff's syndrome- deteriorations of hippocampus


Survival instincts (fighting, fleeing, eating mating); controls endocrine system; role in controlling consciousness.


Relays incoming sensory information to appropriate cortex area; consists of many nuclei


Controlas eyes movement, hearing, consciousness, attention, coordination.

Reticular Activating System (RAS)

Regulation of consciousness (sleep, wakefulness, aroudal, attention)

Brain Stem

Connects forebrain to spinal cord
Brain stem= hypothalamus, thalamus, midbrain, hindbrain


the posterior portion of the brain including cerebellum and brainstem

Medulla Oblongate

Controls heart activity, breathing, and sweating. Point of fiber crossover from body to brain (where spinal cord enters skull and joins brain)


Relay station contains neurral fibers that pass signals form one part of brain to the other.


Controls body coordination and balance. situated above the medulla oblongata and beneath the cerebrum in humans

Cerebral Cortex

Part of forebrain. Enables us to think, plan, coordinate thoughts and actions, use language (makes us human)

Lobes of the Brain

4 lobes divid the 2 cerebral hemispheres. 1. Fontal 2. Parietal 3. Temporal 4. Occipital


Right and left hemisphere.

Contralateral control

Opposite side. Motor information from left hemisphere directs motor responese to right side of body.

Ispilateral control

Same side. Odor to right nostril goes primarily to right side of brain.

Corpus Callosum

Dense area of neural fibers connecting two hemispheres to each other, allows for communication.


Loss of speech production.

Right Hemisphere

This half of the brain specializes in perception of physical environment, art, nonverbal communication, music & spiritual aspects. It receives information from and controls the opposite side of the body.

Left Hemisphere

This half of the brain generally specializes in analysis, calculation, problem solving, verbal communication, interpretation, language, reading & writing. It receives info and controls opposite of the body.


a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them. results in the loss of communication between the 2 hemispheres.

Frontal Lobe

Higher thought process, such as abstract reasoning.

Parietral Lobe

Somatosensory processing (touch, pain ,tempertuare, limb position)

Temporal Lobe

Auditory processing

Occipital Lobe

Visual processing

Optic Chiasma

the crossing of the optic nerves from the two eyes at the base of the brain

Primary Motor Cortex

In frontal lobe. Planning, control, and execution of movement (contralaterally)

Primary Somatosensory Cortex

In parietal lobe. Receives info about pressure, texture, temp, and pain

Vasular Disorder

Caused by stroke. Blood flow to brain is suddenly disrupted. Results in loss in cognitive functioning.

Brain Tumor

a.k.a. Neoplasms. Can occur in white or grey matter. Benign or Malignant


not dangerous to health


dangerous to health

Head Injury

Closed-head skull remains intact. Open-head skull penetrated. Loss o consciousness= Possible damage to brain.

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