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PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.


At 7:00 a.m., in response to hearing the
familiar but irritating sound of his alarm clock,
Juan swings his arm in a well-practiced arc,
feels the contact of his hand with the snooze
button, and in the silence he has created,
turns over for 10 more minutes of sleep.
What is happening inside Juans brain that
makes it possible for him to hear the alarm,
take appropriate action to turn it off, and know
Brain and Cognition that he can sleep a little longer and still get to
his early morning class on time?


Caption: A portion of the brain that has been treated with Golgi stains
shows the shapes of a few neurons. The arrow points to a neurons
cell body. The thin lines are dendrites or axons.

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Ramon y Cajal Ramon y Cajal

Nobel Prize in 1906 Nobel Prize in 1906

Caption: Basic components of the neuron. The one on the left

contains a receptor, which is specialized to receive information from Caption: there are also neurons that pick up information from the
the environment (in this case, pressure that would occur from being environment, such as the neurons in the skin, eye, and ear.
touched on the skin). This neuron synapses on the neuron on the
right, which has a cell body instead of a receptor. The gap synapse

How Neurons Communicate

Measuring action
Action potential potentials
Microelectrodes pick
Neuron receives signal from environment up electrical signal
Information travels down the axon of that Placed near axon
neuron to the dendrites of another neuron
An action potential results only if the
threshold level is reached

Caption: (a) Action potentials are recorded from neurons with tiny microelectrodes that are
positioned inside or right next to the neurons axon. These potentials are displayed on the
screen of an oscilloscope and are also sent to a computer for analysis. (b) An action
potential recorded by a microelectrode looks like this. The inside of the axon becomes
more positive, then goes back to the original level, all within 1 millisecond (1/1,000
second). (c) A number of action potentials displayed on an expanded time scale, so a
single action potential appears as a spike.

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

How Neurons Communicate How Neurons Communicate

Synapse: space between axon of one neuron Neurotransmitters: chemicals that affect the
and dendrite of another electrical signal of the receiving neuron
When the action potential reaches the end of Excitatory:
the axon, synaptic vesicles open and release increases chance neuron will fire
chemical neurotransmitters Inhibitory:
Neurotransmitters cross the synapse and decreases chance neuron will fire
bind with the receiving dendrites If all nerve impulses are basically the same
whether they are caused by seeing a red fire
engine or remembering what you did last week,
how can these impulses stand for different

Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex

Localization of Function Frontal
Reasoning and planning

Specific functions are served by specific Language, thought, memory, motor functioning

areas of the brain Parietal

Touch, temperature, pain, and pressure
Cognitive functioning breaks down in specific Temporal
ways when areas of the brain are damaged
Auditory and perceptual processing
Cerebral cortex (3-mm thick layer that covers Language, hearing, memory, perceiving forms
the brain) contains mechanisms responsible Occipital
for most of our cognitive functions. Visual processing

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Localization of Function: Limbic System Localization of Function: Perception

Hippocampus: forming memories Primary receiving areas for the senses

Amygdala: emotions and emotional memories Occipital lobe: vision
Parietal lobe: touch, temperature, pain
Thalamus: processing information from Temporal lobe: hearing, taste, smell
vision, hearing, and touch senses.
Coordination of information received from all senses
Frontal lobe

Localization of Function: Perception Localization of Function: Perception

Fusiform face area (FFA) responds
specifically to faces Parahippocampal place area (PPA) responds
Temporal lobe specifically to places (indoor/outdoor scenes)
Damage to this area causes prosopagnosia (inability to Temporal lobe
recognize faces. can tell that a face is a face, but cant
recognize whose face it is)
Extrastriate body area (EBA) responds
specifically to pictures of bodies and parts of

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

increased activation occurs

when viewing pictures both Module
of empty rooms and of
rooms that are completely
furnished. Modularity also refers to localization.
So, the fusiform face area, extrastriate body
area, and parahippocampal place area are
modules for perceiving faces, bodies, and
places, respectively.

Caption: (a) The parahippocampal place area is activated by places (top

row) but not by other stimuli (bottom row). (b) The extrastriate body
area is activated by bodies (top), but not by other stimuli (bottom).

Localization of Function: Language Localization of Function: Language

Language production is impaired by damage Original idea: Patients with Brocas aphasia had no
to Brocas area trouble understanding the language, but patients with
Frontal lobe Wernickes aphasia were unable to understand
Language comprehension is impaired by speech and writing.
damage to Wernickes area (1) The apple was eaten by the girl.
Temporal lobe
(2) The boy was pushed by the girl.

Patients with Brocas aphasia

have no trouble understanding
the first sentence, but have
difficulty with the second one.
Caption: Brocas and Wernickes areas were identified in early
research as being specialized for language production and

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Distributed Processing in the Brain

In addition to localization of function, specific

functions are processed by many different areas of
the brain.
Many different areas may contribute to a function.
E.g. Faces strongly activate the FFA, plus other
areas as well.
whether the person is looking at you, how
attractive you think the person is, any emotions
the face may elicit, and your reactions to the
different areas in the brain are activated by each of
these responses to the face.
persons facial expression.

each of the balls Even the perception of a rolling red ball is complicated,
qualitiescolor (red), what about the other cognitive functions, such as
movement (to the memory, language, making decisions, and solving
right), shape (round), problems, all of which involve distributed activity in
depth, locationis the brain.
processed in a
different area of the

Caption: As this person watches the red ball roll by, different
properties of the ball activate different areas of his cortex.
These areas are in separate locations, although there is
communication between them.

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Method: Brain Imaging

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Blood flow increases in areas of the brain
activated by a cognitive task
Radioactive tracer is injected into persons
Measures signal from tracer at each
location of the brain
Higher signals indicate higher levels of Caption: (a) Person in a brain scanner. (b) In this cross section of
brain activity the brain, areas of the brain that are activated are indicated by
the colors. Increases in activation are indicated by red and
yellow, decreases by blue and green

Method: Brain Imaging

Subtraction technique measures brain activity

before and during stimulation presentation
Difference between activation determines
what areas of the brain are active during

Caption: The subtraction technique used to interpret the results of

brain imaging experiments.
control state and then stimulation state

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Method: Event-Related Potential (ERP)

Method: Brain Imaging
Neuron firing is an electrical event
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measure electrical activity on the scalp and
(fMRI) make inferences about underlying brain
Subtraction technique activity
Measures blood flow through magnetic Advantage:
properties of blood continuous and rapid measurements
Advantages: (temporal resolution is good).
no radioactive tracer needed
more accurate & precise Disadvantage:
does not give precise location
(spatial resolution is bad)

Representation in the Brain Three types of stimuli that Hubel and Wiesel (1959, 1965)
found caused neurons in the cat cortex to respond.
Everything we perceive is represented in the Neurons responded to bars with a specific orientation,
brain. to bars with a specific orientation moving in a particular
Hubel & Wiesel (1965) found that each direction, and bars of a particular length moving in a
particular direction. Neurons that responded to these
neuron fired only to a specific type of specific types of stimuli were called feature detectors.
stimulation presented to a small area of the
Feature detectors: neurons that respond best to a specific

PSY405-Hande Kaynak,PhD 28.09.2017

Representation in the Brain

A further step: Neurons

that respond to stimuli
that are more complex
than oriented lines.

Specificity coding Distributed coding

Caption: How faces could be coded by Caption: How faces could be coded by distributed
specificity coding. Each faces coding. Each face causes all the neurons to fire,
causes one specialized neuron to but the pattern of firing is different for each face.
One advantage of this method of coding is that
respond. many faces could be represented by the firing of
the three neurons.

How do things go for memory?

Is there a difference between the neural firing
caused by perception and the neural firing
caused by memory?
Perception: caused by stimulation of the sensory
Memory: caused by firing in structures that contain
information about what happened in the past.
while the firing associated with perception is
associated with what is happening as you are
looking at the tree, firing associated with memory is
associated with information that has been stored in
the brain.