BulletPointsummary per chapter with the 1st edition of Brain & Cognition by Lubbe - Chapter


What is biopsychology and what does the biopsychological approach entail? - BulletPoints 1

  • Lester and Gorzalka took a creative approach in their research on the Coolidge effect in female rats.
  • Biopsychological research is based on (1) the experimental method, (2) converging operations and (3) scientific inference.
  • Critical thinking is essential in identifying weaknesses in biopsychological claims. We should replace invaled ideas with creative new interpretations.
  • Cinical implications often emerge from neuropsychological, psychopharmacological and psychophyisiological research. The evolutionary perspective is associated with comparative psychology.

How do the evolutionary perspective, genetics and experience help us study the biology of behavior? - BulletPoints 2

  • The evolutionary perspective was introduced by comparative research on social dominance, courtship displays and mate bonding.
  • The clinical implications of the discovery of phenylketonuria (PKU) was explained.
  • Neuroplasticity was an important theme in the study towards the development of the parts of the brain of male birds associated with birdsong, that occurs prior to each breeding season.
  • This chapter was also about thinking creatively about the biology of behavior, of which the Human Genome Project, the field of epigenetics, the genetics of human psychological differences and the meaning of heritability are good examples. 

What does the anatomy of the nervous system look like? - BulletPoints 3

  • This chapter concerned fundamental knowledge of the neuroanatomy of vertebrates and serves the foundation of discussions of brain function in later chapters.
  • The importance of the cranial nerves in neurological diagnosis, the role of blockage of cerebral aquaducts in hydroephalus and the involvement of damage to the pathway from the substantia nigra to the striatum in Parkinson's disease are examples of clinical implications.
  • The evolutionary perspective became evident in the discussion of the neocortex.
  • Axonal regeneration is an example of neuroplasticity.

How are neurons able to send and receive signals? - BulletPoints 4

  • This chapter focused on the functions of the nervous system and how these are dependent on how the signals travels through it. Neural conduction and synaptic transmission were discussed. 
  • The case of Roberto Garcia d'Orta provided an example of why it is crucial for a biopsychologist to have knowledge about neural conduction. Several drugs were discussed, such as botox, opioids and antischizophrenic drugs.
  • All neurophysiological research is conducted on the neurons and synapses of nonhuman subjects.
  • The firing gun is a methaphor for how an action potential works. Axonal conduction can be compared to mouse traps on a wobbly shelf. These metaphors are useful in the process about learning about neural conduction.

What different research methods are used in the field of biopsychology? - BulletPoints 5

  • In this chapter, methods of studying the brain and methods that are used to study behavior were discussed.
  • Many of the methods used by biopsychologists to study the human brain are also used in clinical settings in order to serve diagnosis or help with treatment. Brain imaging, genetic engineering, neuropsychological testing and the use of the elevated plus maze are examples.
  • Experience can produce changes in brain organization that can complicate the interpretation of functional brain images.
  • Seminatural animal learning paradigms help us to assess animal behavior in environments similar to those in which these behavior evolved. 
  • The development of new research methods often requires a lot of creative thinking and understanding of the weaknesses and strengths of all previously devised research methods.

How does the visual system work? - BulletPoints 6

  • The visual system does not transmit complete and intact visual images of the world to the cortex. It does carry information about the location, movement, brightness, contrast and color from the visual images that we see. Our visual system can perceive things without our conscious awareness of it.
  • The majority of research on the neural mechanisms of human vision has been comparative research. 
  • The visual system does not passively provide images of the external world: It extracts some characteristics of the image of the external world and from this it creates our perception. 
  • The study of the visual system has focused on the receptive field properties of neurons in response to simple stimuli and receptive field have been assumed to be static. However it has become clear that each neuron's receptive field changes depending on the visual cortex.

How does the sensorimotor system allow for movement? - BulletPoints 7

  • Neuropsychological patients with sensorimotor deficits as well as healthy human volunteers have contributed to current theories of sensorimotor functioning. 
  • Although the sensorimotor functions of nonhuman primates are similar to those of humans, they are not identical. Remarkably, programs for walking tend to be similar in humans, other mammals, and birds.
  • Recent analyses have suggested that primary motor cortex encodes the end point of movements rather than the movements itself.
  • The sensorimotor system is fundamentally plastic. General commands to act are issued by cortical circuits, but how the action is conducted is highly dependent on the body's position.
  • The sensorimotor system maintains the ability to change itself in response to practice.

What are the functions of sleep, dreaming and circadian rhythms? - BulletPoints 8

  • Many people sleep little with no apparent ill effets. People who are average sleepers can reduce their sleep time substantially, again with few apparent ill effects. People who sleep 5 to 7 hours a night live the longest. 
  • Thinking about the adaptive function of sleep and ocmparing sleep in different species have led to interesting insights. Research into physiology and genetics of sleep has also been conducted in nonhuman species.
  • The adult human brain has the capacity to change and adapt raises the possibility that it might be able to adapt to a sleep schedule that is of shorter duration.

What does the field of cognitive psychology entail? - BulletPoints 9

  • Cognitive science is the scientific study of thought, language and the brain.
  • The modern history of cognitive psychology began in 1879 with Wundt and the beginnings of experimental psychology as a science. The behaviorist movement rejected the use of introspections and substitued the study of observable behavior. Modern cognitive psychology, which dates from 1960, rejected the behaviorist position but accepted its methodological rigor.
  • Memory consists of the mental processes of acquiring and retaining information for later retrieval and the mental storage system than enables these processes. Memory entails three kinds of activities: encoding, retention and retrieval. The standard theory of memory states that the memory consists of the sensory memory, the short-term memory and the long-term memory.
  • A process model is a hypothesis about the specific mental processes that take place when a particular task is performed. There is however substantial evidence that suggests that cognition is involved parallel processing influenced by context. 

How do sensations lead to perceptual experiences? - BulletPoints 10

  • The eye sweeps across the visual field in short, jerky movements called saccades. The visual sensory memory is a fast-acting and rapidly adapting system, ideally suited for processing information in real time in a continuously dynamic world. To build up a complete mental representation of the world, we use trans-saccadic memory.
  • Recognizing visual patterns follows principles such as the Gestalt principles. Another theory is the idea that recognition of visual patterns is not a process of matching stored templates to a visual stimulus. A feauture detection account of pattern recogntion, such as Pandemonium, must be augmented by conceptually driven processes to account for the effects of context in visual recognition. Conceptually-driven and data-driven processs work in combination in most of the pattern recognition situations we encounter in life.
  • The recogniton by component theory claims that we recognize objects by extracting or detecting the visual stimuli and 3D-properties of an object, which are referred to as geons.
  • Studies of patients with visual agnosia demonstrate the complexity of perception. Agnosia is the failure or deficit in recognizing objects.
  • The auditory sensory memory is the brief memory system that receives auditory stimuli and preserves them for some amount of time.

How is our brain able to guide our attention? - BulletPoints 11

  • Attention is a complex phenomenon with many different definitions. Attention consists of alterness and arousal, the orienting reflex and the spotlight of attention.
  • The disorder hemineglect shows how attention can be affected by brain damage. The patient is unable to direct attention voluntarily to one side of space, so he or she neglects stimuli presented in that side.
  • Selective attention is the ability to focus on one incoming message while ignoring other incoming stimuli. We are able to use inhibition to keep information that would otherwise be highly active, but is irrelevant, out of the current stream of processing.
  • Automatic processes are rapid, not dependent on intent and unavailable to conscious awareness. Conscious or controlled processes are rather slow, require intention, are open to conscious awareness and heavily demand on attentional resources.

How does the short-term working memory function? - BulletPoints 12

  • The short-term memory has a limited capacity. Decay and interference  result in the decay of memories.
  • Sternberg proposed the process model. It symbolizes a flow chart of the four separate mental processes that occurred during the timed portion of every trial.
  • The working memory consists of a central executive and three major subystems: the phonological loop for verbal and auditory information, the visuo-spatial sketch pad for visual and spatial information, and the episodic buffer for integrating or binding information form different parts of working memory and long-term memory.
  • A common method for assessing the working memory is by using the dual task method.

How are we able to use the long-term memory to learn and remember? - BulletPoints 13

  • The declarative memory consist of information about facts and events. It consists of long-term memory knowledge that is retrieved and reflected on consciously. The nondeclarative memory consists of information about skills and habits, priming, simple classical conditioning and nonassociative learning.
  • A classic method for improving memory involves the use of mnemonics.
  • The metamemory consists of our knowledge about our own memory, how it works and how it fails to work.
  • We memorize information through rehearsal, organization and imagery. Information that is elaboratively rehearsed is stored more deeply into the memory and therefore remembered better. Well-organized material can be stored and retrieved with better accuracy than material that is less well-organized. Visual imagery is the mental picturing of a stimulus that affects later recall or recognition.
  • Decay and interference are proposed causes of forgetting of information from the long-term memory. The tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon illustrates that even when information cannot be successfully retrieved, partial information may be available. Retrieval cues help the memory. 
  • Retrograde amnesia is the loss of memory for events that have occurred before the brain injury. Anterograde amnesia is the disruption in acquiring new memories for events occurring after the brain injury. 

How are we able to use the long-term memory for knowing information? - BulletPoints 14

  • The semantic memory is the subsystem of the memory that contains our long-term memory knowledge of the world. The first model is the network approach and the second model is the feature detection theory. Semantic relatedness is the phenomenon that concepts that are highly related are more easily processed and retrieved faster.
  • The approach of connectionism that focus on the memory allow one to simulate these processes in a way that is more analogous to how the brain does it.
  • Semantic priming is the idea that there is broad activtion of concepts in the semantic memory.
  • Bartlett developed the schema theory. From this view, schemate are generalized knowledge structures, as are semantic memories, that people use as guides for common experiences. Scripts consists of semantic knowledge tht guide our understanding of ordered events.
  • The classic view of categorization is that people use necessary and sufficient rules. They create and use categories based on a system of rules.

How are we able to use knowledge in the real world? - BulletPoints 15

  • Schacter (1999) proposed the Seven Sins of Memory that describe in what seven ways the long-term memory fails.
  • Propositions represent the meaning of a single, simple idea, the smallest unit of knowledge about which you can make "true or false" judgments. We routinely "recognize" a sentence as having occurred before even if the sentence is a paraphrase.
  • According to van Dijk and Kintsch (1983) there are three levels of representations when we comprehend a situation: the surface form, the text base, and the situation model.
  • The metamemory concerns our ability to assess when we have learned something, the realization that we need to remember in the future, and even what we do and what we do not know. There are different types of systems and abilities that we distinguish within the metamemory, such as the ability of source monitoring and prospective memory.
  • People tend to be overconfident about their memories, regardless of the distortions that might be involved. Cases of "forgotten" and "recovered" memories are particularly difficult to assess because of the fragile reconstructure nature of memories. It is a concern, however, that therapeutic techniques used to assist in "recovering" memory of trauma are so similar to variables such as repetition and repeated questioning, variables that increase the false memory effect.
  • The autobiographical memory is a collection of memories or narrative of one's lifetime. Infantile amnesia is the inability to remember early life events and very poor memory for your life at a very young age. The reminiscence bump is the superior memory than would otherwise be expected for life events around the age of 20.

How are we able to use and understand language? - BulletPoints 16

  • Hocket (1960) proposed a list of 13 linguistic universals, that emphasize the arbitrary connections between symbols and referent, the meaningfulness of the symbols, and our reliance on rules for generating and comprehending language.
  • Competence is the internalized knowledge of language and its rules that fully fluent speakers of a language have. Language performance, on the other hand, is also affected by memory lapses and the like. Performance refers to the actual language behavior a speaker generates, the string of sound sand words that the speaker utters.
  • Phonology refers the study of the sounds of language and the rule system for combining these sounds together. Spoken words consists of phonemes, the smallest units of sound that speakers of a language can distinguish.
  • Syntax involves the ordering of words and phrases in sentence structure and features such as the active and the passive voice. It is the arrangement of words as elements in a sentence to show their relationship to one another.
  • The study of semantics breaks words down into morphemes, the smallest meaningful units in language. Polysemy refers to the fact that many words in a language may have multiple meanings. The task of the language processing system is to figure out which meaning is the intended one.
  • Extensive evidence from studie swith brain-damaged people and more modern work using imaging and ERP methods reveals several functional and anatomical dissociations in language ability.

How can we make judgments and decisions and how do we reason? - BulletPoints 17

  • A syllogism is a three-statement logical form, with the first two parts stating the premises taken to be true, and the thrid part stating a conclusion based on these premises.
  • Conditional reasoning involves a logical determination of whether the evidence supports, refutes, or is irrelevant to the stated if-then relationship. Errors in conditional reasoning fall into three broad categories, involving the form of the reasoning problem, the search for evidence and memory-related phenomena.
  • In general, it was discovered that subjective experiences of magnitude, regardless of the particular dimension involved, was not identical to the physical magnitude. There appears to be a psychological dimension of magnitude that forms the basis of our perception. In all symbolic and reasoning situations, including those about geographical location, our mental representation and knowledge influence our judgments.
  • In contrast to algorithms, heuristics are quick, informal rules that are often useful but are not guaranteed to yield the correct solution. A heuristic provides a strategy that works most of the time, for some of the time, but is not guaranteed to yield the correct answer. Kahneman and Tversky (1973)  investigated three important heuristics used in circumstances when people reason about uncertain events: the representativeness heuristic, the availability heuristic and the simulation heuristic.
  • In everyday reasoning, we rely on mental models of the device or event to make our judgments. These mental models sometimes are quite inaccurate.

How do we solve problems? - BulletPoints 18

  • Verbal protocols are used to study problem solving. 
  • Insight is a deep, useful understanding of a situation or problem, often thought to occur suddenly and without warning. Reasoning by analogy is a complex kind of problem solving in which relationships in one situation are mapped onto another. Holyoak and Thagard's multiconstraint theory of analogical problem solving claims that we work under three constraints as we develop analogies; constraint by similarity, the structure of problems, and the purpose of the goal or analogy.
  • The overall problem, including our knowedlge, is called the problem space, within which we apply operators, draw inferences, and conduct a constructive search for moves that bring us closer to the goal.
  • The best-known heuristic for problem solving is means-end analysis, in which the problem solver cycles between determining the difference between the current and goal states and applying legal operators to reduce that difference.

What is the relationship between our cognitions and our emotions? - BulletPoints 19

  • Emotion refers to both the state of mind a person is in at a particular moment, as well as the physiological response a person is experiencing at that time. Two dimensions of emotion guide our coverage of how emotion influences cognition; the valence and intensity of emotions. Two important neurological structures important for emotion processing are the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.
  • Emotions can influence perceptual processing by channeling cognitive processing resources toward those stimuli in the environment that are more emotional.
  • The memory benefit for emotional information comes from a number of sources, including its importance, its distinctiveness, the amount of attention and rehearsal it is given, and the superior benefit it seems to derive from neural consolidation processes.
  • Although emotion can improve some types of memories, it can also impose a cost on later memory. Specifically, at high levels of emotional intensity, attention is captured by central information at the cost of processing of peripheral information.
  • A great deal of emotional menaing is conveyed by the prosody of spoken utterances.
  • When the source of stress is viewed as a threat, there can be declines in performance, causing people to choke under pressure. Stereotype threat occurs when people are reminded of their membership in a group that cultural stereotypes usggest will not do well, and so their performance goes down.
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