Module 13 Notes
Our Divided Brain
• We have known for over 100 years that despite looking alike, each side of the brain has different purposes.
-Research collected over this century (about damage to the left hemisphere) proved this hemisphere was for reading, speaking, writing, reasoning, math, etc.
-Around 1960, it was discovered that the right hemisphere had its own unique functions.
• In 1961, patients suffering from severe epileptic seizures had their corpus callosum (which links both brain hemispheres) cut. Their seizures stopped.
• Afterwards, these patients with split brains were experimented on, their personality and intellect were surprisingly ...view middle of the document...
-On the other hand, a sedative delivered to patients that reaches their right brain leaves their left arm limp but does not affect their ability to speak.
• Sign language is also handled by the left brain hemisphere, whether it is aural or visual, language is language and is always handled by the left brain.
• The right hemisphere handles our sense of self (i.e: who we are, what is good/bad about us, and what we look like).
• Nearly 90% of us are right handed (vs. the 10% that are left handed).
-96% of people who are right handed process speech in the left hemisphere, but only 70% of people who are left handed process speech in the left hemisphere (the rest use the right or both hemispheres to process it).
-Left handedness vs. right handedness appears to be genetic (but twin studies have indicated that there is only a small genetic influence).
-Those who are left-handed tend to have more reading disabilities, migraines and allergies, but also tend to be better at music, math, and art.
The Biology of Consciousness
• Modern day science explores the biology of consciousness (our awareness of our environment and ourselves).
-Evolutionary psychologists believe that consciousness must offer a reproductive advantage, helping us think long-term and consider the consequences of our decisions.
• Scientists assume that "the mind is what the brain does", we just don't know how.
• The study of cognitive neuroscience helps connect specific brain states to conscious experiences.
• A stunning example of consciousness came about in a study of a "vegetative" patient.
-This patient (a woman who was paralyzed from a car crash and did not speak) showed brain activity in an area that normally controls arm/leg movements when asked to imagine playing tennis after fMRI scans.
• In a limited fashion, cognitive neuroscientists can effectively read your mind.
• These findings have been disputed though and how...