These differences have allowed for many abilities over and above those of other animals, such as advanced cognitive skills. Human encephalization is especially pronounced in the neocortex, the most complex part of the cerebral cortex. The proportion of the human brain that is devoted to the neocortex—especially to the prefrontal cortex —is larger than in all other animals. Humans enjoy unique neural capacities, but much of the human brain structure is shared with ancient species.
Brain imaging techniques Introduction to brain imaging techniques and other methods A number of techniques are available to investigate the question of how and where in the brain particular perceptual and cognitive processes occur. Tasks or tests can be devised that place varying levels of demand on the cognitive, sensory or motor capacities of the participant being tested.
Performance of these tasks is then correlated with physiological measurements, and on the basis of these results, we may go on to ascribe functions to areas of the brain. Whilst there is a growing fascination with imaging techniques in the popular media e. Below we highlight some key neuropsychological and neuroscientific techniques, and a few of their limitations.
There are also a number of great blogs that deal with issues relating to neuroscience, particularly in the popular press e. Bad ScienceThe Neurocritic.
Testing brain damaged subjects Neuropsychology Neuropsychology, the precursor to modern neuroscience, allowed us to learn a great deal about brain function by examining people with specific, known brain injuries. Cognitive changes are often reported in people who have suffered some kind of brain injury.
The damaged areas are a good indicator of the brain regions that are important to the cognitive function that has been changed by the injury.
One of the most striking examples of this form of neuropsychology was carried out on a railroad construction worker, Phineas Gage pictured. Following an explosives accident, Gage survived a cylindrical iron rod being driven completely through his head. Other notable cases include patients HM and Tan who have informed modern psychological understanding of the brain involvement in memory and speech production.
Specific deficits in processing are rarely found without the occurrence of other deficits. Psychological observations are usually only ever made after the event and therefore lack adequate experimental control.
Lesion studies Neuropsychology The removal of part of the brain - comparison is made between performance before and after the lesion and consequent deficits are noted. This branch of neuropsychology sounds brutal, but is often carried out when brain surgery is required e.
Lesion studies have informed our understanding of which brain regions can be removed with minimal consequence for the patient, Problems: In practice, it is difficult to make a brain lesion that entirely removes one part of the brain whilst leaving the rest entirely intact.
Lesions may damage other systems which happen to pass through the lesion site. Invasive stimulation involves surgery and is often carried out as part of a procedure to assess which regions of the brain it might be least disruptive to lesion.
Non-invasive stimulation in the form of transcranial magnetic stimulation TMS is a relatively recent development in the experimental neurosciences.
A coil is held up to the head of healthy participants, positioned directly over the part of the brain which is intended to be temporarily stimulated, and causes neurons on the surface of the brain nearest the coil to discharge, effectively temporarily lesioning that brain region.
This technique allows experimenters to conduct lesion-like studies on large number of participants. Difficulties of invasive stimulation involve delivering stimulation at an intensity that mirrors the level of activity that spontaneously occurs in the brain and determining which structures have been affected by the stimulation.
Non-invasive stimulation is prone to the same difficulties as lesion studies in localising the temporarily induced lesions. Limitations of the magnetic field also mean that only areas on the surface of the brain can be stimulated and care must be taken to avoid stimulation in regions near muscle that might twitch as a result of their own stimulation.
Single-cell recording Neuroscience Microelectrode recordings indicate specific neuronal networks dedicated to processing particular stimuli.
For much of the 's physiologists probed the visual cortex using this technique. CT Scan Neuroscience This technique takes advantage of the fact that X-rays reflect the relative density of the tissue through which they pass.
If a narrow X-ray beam is passed through the same object at many different angles, it is possible to use computational techniques to construct a visual image of the brain.Brain science and cognitive psychology focuses on how individuals learn, process and store information.
For Teachers An advanced degree in psychology is the foundation of many interesting career paths within the discipline. The benefits of mindfulness meditation in the workplace, for students or in primary schools are numerous, both for the brain and body.
Research shows. Dec 31, · The pace of research seems to accelerate more every year, and saw its share of major studies across several categories of brain science and psychology.
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BU Psychological & Brain Sciences. Welcome to the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) at Boston University.
The department is a globally recognized research leader with faculty expertise in a broad range of fields. The Intellectual Basis: The intersection between psychology and mind/brain/behavior is concerned with how mental capacities -- such as memory, perception, mental imagery, and language -- arise from brain function.
Thus, studies in the Cognitive Science track involve studying mechanisms that ultimately produce cognition and behavior.