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Evidence from the Cognitive Sciences James A. Van Slyke.

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Presentation on theme: "Evidence from the Cognitive Sciences James A. Van Slyke."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evidence from the Cognitive Sciences James A. Van Slyke

2 From the Soul to the Brain Sciences and Human Nature Sciences and Human Nature Cognitive Neuroscience Cognitive Neuroscience Characteristics of the soul linked with particular brain areas Characteristics of the soul linked with particular brain areas No place in the brain specialized for interacting with the soul No place in the brain specialized for interacting with the soul No “Cartesian Theatre” No “Cartesian Theatre”

3 Thomas Aquinas Three parts of the soul Three parts of the soul Rational Rational Intellect – Active and Passive Intellect – Active and Passive Will Will Animal or Sensitive Animal or Sensitive Locomotion, appetite, sensation, emotion Locomotion, appetite, sensation, emotion Vegetative Vegetative Reproduction, nutrition, growth Reproduction, nutrition, growth Body Body

4 Aquinas on the Brain Locomotion Locomotion Motor cortex + pathways to muscles throughout the body Motor cortex + pathways to muscles throughout the body Sensation Sensation Somatosensory Cortex – directly behind motor cortex Somatosensory Cortex – directly behind motor cortex

5 Aquinas on the Brain Emotion Emotion Amygdala – implicit aspects of emotion Amygdala – implicit aspects of emotion Emotional valence to memories Emotional valence to memories Fight or flight response Fight or flight response Cingulate Cortex – emotional attachment Cingulate Cortex – emotional attachment Mothering instincts Mothering instincts Damage leads to decreases in empathy Damage leads to decreases in empathy

6 Aquinas on the Brain Other areas Other areas Language – Broca’s and Wernicke’s Language – Broca’s and Wernicke’s Vision – Occipital Lobe Vision – Occipital Lobe Identifying Objects Identifying Objects Where? – Parietal Lobe Where? – Parietal Lobe What? – Temporal Lobe What? – Temporal Lobe Two pathways beginning in the occipital lobe Two pathways beginning in the occipital lobe

7 The Famous Case of Phineas Gage Before accident Before accident Intelligent Intelligent capable worker capable worker excellent manager excellent manager responsible family man responsible family man upstanding citizen upstanding citizen After Accident After Accident Maintained his general intelligence Maintained his general intelligence Unreliable and capricious Unreliable and capricious Socially Inappropriate Socially Inappropriate Lost his family and fortune Lost his family and fortune

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9 Case of Elliott – Damasio before before good husband and father good husband and father high level job at business firm high level job at business firm had attained an enviable social status had attained an enviable social status post surgery, tumor removed in orbital frontal area post surgery, tumor removed in orbital frontal area irresponsible irresponsible unable to manage his time unable to manage his time flawed decision making flawed decision making Divorced; entered unwise marriage Divorced; entered unwise marriage lost his job lost his job

10 Case of Elliot Laboratory test results Laboratory test results maintained superior IQ (WAIS) maintained superior IQ (WAIS) flawless memory flawless memory superior language ability superior language ability normal on lab tests of financial and ethical decision making normal on lab tests of financial and ethical decision making normal lab ability to generate solutions to social problems normal lab ability to generate solutions to social problems Could predict social consequences Could predict social consequences

11 Gambling game Test of decisions and consequences Test of decisions and consequences Gambling Game Gambling Game normal individuals develop anticipatory evaluative autonomic response (mini emotional response) first to choosing form the bad deck, and eventually to the thought of so choosing. normal individuals develop anticipatory evaluative autonomic response (mini emotional response) first to choosing form the bad deck, and eventually to the thought of so choosing. Differential autonomic reasons develop prior to conscious awareness of the game’s contingencies Differential autonomic reasons develop prior to conscious awareness of the game’s contingencies Elliot was never able to develop a discriminatory anticipation while choosing from the bad decks Elliot was never able to develop a discriminatory anticipation while choosing from the bad decks

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13 Theory of Somatic Markers Experiences with the contingencies of life cause development of anticipatory evaluative (negative or positive) autonomic response which are coupled to knowledge. Experiences with the contingencies of life cause development of anticipatory evaluative (negative or positive) autonomic response which are coupled to knowledge. These autonomic response guides behavioral choices in ways that are often not directly available to consciousness These autonomic response guides behavioral choices in ways that are often not directly available to consciousness Individuals with orbital frontal brain damage have knowledge de-coupled form the autonomic response system Individuals with orbital frontal brain damage have knowledge de-coupled form the autonomic response system

14 Declarative Memory Processes Declarative memory: memories available as facts, events, or specific stimuli Declarative memory: memories available as facts, events, or specific stimuli Where I parked my car this morning Where I parked my car this morning People with anterograde amnesia are unable to talk about their experiences following brain damage People with anterograde amnesia are unable to talk about their experiences following brain damage Nondeclarative memory: stimulus-response and motor memories that control behaviors at an unconscious level Nondeclarative memory: stimulus-response and motor memories that control behaviors at an unconscious level How I am able to ride a bicycle How I am able to ride a bicycle 15.14

15 Hippocampal Damage and Amnesia Severe anterograde amnesia follows bilateral damage to the hippocampus Severe anterograde amnesia follows bilateral damage to the hippocampus Patient H.M. suffered from severe epilepsy Patient H.M. suffered from severe epilepsy Following surgery, H.M. showed severe anterograde amnesia Following surgery, H.M. showed severe anterograde amnesia No retention for events that have occurred since 1953 No retention for events that have occurred since 1953 Can recall events that occurred prior to 1953 Can recall events that occurred prior to 1953 H.M.’s amnesia was attributed to hippocampal damage H.M.’s amnesia was attributed to hippocampal damage 15.15

16  MRI scan of hippocampus (in red) Hippocampus Hippocampus

17 Cognitive Sciences and the Mind Neuropsychology of Religious Experiences Neuropsychology of Religious Experiences Brain images of Tibetan Buddhists and Franciscan Nuns Brain images of Tibetan Buddhists and Franciscan Nuns Increased activity in frontal lobe and right parietal lobe during meditation Increased activity in frontal lobe and right parietal lobe during meditation Brain is quite active in a specialized way during religious experience Brain is quite active in a specialized way during religious experience


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