AMYGDALA (Latin for ‘almond’)• Involved in processing emotions (in
particular, learning and remembering emotionally significant events).
• Important in fear responses.
• Links areas of the cortex that process higher cognitive information with systems that control metabolic responses fight or flight
• Damage:Case study – damage to amygdala in both hemispheres. No motor, sensory or cognitive deficits, but when asked to identify photographs of a series of facial expressions, SM could identify every expression but one – FEAR.
• The structure most associated to memory formation.
• An early storage place for long-term memory and involved in the transition of LTM to even more permanent memory.
• Also plays a role in spatial navigation
• Damage:Case study: Clive Wearing had extensive damage to the left and right hippocampus. Intellectual and perceptual abilities intact, but has severe memory impairments, losing ability to form new memories.
• Regulates automatic functions (hunger, thirst, body temperature, sexual activity)
• Controls release of hormones
• Integrates information from many different parts of the brain and is responsive to a variety of stimuli:i) light ii) odoursiii) stressiv) arousal
• Helps regulate emotions and pain.
• Involved in fear and the prediction (and avoidance) of negative consequences and can help orient the body away from negative stimuli.
• Damage: inappropriate emotions, lack of fear, impaired sensation of pain, learning impairments
The Brain Stem
• Consists of a group of structures that lie deep within the brain.
• Plays important role in maintaining homeostasis by controlling automatic functions such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
• Can organise motor movements such as reflexes, and coordinate with the motor cortex and associated areas to contribute to fine movements of limbs and the face.
In the brain stem…
• Includes structures involved in vision and hearing (tectum) and movement (tegmentum).
Pons• Region most closely associated with breathing and
respiratory rhythms.• Forms a bridge between the cerebrum and
cerebellum• Involved in sensory analysis and is the site at which
auditory information enters the brain.
• Formal name – medulla oblongata
• An extension of the spinal cord linking to the brain.
• 3.5cm long and 2cm wide.
• Neither humans nor other animals can survive destruction of the medulla.
• Controls heartbeat, circulation and respiration.
• About 5.7 cm in length
• Processes sensory information as it arrives and transmit it to higher brain centres (the cortex).
• Like a switchboard!
• Not only route messages but also to filter them, highlighting some and de-emphasisingothers.
• Thalamic lesion linked to synaethesia
• Small but significant reduction in thalamus volume in schizophrenia.
• Roughly 10% of total brain weight, but contains more neurons than the rest of the brain combined!
• Responsible for coordinating movement, planning, motor activities, learning and remembering of physical skills.
• Size is a good indicator of its physical capability
• Some recent studies have associated the cerebellum with cognitive functions, such as learning and attention.