PSYC 2: Biological Foundations - Fall 2012 - Professor Claffey

Unit: Cognition

11/29/12 - Crossed off question on stress pathways
11/26/12 - Updated readings, terms and questions
11/16/12 - Original version


The Cognition Unit will not follow complete book chapters. There will be a lot of content covered in lectures that is not covered by the book at all. The book chapters that are described below should be used to expand on topics covered in lecture that you did not understand. If you read whole chapters before seeing what is covered in lecture, you may spend a lot of time on uncovered material.

Executive Function
All readings are optional to expand on material covered in lecture
Executive function (overview, wikipedia is far more extensive than what was covered in class)
Delayed Response tasks (specifically "12.2.6 Delayed Non-Matching-to-Sample Tasks")
n-Back task (wikipedia & demo)
Stop Signal Task (demo)

Required: Video on amnesiac E.P. (youtube, 1:34 - 9:30)
11.1 - Amnesic Effects of Bilateral Medial Temporal Lobectomy
11.6 - Hippocampus and Memory for Spatial Location
11.7 - Where Are Memories Stored?
17.3 - Neural Mechanisms of Fear Conditioning
Optional: Michael Mann (U Nebraska) detailed Learning & Memory chapter
Optional: Dorota Crawford (York U) Memory lecture (PDF)

Motivation & Reward
15.5 - Intracranial Self-Stimulation and the Pleasure Centers of the Brain
15.6 - Early Studies of Brain Mechanisms of Addiction: Dopamine
Dopamine & Learning - Schultz - Abstract (the first paragraph before introduction)

17.3 Neural Mechanisms of Fear Conditioning
17.4 Stress & Health - The Stress Response, Stress & The Hippocampus
17.5 Brain Mechanisms of Human Emotion
Main Areas Involved with Emotion (
Stress Response (
Optional: The physiological basis of stress as an adaptive response, David Tierney, 1998

Study Questions

Research Methods
    What is the differences between observation and manipulation experiments?
    What are some examples of observational neuroscience techniques? Of manipulation techniques?
    NEW: How do the neuroimaging techniques discussed in class differ in accuracy for location and timing?
Executive Function
    Where in the brain are executive functions primarily located?
    What evidence is there regarding working memory in the brain?
    What evidence is there regarding conflict monitoring in the brain?
    What evidence is there regarding impulse control in the brain?
Human memory
    What are causes of amnesia in humans and what areas are associated?
    What is the difference between anterograde and retrograde amnesia?
    What is the evidence for temporal gradient of consolidation?
    For a person with hippocampal damage, what tasks can they perform and what do they have trouble with?
Animal memory
    What is the role of the hippocampus?
    What tasks are used to study memory in animals?
    How is the hippocampus relevant to spatial memory?
    Where are memories stored?
    What is meant by systems consolidation? By molecular consolidation?
    What do place cells do?
    What do intracranial self-stimulation studies reveal about reward in the brain?
    Where are the presumed reward circuits in the brain?
    What is the role of dopamine in learning, reward and addiction?
    What is the role of the nucleus accumbens in reward and addiction?
    NEW: How does addiction involve dopamine?
    How is the study of emotions considered problematic?
    What are the tangible ways that the body reacts to an emotional stimuli?
    What are the pathways/structures associated with fear conditioning in rodents?
    What is the role of the amygdala in emotions?
    What is the role of the hypothalamus in emotions?
    What are the two pathways for response to stress?
    What are the adaptive and maladaptive effects of stress?
    What role does serotonin play in emotion?



Clicker Questions

Wednesday, Nov 14

1. If you wanted to demonstrate that the occipital lobe was necessary for vision, which technique would be appropriate?
  1. An fMRI experiment that showed activation in the occipital lobe for a vision task
  2. A lesion experiment that showed rats without an occipital lobe could not see
  3. A survey of humans showing that those with smallest occipital lobes have the worst vision

2. What makes the Delayed Non-match to Sample harder than Delayed Response?

  1. Can not choose based on familiarity
  2. The delay is longer
  3. There are more objects to choose from

3. Why would you argue that the DLPFC doesn't "contain" the memory for the familiar object?

  1. Animals with DLPFC lesion can do the recognition task
  2. Animals with DLPFC lesion can NOT do the recognition task
  3. Animals with DLPFC lesion can do the monitoring task
  4. Animals with DLPFC lesion can NOT do the monitoring task
  5. The DLPFC is not active during the time when remembering is required

Friday, Nov 16

1. Why is the 3-back task more demanding than the 1-back task?

  1. You have to keep more letters in mind
  2. You have to remember letters for longer
  3. You have to react more quickly
  4. All of these are true
  5. 2 out of 3 are true
2. The 3-back produces greater blood flow in DLPFC than the 1-back. What is NOT a good reason for this?
  1. Need more oxygen & glucose because neurons are firing action potentials more frequently
  2. Need more oxygen & glucose because more neurons are firing action potentials
  3. Need more oxygen & glucose because neurons are firing larger action potentials

3. In the Stroop task, why are people slower in the incongruent version than the congruent version?

  1. In the incongruent version, each word is different from the previous trial
  2. In the incongruent version, people want to say the ink color but must read the word
  3. In the incongruent version, people want to read the word but must say the ink color
  4. In the incongruent version, the words are different lengths

4. In the ink-naming, incongruent version of the Stroop task, in which trial would you be most likely to see an Error Related Negativity?

  1. Red - Subject quickly says "Red"
  2. Blue - Subject slowly says "Blue"
  3. Green - Subject quickly says "Blue"

Monday, Nov 19th

1. Based on the areas/tasks described so far and the brain activation in this image, what is the subject most likely to be doing?

A. Keeping something in working memory
B. Resolving a conflict
C. Stopping an impulse

2. Which activity would H.M. have the most difficulty with?
  1. Brushing his teeth
  2. Playing checkers
  3. Describing last night's dinner
  4. Learning tennis

3. On Monday around noon you hit your head. On Tuesday morning you have a test. You remember all the material from the Monday morning but not from Monday afternoon. What do you have?

  1. Implicit amnesia
  2. Retrograde amnesia
  3. Anterograde amnesia
  4. Retrograde & Anterograde amnesia

Monday, Nov 26

Why is the electrical stimulation rewarding?
  1. It has been associated with a drug
  2. Electrical stimulation in the brain is generally rewarding
  3. It is activating the dopamine system

Which of the following would NOT disrupt ICSS?

  1. A dopamine agonist
  2. Lesion of the mesocorticolimbic system
  3. Providing the stimulation at random times relative to bar press

Which two events are NOT likely to produce equal firing rates?

  1. An unexpected reward = A conditioned stimulus
  2. An expected reward = No stimulus
  3. A withheld reward = No stimulus

Wednesday, Nov 28

1. Which experiment would PET be best suited for?

  1. Seeing how the brain reacts in the first few milliseconds after a word appears on the screen
  2. Seeing where in the brain there is neural activity for a memory task
  3. Seeing where LSD is interacting in the brain
  4. Seeing what behavioral changes occur when the nucleus accumbens is lesioned
2. If a mouse was trained in fear conditioning and had an amygdala lesion, what could it do?
  1. Freeze to the context but not the tone
  2. Freeze to the tone but not the context
  3. Can not freeze to either
  4. If you wait long enough after training, it will be able to freeze to both context and tone
  5. Draw all the facial expressions except for fear

3. After being in a car crash, loud noises make your heart beat faster.
Which sequence is correct such that the 1st causes the 2nd, and the 2nd causes the 3rd?

  1. Hypothalamus activity -> increased heart rate -> recall of traumatic event
  2. Hypothalamus activity -> recall of traumatic event -> increased heart rate
  3. Recall of traumatic event -> hypothalamus activity -> increased heart rate
  4. Increased heart rate -> Recall of traumatic event -> hypothalamus activity
4. What is another good example of prefrontal cortex damage causing poor emotional behavior?
  1. Protein synthesis inhibition
  2. H.M.
  3. Amygdala lesions in fear condition
  4. Phineas Gage
  5. Aphasia

Copyright 2012 - Michael Claffey