PSYC 2: Biological Foundations -
Fall 2012 - Professor Claffey
10/26/12 - Formatting change (no content change)
10/22/12 - Clarified readings for Chapter 6
10/18/12 - Added Terms section
10/16/12 - More comments in Reading/Resources section
10/14/12 - Added comments to Reading/Resources section
10/3/12 - original version
To give you an idea of where to focus, we will spend 3 days of
class on vision, 1 day on hearing and 1 day on olfactory/smell
We'll be talking about pathways of information through the brain,
which begin to use anatomical terms such as: dorsal, posterior,
medial, parietal, cortex, etc. We'll cover this in more detail in
Unit 3: Organization, but you might find it helpful to briefly
look over or reference:
Section 3.3 Neuro Techniques > "Directions
in the Vertebrate Nervous System"
(specifically diagram on P62
in 8th Ed)
Section 3.5 Five Major Divisions of the Brain
(specifically diagram on P68
in 8th Ed)
Chapter 6-- The Visual System
sections except the following might be covered briefly in class
or not all, so you may want to skim or hold off:
All sections of Chapter 6 will be covered
In 6.4, from "Receptive
Fields: Complex Cortical Cells"
be tested on the material presented in Brad's lecture
6.5 "Seeing Color" - stick
to what was covered in class on Oct 22nd
need to know all the color constancy/theory in the book
Chapter 7-- Mechanisms of Perception
This chapter will not be covered in as much
detail as vision (see comment at beginning of this section)
All sections except:
Section 7.5 will be covered
in Unit 4: Cognition
Vision research Hubel & Weisel: Intro
Olfactation fun facts: APA's Sense and
How is light turned into a neural signal?
What are the physical (as in relating to
physics) characteristics of light that the retina is sensitive to?
What can the eye do to tailor the image that is
reaching the retina?
What are the cells in the retina that support
What is the pathway from the retina to the
How are the left/right sides of vision
organized? (by eye, by visual field, by cortical hemisphere)
What is retinotopic organization?
What are receptive fields and how do they
How does lateral inhibition affect the way we
How is color processed by the visual system?
Where can the visual system be damaged and what
are the corresponding deficits?
What are the areas of the cortex that process
What is the difference between the dorsal and
How is motion processed by the visual system?
How are faces special to the visual system?
Principles of the Visual System
What is an example of hierarchical
What is an example of functional segregation?
What is an example of parallel processing?
How is sound turned into a neural signal?
What are the physical (as in related to
physics) characteristics of sound that the cochlea is sensitive
What is the pathway from the cochlea to the
How is sound localized?
What is known about cortical processing of
How can the auditory system be damaged?
What physical/tactile characteristics are
somatosensory receptors sensitive to?
What are the pathways for somatosensory
How is somatosensory processing organized in
How is physical pain processed in the brain?
How are olfactory signals turned into a neural
How is the olfactory pathway different form
How are taste signals turned into a neural
Which has more distinct categories that can be
detected, the olfactory or taste system?
dorsal-column medial-lemniscus system
M & P channels
medial geniculate nucleus
organ of Corti
primary auditory cortex
|primary visual cortex
retinal ganglion cell
Monday, Oct 15
1. Based on the rod/cone connection diagram, which will provide
better spatial resolution?
(meaning which provides more specific information on where the
photon hit the retina)
- a retinal ganglion cell attached to ONE CONE
- a retinal ganglion cell attached to MANY RODS
2. A single neuron is post-synaptic to a rod photoreceptor. When
light hits the rod:
- the post-synaptic receptors will receive MORE glutamate
- the post-synaptic receptors will receive LESS glutamate
Wednesday, Oct 17
1. Why is it easier to see something in the dark if you don't
look directly at it?
- Because of the blind spot
- Because you have few rods in your fovea
- Because the lens focuses peripheral objects more clearly
2. The visual information entering your right eye goes to...
- The left hemisphere of your brain
- The right hemisphere of your brain
- Both hemispheres of your brain
3. What part of the visual system processes simple information
like edges and patterns?
- Primary visual cortex
- Secondary visual cortex
Friday, Oct 19
1. Why would the white area within the receptive field of “A”
be perceived as less bright than “B”?
- More on-center rods are being activated in “A”
- more off-surround rods are being activated in “A”
- there is less total light hitting “A”
Monday, Oct 22
1. (Based on the "Relative Absorption" graph in the Color
If the "middle" cones are being stimulated to 60%, what
wavelength is the light?
- Either Indigo or Green
- Either Red or Green
2. The organ of Corti in the ear is analogous to the _________ of
- Optic nerve
3. How is the auditory system similar to the visual system?
- Stimuli (sounds) from the right side of space are only
processed in the left hemisphere and vice versa
- Information is relayed through the thalamus before getting
to the cortex
- Like retinotopic organization, sounds from adjacent areas in
space will activate adjacent areas on the cochlea
- More than 1 of these is true
Wednesday, Oct 24
1. How does a cochlear implant work?
- Electrodes stimulate areas of the cochlea based on what
frequencies are being presented
- Amplified sound is targeted at the cochlea
- Electrical stimulation increases the sensitivity of the
2. Which is true of the somatotopic organization (in the
primary somatosensory cortex)?
- Sensation from the right side is processed by the left
- Adjacent regions of the body are represented in adjacent
regions of the cortex
- Large body regions have large cortical representations
- 2 out of 3 of these are true
- 3 out of 3 of these are true
I didn't have time to get to this question:
3. The olfactory system is unique among the sensory systems in
A) it is constantly growing new neurons
B) its signals are relayed to the cortex by the thalamus.
C) its signals reach cortical tissue before reaching the thalamus
D) A & B are true
E) A & C are true
Copyright 2012 - Michael Claffey