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The Cerebral Cortex Module 12 12-1 What are the functions of the various cerebral cortex regions? • The people who first dissected brains used Latin & Greek to names parts….. Cortex means “bark” • Cerebral cortex = brain bark (If you don’t think that’s awesome, there’s NO hope for you!) • While the older brain networks sustain basic function, the newer neural networks are specialized work teams that enable us to perceive, think, speak, & learn Structure of the Cortex • Glial cells – “glue” cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, & protect neurons • If neurons = queen bees, then glial cells = workers Subdivisions of the cortex (lobes) Motor & Sensory Cortex • Autopsies of people who had been paralyzed or unable to speak discovered damages to key areas of the cortex. • Scientists then began experimenting with electrical stimulation of animal brains & found selective control related to one area (Fritsch & Hitzig) • Foerster & Penfield mapped this motor cortex using wide-awake patients This is what you look like according to your brain! So what? • Delgado (1969) showed that left hemisphere controls right side of body despite patient attempts to control responses • “I guess, Doctor, that your electricity is stronger than my will.” • Brain-computer interfaces & cognitive neural prosthetics https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRjU7KM_ PB0 Association Areas Phineas Gage • Damage to association areas can alter personality & higher mental functions The danger of “Neo-phrenology” • Research has shown that some specialization in neural networks (e.g. Broca’s, Wernicke’s, face recognition) • We must be wary of brain “hot spots” leading us to believe that complex function can be localized Our mental experiences arise from coordinated brain activity. 12-2 To what extent can a damaged brain reorganize itself, and what is neurogenesis?