Cognitive Function and the Brain
The brain has a major role in the area of cognition. Everything from emotion, problem solving, language, the way we process and categorize memories, and how we learn all stem from the functioning of the brain. This paper will discuss the role of the brain in cognitive functions and describe the impact that Phineas Gage’s accident had on revealing the brain’s role in cognitive function.
Anatomy of the Brain
Cognitive functions derive from the area of the brain known as the cerebrum. The cerebrum is also known as the cerebral cortex and comprises the majority of the brain's mass. It consists of four areas known as the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes. Each area is responsible for a specific task and the majority of these tasks serve a precise cognitive function. The surface of the cerebrum is comprised of nerve cells with fibers running below. These fibers transmit signals throughout the cells and other areas of the brain, and these signal transmissions are regulated by chemicals produced by the nerve cells called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are created by nerve cells and are released when a nerve cell is stimulated. There are at least 75 neurotransmitters that have been discovered through research. Further discussed will be glutamate, GABA, serotonin, acetylcholine, endorphins, and dopamine. Glutamate is the most prominent neurotransmitter and has the ability to excite almost every neuron within the nervous system. Glutamate is also known as glutamic acid and plays an important part in our ability to learn. It is also the opposite of GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) which has an inhibitory affect on the brain and controls anxiety. The Serotonin neurotransmitter’s function is to regulate mood, pain, eating, arousal, and sleep. If you have too little serotonin in your system you will be susceptible to depression and may be prescribed a SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake...
References: Demand Media, Inc. (2013). Cognitive Brain Functions. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/about_5312779_cognitive-brain-functions.html?ref=Track2&utm_source=ask
Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
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