The Other Side of Dr. Xeno's Brain

It's me, Dr. Xeno. Here are lecture notes and ideas for my work teaching physical and cognitive development across the lifespan (HDEV 3101) at the Department of Human Development at CSU, East Bay. This content is often referred to as mind-brain, mind body connection, brain and behavior; but it is really about the knowledge derived from the related fields of neurology, neuropsychology, neuroscience and cognitive science. Sometimes I just write about my kids or bike racing. Feel free to comment!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Intro and Overview of HDEV 3101

"Week 1" for HDEV 3101
Outline below includes relevant concepts. (i.e., 'quizable', or important for building upon later)

A psychological perspective on physical and cognitive development across the life span.

Definition of psychology?

Definition(s) of 'human development'? (my favorites; 1) a process, 2) a field of study, a certain perspective or academic approach, 3) and academic department housed in CLASS at CSUEB).

What are humans? Animals - sub-species (homo sapiens sapiens); each human is an organism, made of organ systems/organs/tissues/cells.

What conceptual categories of change can we observe:

QuickTime brain growth

What is neuropsychology?

Basic functions of the brain/nervous system?
Branches of neuropsychology - main distinction is EXPERIMENTAL vs. CLINICAL

Two major conceptual issues arise:
- An inference is almost always required when correlating behavior with brain
-The mind-body question/problem (monism, dualism and lots of sub-types)
Emergent materialism; in particular, we a complex system, a 'biosystem', similar to an ecosystem.

-a 3rd issue is determinism by way of genetics/"nature", but should NOT lose sight of the fact the the brain develops in a context - an environment that "nurtures" by way of stimulation.

Five features of the historical background of neuropsychology:
1. Ancient record, archeological evidence
2. Classical Greece, philosophical but also medical foundation
3. Phrenology (1830), reading the bumps
4. Localization theory - Broca's area (1860).
Versus equipotentiality
5. Interactionist theory (Jackson) - sort of how we ended up with a 'biosystem' concept

Related - COGNITIVE SCIENCE and information processing theory - views the mind-brain as a machine, specifically a computing device. Will end up suing this information processing perspective often during the quarter. But keep in mind, you are NOT a machine! you are an animal!