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Paul Broca, a French physician, anatomist and anthropologist treated a patient now known as “Tan” who with the exception of some curse words could only create the utterance “tan” when he tried to speak. Broca was inspecting the patients brain, discovered a specific area of the lateral frontal cortex now known as Broca’s area was damaged.He concluded that Broca’s areas was an important processing center for language production.
Supporters of empiricist views included philosophers such as George Berkeley an Irish bishop who denied the existence of material substance suggesting objects we interact with are only ideas in the minds of the perceivers, and John Locke, an English philosopher who founded the study of theory of mind which bread modern conceptions of identity and the self, while supporters of nativism included Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher who argued that the human mind creates the structure of human experience and that the world as it is, is independent of humanities concepts of it.
These arguments in philosophy would later lead to important advancements by way of two discoveries in the 19th century by Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke.
This area of the brain is what we now refer to as Wernicke’s area and these two findings together provided important evidence for theories related to functional localization within the brain, a theory separate from previous ideas related to the study of phrenology.
Around the turn of the 20th century, experimental research stemming out of the first experimental labs of Wilhelm Wundt and Ernst Weber in German, and Charles Bell in Britain lead to the experimental study of behavior beginning with Edward Thorndike’s Law of Effect (1898) which describes how behavior can be shaped by conditions and patterns of reinforcement.
Again, we see that even a subcomponent of cognition, such as thinking, still represents somewhat of an umbrella term which can be broken up into groups of processes and procedures that make up our thinking.
Definitions are not universally accepted, and some groups within psychology consider cognition and thinking as the same group of processes.
Imagine all of your thoughts as if they were physical entities, swirling rapidly inside your mind.
How is it possible that the brain is able to move from one thought to the next in an organized, orderly fashion?
The infinite amount of sub routines we organize every day to make up larger behaviors such as driving, operating machinery, participating in sports or even holding conversations (all relatively new behaviors in terms of evolution of a species) go unnoticed but together allow us to navigate our environment safely and efficiently.
There are facets to the multitude of complex processes involved in human cognition and what we understand about animal thought processes.