Neuropsychology, Brain and psyche, Introduction to...


Brain and psyche

Introduction to scientific knowledge of human mental activity

Scientific knowledge of human mental activity began in the second half of the 19th century. In 1863 IM Sechenov published the work "Reflexes of the Brain," citing convincing proofs of the reflex nature of mental activity. The work of IM Sechenov concentrated the attention of researchers on the material basis of mental processes.

Since that time, many sections of neuroscience have appeared, i.e. the science of the nervous system. If neurologists are trying to penetrate the molecular, cellular and intercellular processes with which the brain interacts with the internal and external environment, the psychologists are more focused on studying the behavioral responses of the organism. At the junction of psychology and other sciences of the brain (primarily neuroscience and neurophysiology), a special branch of psychology - neuropsychology, studying the brain mechanisms of higher mental functions, such as speech, perception or abstract thinking, emerged.

The study of the brain as a body of mental activity, according to the national neuropsychologist AR Luria (1973), is based on the results of the use of three methodological procedures: comparative anatomical studies, data of the physiological method of stimulation of individual parts of the brain or their destruction, functional organization of the human brain - clinical observations of changes in the behavior of patients with local brain damage (with trauma, tumors and other diseases).

In modern natural science, the theory of neuropsychism dominates, according to which the psyche is only in beings possessing the nervous system. Evolution of vertebrate animals on Earth went along the line of complicating the structure and functioning of their brain. The increase in the relative weight of the brain at individual stages of evolution is clearly demonstrated with the help of the Ya. Ya. Roginsky index (the ratio of the square of the brain's weight to the body weight): in the semi-ovary he is 0.13-1.37; in the lower monkeys - 0.56-2.22; in anthropoid apes - 2,03-7,35; in the dolphin - 6.72; the elephant has 9.62; in humans it is 32.0. The figures show how much the human brain occupies in the system of its body and, therefore, in the organization of behavior.

It is important to note that the increase in brain volume and weight is not associated with the growth of the most ancient stem departments, but with the development of large hemispheres. In humans, the cortex of the hemispheres has developed most, with the most intensive formation of new areas of the cortex (neocortex), which are only scarcely indicated in the lower mammals. The ancient cortical areas are paleocortex (cortical formations, not yet separated from the subcortical formations), archcortex (the formation of a two-layered ancient cortex entering the olfactory brain system) and the intercostal cortex (the formations that are transitional between the new and old divisions) in humans constitute only a small part of the cortex.

The human brain can be defined as a highly organized multilevel multisystem and multifunctional education with a multitude of interacting local and general-cerebral elements. General control, coordination and regulation of brain functioning regimes is carried out by a system of intracentral regulation, including various necessary mechanisms and systems of the brain, which ensures the consistency of the brain and ensures, ultimately, complete cerebral and mental activity.

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