Monthly Archives: June 2016

Car Wash- Perpetual motion

Have you ever sat in your car as you’re washing your car in a car wash and grab your steering wheel because you thought the car was moving? Me too, I was washing my car in a drive in car wash, the car was set to a parked position yet the rollers provided the feeling of the car moving forward or backwards thus giving the appearance of the car moving.

When you park in the car wash, you know the car is not going to move yet the movement of the rollers deceives the eyes which in turn deceives the mind that the car is moving. Over time, we have been conditioned and have been an automated process that cars move. Also the building has been non-mobile and foundationally nonmoving. The association of the car being the mobile vehicle and not the building conditioned since driving provides reinforcement of the notion that the car is moving.

The condition provides locomotion to the object, car, at rest for the same reason we associate the perception of depth of or location of building or object. This perception alters our perception based on our learned conditioning of what we should expect. We perceive the state of reality from what we know to be real within our boundaries. Hence, a room height is perceived by the normal room height we walk in daily. Yet, if we alter the ceiling height and change the visual perception of the height, it would seem that someone walking the halls of the altered ceiling height is growing.

Thus, based on the normality or expectations of what we know as a norm can be skewed by our mind’s perception of changes not registered by either our eyes or hands. This in the end may throw us off until we see the mechanism or understanding of the cause of the perception modifications. So enter the car wash and enjoy the perception of motion without pressing down on the breaks!


A baby playing with her reflection

A baby playing with her reflection

If you’ve ever seen the Disney movie Mulan, you most likely remember the iconic scene where she ran home after publicly embarrassing herself and her family because of her ordeal with the Matchmaker. During the scene Mulan gazes at her reflection in her family’s lake and questions “Who is the girl I see staring straight back at me? Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?” (Wilder & Zippel, 1998).  We know that Mulan was only speaking metaphorically but there are many people in world who are unable to recognize their own reflections. Some of these people may be suffering from severe prosopagnosia. People with prosopagnosia have suffered damage to the non-auditory part of their temporal lobe  (Goldstein, 2011) but due to the localization of function, damage to other parts of the brain will have various effects on us. I find it so interesting that something so small (compared to the rest of your body) has almost complete control over the way your body functions.

People with prosopagnosia know what faces are, can tell you the characteristics of a face, can recognize voices, but they cannot recognize who the face belongs to. Imagine having a relative who looked at you and couldn’t recognize who you were. When I first heard of prosopagnosia I instantly thought of dementia. In fact, I wondered if it was considered a form of dementia. Unfortunately for me, I found no evidence or articles that supported that idea.  A very popular form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. People with the disease also may have difficulty recognizing faces. However, this is usually due to the deterioration of their memory. This basically means that a person with prosopagnosia may not recognize a person’s face but they will remember other things about the person. A person with Alzheimer’s may recognize a face and then forget who the person is, and then remember again a later time (or not if their memory reaches a certain degenerative point). However, even with those differences apparently there is a rare possibility that someone can have Alzheimer’s and prosopagnosia at the same time (Procopio, 2015).

There are many different things that can happen to you if damage your brain. Depending on the part of your brain that you injure you may impact your sight, hearing, memory, or a number of other things.  Prosopagnosia is one of the many conditions that you may suffer from if you injure your brain. And although it is a really rough condition to live with, people can train themselves to remember key things about their friends and family, such as height and hair color, in order to make their lives a little easier.

Cracking the Neural Code



“Cracking the Neural Code” is the topic I will briefly tackle. I selected the topic because I am in the process of editing a children’s book I wrote, and it presents some information associated with the neural code. I need to internalize the concepts associated with the code and other scientific concepts, and communicate them effectively to my readers.

By definition, the neural code is the representation of specific stimuli or experiences by the firing of neurons. (Goldstein, E. Bruce 2011) So our retina contains neurons called rods and cones, which contain light receptors that harness electromagnetic or light energy, then convert the light energy into electrical signals or action potentials that travel to the brain. “Action potentials facilitate neural communication and cognition.” (Koch and Marcus) So when we see a tree, for an example, we might see it from the perspective of an artist’s rendering in terms of how he or she envisions and perceives the world.

Cracking the neural code entails ‘mapping’ the brain and understanding how the brain communicates with itself. (Koch and Marcus) Therefore, mapping is key to a comprehensive understanding of the regions of the brain, their function(s) in terms of cognition, and relationships with one another. In addition, “neurons are not connected to one another indiscriminately, but form connections with specific neurons.” (Goldstein, Bruce. E). Therefore, this neural circuitry is the navigational feature necessary for brain mapping.

I was fascinated with a code that seems to define me, and which structures a relationship between a physiological process (neuron firing) and “translating the firing of neurons into mental events such as thoughts and emotions. Mapping efforts are based on this concept.” (Lieff, Jon M.D.)

My blog will address (1) why the code is hard to crack, (2) how discovery of a code advances real-world applications in the diagnosis of brain disorders, and (3) the neural codes for faces and long-term memory.

Cracking the code presents an unprecedented challenge because the human brain has 86 billion neurons linked by something on the order of a quadrillion synaptic connections. While we are awake, the action potential rate is 100 trillion per second. (Koch and Marcus)

The impact of and interest in cracking such a code has real-world applications in terms of diagnosing brain disorders. “Neuroscientists can compare differences in ordinary brains vs. the brains of people with disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia as a result of seeing the brain in action, including its flaws.” (Zimmer, Carl 2014) The beauty of such applications is the alleviation of the suffering, stigma, and social and economic impacts of the disorders.

Cracking the code will lead to technological advances in the field of optogenetics. Instead of accepting a form of blindness caused by “optical degenerative disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa,” optogenetics will use a virus gene, injected into the eyeball, to modify the light-sensing retinal cells of the eye. “A camera mounted on glasses would pulse beams of light into the retina and trigger electrical activity in the genetically modified cells, which would directly stimulate the next set of neurons in the signal path—restoring sight.” (Koch and Marcus)

In terms of the neural code for faces, the brain can selectively wire relatively small groups of neurons that represent (code for) something or someone of perceived value. “Recordings from microelectrodes implanted deep inside the brains of epileptic patients revealed single neurons that responded to extremely specific stimuli such as different pictures of actress Jennifer Aniston.” (Koch and Marcus)

Long-term memory is also a brain representation and uses an alternate form of coding. Instead of spikes associated with action potential, long-term memory is encoded by neural re-wiring and re-sculpting of the synapses. (Cooney, Elizabeth)

Re-sculpting is the result of microglia, the brain’s immune cell, which seeks out and destroys debris such as “idle” synapses, “allowing for more precise brain wiring.” (Cooney, Elizabeth)

Cracking the neural code even incrementally suggests a new technological road map that leads to a destination of advanced diagnosis and radical treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The code will partner with neuroengineers in their quest to, for example, enhance cognition in terms of memories as a result of brain implants. The neural code is a powerful tool and collaborator that needs to be understood, revealed, and its information applied to brain disorders that impede cognitive functioning.

Works Cited

Zimmer, Carl. “The Glow of Memory-Courtesy University of Southern California. Secrets of the Brain. The New Science of the Brain. National Geographic. Volume 225- No. 2. Copyright 2014 National Geographic Society. Pg. 39. web 27 June 2016.

Goldstein, Bruce E. “Glossary.” Cognitive Psychology Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. 3rd Edition. Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Copyright 2011, 2008. pg. 402.

Zimmer, Carl. “Secrets of the Brain.” The New Science of the Brain. National Geographic. Volume 225- No. 2. Copyright 2014 National Geographic Society. Pp. 38, 39. web 27 June 2016.

Web Publications

Lieff, Jon, M.D. “Complexity in Searching for the Neural Code.” Searching for the Mind. 12 May 2013. Copyright Jon Lieff 2011. web. 27 June 2016.

Koch, Cristof. Gary Marcus. “Cracking the Brain’s Code.” MIT Technology Review. Biomedicine. 17 June 2014. © 2016. web 27 June 2016.

Cooney, Elizabeth. “Synaptic Sculpting Investigating Microglia.” Harvard Medical School. Home/News/Harvard Medicine/Voices/Synaptic Sculpting. © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. web 27 June 2016. n.d., n. pg.
















Are We Unconsciously Prejudice?

I have recently taken an implicit test that was designed to perceive your unconscious thoughts about European people and African Americans. The test was meant to uncover your implicit belief of certain stereotypes. This test evaluated your association with good words such as love and peace to bad words such as failure and clumsy. Upon evaluating the words as good or bad it then made an association with Europeans and African American faces. The test evaluates how long it takes you to respond to each stimuli and the faster the test is done the less likely you thought about your answers that you keyed in.

I honestly believe that this test is more than just testing our implicit thoughts. I believe this test also test our perception of things unconsciously. Let’s begin with the bottom-up processing begins with our sensory perception, a way to get information to the brain. These sensory perceptions are hearing, seeing, touching, and smelling that emit energy (Elbich, 2016). An example was given in Goldstein’s textbook with a tree. When we perceive the visionaries of a tree neurons are fired off, giving you what corresponds to certain features of a tree (Goldstein, 2011). I believe that the same happens with hearing. When we hear certain things about certain groups we begin to assimilate these to be true, like what we hear on the news and on the radio. This is when top-processing comes into play. This information that is received is processed by present knowledge, expectation, and also the experiences that we are given in the world (Elbich, 2016). The reason this is important to a test like an implicit test is because stereotypes are taught from our expectations from a certain group of people. We also begin to believe those expectations through media, our own interpretation, and our own experiences.

Someone who has not been exposed to many types of people and live more in a suburban area is more likely to follow such stereotypes. My results ended up being that I slightly prefer African Americans over Europeans. I can conclude that these results are so because of my experiences, my environment around me, and the society I have grown up with. I wanted to take this blog outside of the book and relate it to something I believe to be important. If you’d like you are more than welcome to take the test there are many to take including gay vs straight religious vs non religious and so on. I would love to see peoples results.

Elbich, D. (2016). Lesson 3. Retrieved from Canvas/Angel :

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology. Belmont, Canada: Cengage Learning .

Feature Integration Theory

Feature Integration Theory is a very important aspect of modern Psychology an Neuroscience in that it seeks to explain how human beings and other organisms integrate features of objects in the overall perception of said object. Is the entire object put together as one big thing or is it selectively and individually pieced together according to numerous features such as, but not limited to size, color, texture, etc.? This is interesting, especially in regards to complex structures that have a wide variety of components to them selves.
Biologically, different parts of the brain are used to process different things. An example is that vision is processed within the occipital lobe, faces are processed in the temporal lobe, etc. There is even a part of the brain that is specific for direction in regards to physical space and how to get to places. Feature integration theory seeks to understand how the brain does this and how it ultimately brings it all together into a single picture. An important thing to remember is that we technically do not see through our eyes. What we perceive visually is actually our minds replication of what is before us, using color as a means to identify light by its wave lengths. The brain somehow pieces together a perfect picture of all that is before us, with every individual object and all its features displayed prinstinely.
Specific neurons are fired according to various factors. The cones and rods upon our retinas in the backs of our eyes fire according to whatever kind of wave length they detect and color is made through this process once the light is transducted into chemical signals along the optical nerve and into the visual cortex in the occipital lobe. Cones, which function best in bright light, have at least three types that each correspond to either red, blue, or green color, respectively. Also, Studies have shown that at least thirty two areas of the brain become active during visual processing of a stimulus after the light is transducted, which seems to prove the point of feature integration theory that everything is pieced together individually before the final perception is made. The pre-attentive stage is when the object and all its features are analyzed and the focused attention stage is when everything is pieced together and thus, perception is achieved. Although scientists are not sure how all of this works, this seems to be the likely truth about how perception is achieved visually.
Experiments that seem to show that such have helped to pave the way in understanding. The man who pioneered this theory, Treisman, conducted an experiment to showcase it. He showed to numerous subjects a picture involving four objects concealed by two black numbers. The display was flashed for not even a second long and was succeeded by a random-dot masking field that appeared on screen to eliminate “any residual perception that might remain after the stimuli were turned off,” as he explained it. The subjects were to report the black numbers they saw at each location where the shapes had previously been. The results verified Treisman hypothesis. 18% of the time, subjects reported seeing shapes “made up of a combination of features from two different stimuli,” as he explained it even when the stimuli had great differences. Specifically, this result is called illusory conjunction and it is known to occur in various situations. The feature integration theory explains illusory conjunctions; because features are independent of each other during early processing and are not associated with a specific object, they can easily be incorrectly combined both in laboratory settings and in real life situations.

In my own life, vision is something I work with in my practice of gazing. I believe in alternative religion (AND NO, I’M NOT A DEVIL WORSHIPER!) and without going into much detail about my personal beliefs and overall practices, I will recollect one of them (the art of gazing into various substances such as a mirror, a black bowl filled with water, a crystal ball, etc.). The purpose of this and other practices, although not taken seriously by science or by most of the world for that matter, is to allow the mind to perceive insight into the future and the present with regards to various situations and all is made possible by metaphysics. Once one stares into the reflective surface, said one sees all that is reflected in it and all the features of said objects. Initially, they are firm and adamant and detailed with vigor, but as one lets their consciousness and vision fade away, the details begin to fade and one can still recognize some features, but not others. Within a short amount of time, the vision is totally blurred and one is left to the universe to show them what they are trying to gain insight to.  The point of me recollecting this experience (IS NOT TO FREAK EVERYONE OUT!!!!!) is to clarify that oftentimes when one lets their mind fade out gradually and as vision blurs, throughout the process, features also blur while others remain only to blur later on. This seems to support feature integration theory. This, obviously, is not something most people will understand or take seriously, but speaking from my experience as a Neo Pagan, it speaks truth to me.

In conclusion, feature integration theory seeks to explain how our brains piece together individual aspects of objects into one large picture that is what we see. No one is exactly sure of how this happens precisely, but this theory is a great start at uncovering the mystery.

Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 4: Feature Integration theory. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:
Goldstein, B. Sensation and Perception. 1980.

Decision Making- Shoot or Don’t Shoot? A question cops ask every day!

Every day law enforcement officers around the world I faced with the question, should I shoot or should I not.  A split second decision can alter so many lives.   Dutch physiologist Franciscus Donders developed a study that attempted to measure the time it takes for a human to make a decision.  Donders concluded that choice reaction time subtracting by the simple reaction time equaled the reaction time. The fact of the matter is that when police are in out in the field, they do not have time to fully look at all the possibilities of that choice; hesitation could lead to death for them.  I personally am familiar with the question of shoot or don’t shoot because I am a police officer and have been for the last ten years of my life.  What I have learned from firsthand experience is that experience, fear, and environment all play major roles in decision making.

Experience plays a major role in decision making.  In the previous lesson with the Stroop Effect test, the more we practiced or took the test the easier it became.  In law enforcement the more you train, shoot, and experience different types of calls the easier they are to handle.  Recently in the news there has been many stories about officer involved shootings and training.  There have also been many people questioning and Monday morning quarterbacking officers’ decisions.  Below I attached a few links of reporters and civil rights activists participating in shoot or don’t shoot drills.  Las Vegas was able to drop their number of police involved shootings substantially with extra training.

Fear and environment also play a factor in the decisions that we make as humans.  Many people are afraid of the consequences, or backlash.  Many people fear of hurting someone or themselves when making decisions.  There have been many times in my life were I was afraid to make a decision because I did not want to hurt someone, and I am not talking about just on the job but also my personal life.  To give an example I will tell a short story about a call I went on some years ago.  I was about a year out of the academy around 22 years old.  I was sitting in a parking lot inside of my patrol car writing a report.  A guy came up to my window and said “Officer there is a man across the street stabbed in the neck bleeding”.  This guy was homeless and appeared to be drunk so I really was not paying him any attention.  He seemed to be pretty adamant so I got out of my vehicle.  When I exited my vehicle I did not expect what I encountered shortly after that conversation.

As soon as I got out of my patrol car I heard several gunshots, I looked and noticed there was a man shooting what appeared to be an Uzi across the street at a group of people.  The male was firing his weapon while standing next to a gas pump.  The male was also next to a woman and child that were pumping gas at the pump to his left.  I immediately had to make a decision.  Do I fire my gun from across the street and try to hit him? What if I miss? What if I shoot the gas pump and blow it up? What if I miss him and kill the woman or child? All these things were going through my head and I only had a matter of seconds to think about my decision.  The guy’s gun ended up jamming and a foot pursuit ensued and I chased him into the woods about 250 yards. Fear and the environment around me that day controlled my decision to not shoot.

The fact is that with decision making is hard.  There are so many possible outcomes that can come with decisions.  We should never judge, or second guess decisions that people make because we cannot read minds and do not know what they were thinking or feeling at the time.  Everyone brains processes things differently and perspective is everything.  Perception and perspective all depend on the person perceiving the decision at the time.

Below are a few great links and articles that I think you all will enjoy

Top-down and Bottom-up processing in Sarcasm

When discussing the processing of information in the human brain, “top-down” and “bottom-up” processing techniques are often analyzed with regard to visual stimuli. Most of the examples used to explain these processes involve optical illusions and visual tricks, because it is relatively easy to manipulate images and see how visual information could be interpreted in multiple ways. However, top-down and bottom-up processing are also very important to speech perception and audial stimuli, especially with regard to complex language cues like those used in sarcasm.

Bottom-up processing can often be thought of as the more “basic” of information pathways – it simply refers to the way the brain takes input from the outside world, by means of sensory perception, and transforms that information into understandable signals for the rest of the brain to interpret (Elbich, 2016). This input comes in many forms, including light energy for vision, chemical energy for taste and olfaction, or waves of energy for hearing. When I listen to someone speak, the bottom-up processing taking place in my brain uses the energy of the sound waves that are converted to action potentials inside my inner ear and sends those signals to other parts of my brain that subsequently analyze them to associate the sounds with meanings (Goldstein, 2011).

This association of sound and meaning leads into the top-down processing pathway, which takes information from previous experiences and uses that information to analyze new input (Elbich, 2016). In optical illusions, this type of processing would help differentiate similar visual stimuli by using the context of surrounding stimuli and remembering previous uses of the stimuli – for example, the lowercase letter L and capital letter I are very similar characters, but by using the context of words most humans have no problem differentiating the two while reading. Speech works in a similar way, because sound syllables are slightly different depending on a person’s tone of voice and inflections, but humans are still able to understand each other because of the language memory we generate throughout our lives.

The use of more complex language, like sarcasm, adds yet another layer to this type of speech processing – in addition to the basic comprehension of sounds and the analysis of syllables to understand words with meanings, sarcasm requires top-down processing of context clues. These clues can come from body language, tone of voice, and previous experience with individuals’ personalities, all of which help to deduce meaning from words. Comprehending sarcasm also requires a general understanding of the connection between certain voice tones and inflections with emotion and humor. For example, I could say “oh, great!” with an upward inflection at the end of the word “great” to convey enthusiasm and surprise, while a more somber or sarcastic “oh, great…” could be used to express frustration or disappointment. Being able to differentiate between these multiple meanings based solely on these cues requires a great deal of top-down processing, as past experiences with sarcastic phrases and tones need to be used to recognize and categorize new stimuli.

As sound information is processed through the ear and analyzed in the brain, both bottom-up and top-down pathways are activated to interpret sounds and words and associate meanings and feelings to them. The use of these pathways is evident when studying sarcastic language, in which the literal meaning of words being spoken may be different from the intended meaning of those words. These cases require context clues and tone to be analyzed in comparison to past experiences to determine intended meanings, which would not be possible without the combination of top-down and bottom-up processing pathways used in the human brain.



Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 3: Perception. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Website:

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Chapter 2: Cognitive Neuroscience. Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience (3rd ed.)(pp. 23 – 45). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Mirror Neurons


Mirror neurons

Mirror neurons are one of the most important discoveries in the last decade of neuroscience.As we know that the brain consists of 100 billion neurons which are the nerve cells that makes us who we are (Mastin,2009). These neurons communicate electrically to provide us with any cognitive task.I will be talking specifically about mirror neurons which are “A cortical network of areas that enables individuals to understand the meaning of actions performed by others through the activation of internal representations.” (Acharya et al.,2012) When you see a stranger injured you immediately feel pain and hurt, or you see a person crying when facing a loss of a family member suddenly you feel sad and depressed. This ability to instinctively and immediately understand what other people are going through is where mirror neurons are introduced by neuroscientists.

The Experiment behind Mirror neurons is done by the scientist Gales when he observed the premotor cortex of the monkeys and found out that a number of neurons respond both when a monkey performed a goal-oriented task,and when the monkey watched another (human or monkey) perform that task.This lead to the evolution of mirror neurons and neuroscientist tried to base this on the human brain.Regarding humans mirror neurons plays several roles as it appears to allow us to determine other people’s intentions as well as their actions. For example, one area of the mirror neuron system exhibits greater activation in our brains when we observe someone picking up a cup to have a drink than when we watch the same person picking it up to clear it from a table (Mullen,2010).

Moreover, mirror neurons have a huge role in empathy which I found very interesting and it was this topic about empathy that made get to write about mirror neurons.As empathy is the feeling that I get the most and sometimes it could make me forget about myself and focus on other’s problems and issues which I believe is not always right.As I found that Mirror neurons contribute to understanding other’s emotions and sensations which is empathy (Lacaboni,2009). It makes us feel what other’s are going through as if it was our own emotions which emphasize how we are social human beings and we get our positivity and energy from interactions and communicating with the others In fact, “It seems we’re wired to see other people as similar to us, rather than different,” Gallese says. “At the root, as humans, we identify the person we’re facing as someone like ourselves” (Gallese,1998).

Furthermore,studies have found that people with autism—a disorder characterized, in part, by problems during social interactions—appear to have a dysfunctional mirror neuron system. The more severe the symptoms of autism, the less active the mirror neuron system seems to be. Studies have demonstrated that children with autism have difficulties understanding the intention of others on the basis of the action they observe. In order to decide what others are doing, they rely on object meaning or the context in which the action is performed (Williams, et al., 2001).

Finally, it seems clear that mirror neurons are one key to understanding how human beings survive and thrive in a complex social world, says neuroscientist Vittorio Gallese, MD, Ph.D., one of Rizzolatti’s colleagues at the University of Parma.Mirror neurons are in fact still a very new finding in biological psychology and needs more studies and experiments to further understand its capabilities.






Mastin, L. (2010). Neurons & synapses – memory & the brain – the human memory. Retrieved June 28, 2016, from

Gallese, V., & Goldman, A. (1998). Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind-reading. Trends in cognitive sciences, 2(12), 493-501.

Sinigaglia, C., & Rizzolatti, G. (2011). Through the looking glass: self and others. Consciousness and cognition, 20(1), 64-74.

Iacoboni, M. (2009). Imitation, empathy, and mirror neurons. Annual review of psychology, 60, 653-670.


Miall, R. C. (2003). Connecting mirror neurons and forward models. Neuroreport, 14(17), 2135-2137.

Williams, J. H., Whiten, A., Suddendorf, T., & Perrett, D. I. (2001). Imitation, mirror neurons and autism. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 25(4), 287-295.

The Power of Localization of Function

Over the past two weeks, this course has focused on the importance of the brain as the processing center in the human body. We have learned that thanks to our brain, we are able to turn energy from our environment into energy that our brain can understand and use in addition to previously stored knowledge in order to interpret the world around us quite efficiently (Elbich, Lesson 3: Perception). The brain, which is a highly complicated organ, makes all of this possible. Each and every part of the brain serves a special purpose and allows us to be the highly sophisticated animals that we are by constantly taking in information, analyzing it and sending it to other parts of our brain and body (Goldstein, 2011). However, what happens when the brain is not able to pass this information on correctly?

Well, I myself have witnessed such a thing. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous which often disrupts the connections that the brain makes with the rest of the body by damaging the myelin that insulates the nerve fibers and allows for messages in the form of energy to be sent throughout the body via the 180 billion neurons that are found in our brain (Definition of MS; Goldstein, 2011). The degradation of the myelin of different neurons takes places at different times, leaving certain neurons unable to properly send signals to other parts of the brain and body. However, the location of the damaged neurons is key because just as we learned in Chapter 2, many specific areas of the brain serve specific functions. That being said, merely by studying the location of the damage that specific neurons in my mother’s brain have sustained due to this disease, doctors are able to decipher and understand the affects that this has on my mother’s brain function and mobility. For example, she has sustained damage to several neurons in her occipital lobe, which we learned functions as the primary receiving area for vision (Goldstein, 2011). For this reason, she is legally blind in one eye, despite the fact that she has no damage to her actual eye. Instead, she is able to receive the energy from the cones and rods in her eyes and convert them into action potentials that should in theory pass on to other neurons throughout her brain in order to interpret what she is seeing, however these messages are typically not able to pass on due to the lack of insulation that certain neurons have and therefore she is unable to actually pass this information on in her brain therefore making her unable to completely interpret the information she receives from her occipital lobe(Elbich, 2016). Due to the locations of the damage she has sustained, one is able to fully understand where the connections in the brain are cut off, which directly explains the loss of functioning that she experiences in different parts of her mind and body (Elbich, 2016; Goldstein, 2011).

All in all, the brain is an extremely fascinating organism. It has the power to control the human body and mind with much precision, however damage to the brain is somewhat catastrophic because as we have learned in the past two weeks, every part of the brain serves a very specific function and sometimes many functions at once, and damage such as that caused by multiple sclerosis can change the way in which our brain is able to take-in, understand and interpret things about ourselves and the world around us.


Definition of MS. (n.d.). Retrieved on June 27, 2016 from                                                

Elbich, D. (2016) Lesson 3: Perception. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site:   

Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Chapter 2: Cognitive Neuroscience. Cognitive Psychology:                   Connecting Mind, Research and Everyday Experience (3rd ed.)(pp. 23 – 45). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.