Examine one interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of behaviour. Evaluate two relevant studies.
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In this essay, I will be exploring the hypotheses of the interaction between cognition and physiology in terms of amnesia. I will first define the key terms that are relevant to this essay: cognition is the mental process of acquiring and processing knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Cognitive processes include perception, attention, language, memory and thinking. Physiology is the internal, biological mechanisms of living organisms – the way the organism functions. Amnesia can be defined as the inability to learn new information or retrieve information that has already been stored in memory – in short; it is the condition in which people lose their ability to recall information. Amnesia is an example of an interaction between biological and cognitive factors.
There are several different causes of amnesia, for example; injuries, drugs (specifically, sedatives), strokes etc. As stated before, there is a biological factor that directly interacts with amnesia. This is because it is caused by the damage in the hippocampi region in the brain. Thus resulting in influencing cognition, especially in the mental process of memory. There were several studies on the interaction between cognition and physiology in relevance to amnesia and how it damages the brain.
Varga-Khadem et al did one of the most popular researches to do with amnesia and brain damage. The experiment took place in 1997 and it was done on 2 patients – Beth & Jon – who both suffered bilateral hippocampal damage in early life before developing semantic memories. Both of them still attended school and their academic abilities were in the ‘normal’ range. Varga-Khadem at al tried to prove that episodic and semantic memory is separate and...
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...siological cause occurring in the brain and the cognitive process of memory. The theory that there are correlations between brain areas and memory damage to these relevant areas results in memory impairment were proven by the case studies that were explained above (Varga-Khadem et al & Milner and Scoville). We have also gathered that there are two types of amnesia – anterograde and retrograde. Antero meaning ‘new’ is the impairment in ability to recall new information after the onset and retro meaning ‘old’ is the impairment in ability to recall old information before the onset. This was supported by HM who only suffered anterograde amnesia, as he could remember childhood memories but could not remember what happened immediately before the surgery. Therefore, the theory that there is direct interaction between the physiology and cognition has been proven to be true.