Higher mental functions

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Higher mental functions

Consciousness includes sensory perception, the initiation and control of voluntary motion and the higher mental processing functions.


Defined as the ability to recall thoughts.

Learning is considered as the response to a novel situation in such a way that when confronted subsequently by a comparable situation, that the behaviour is modified in such a way as to make its response more appropriate. Memory is the retention over time of the change in behaviour or acquired knowledge.

Two stages:
short term memory (appears to rely largely on the integrated action potentials in certain areas of the brain)
long term memory (appears to require some change in either cell structure or composition)

Nature of memory is not fully known

Includes several abilities (reading, writing, speaking and understanding) – each is assigned to different parts of the cerebral cortex.

Wernicke’s area:
• responsible for recognition of spoken and written language
• usually in lateral hemisphere, posterior to lateral sulcus
• receives visual and auditory input from primary sensory cortex
• formulates phrases that are developed from learned rules of grammar  transmits a plan of speech to Broca’s area

Broca’s area is in inferior prefrontal cortex  generates motor program for speech (for muscles of larynx, tongue and lips)  program is sent to primary motor cortex that executes it via the lower motor neurons to the relevant muscles

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Page last updated: @ 8:04 pm

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