skogs012: February 2012 Archives

The corpus callosum is a band of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  A corpus callosotomy is a surgery that severs the corpus callosum, therefore preventing nerve impulses from being transmitted between the hemispheres.  Now you're probably wondering what kind of surgeon would do such a thing.  A mad scientist, or perhaps an extensive research laboratory?  Actually, this isn't quite the case.  While this is an extreme surgical procedure, corpus callosotomies are used in the treatment of severe, debilitating cases of epilepsy that generally don't respond to medical treatment.  When seizures occur in both hemispheres of the brain, the seizures can be very dangerous and difficult to manage.  If medications don't prevent the seizures, this procedure may be the only option to prevent seizures being transmitted throughout hemispheres.  While a corpus callosotomy is not the best option, the surgery is generally effective, and has very few side effects.  While the surgery is effective, it does not stop the seizures all together, and the patient will still need to take anti-seizure medications.  Also, when the hemispheres are split, there are sometimes difficulties with the patients being able to find the words for some objects.   

Chapter 11, Emotion and Motivation, describes how our emotions and motivations influence our thoughts and actions. Emotions; mental states or feelings associated with our evaluation of our experiences; influence us to respond in specific ways, and to make decisions in our everyday lives. Chapter 11 discusses emotions, how we express them, where emotions originate from, and how cultures view emotions. It explains the various theories (cognitive, James-Lange, somatic marker, Cannon-Bard, two-factor) of how emotion and action coincide. The general consensus is that the James-Lange theory, that emotions result from bodily actions, seems to be the most accepted in the psychology world.

This chapter also discusses happiness, and the misconceptions based on general opinions. The misconceptions are that happiness is determined by what happens to us, money makes us happy, happiness decreases with age, and people from the West Coast are happiest. All of these assumptions are inaccurate. What makes people the happiest (which could be due to correlation of success) include: marriage, friendships, attending college, religious beliefs, political affiliation, exercise, gratitude, giving to others, and having a life that flows smoothly. With affective forecasting, a technique we use to predict the happiness of ourselves and others, we are consistently wrong. Instead, it is better to get to know someone in order to determine their happiness, which is important within motivation. Happiness is a strong motivation, which is a drive that leads us in certain directions. A general consensus is that our motivations generally coincide with Maslow's hierarchy (above) , though this is just a generalization, or a rough template. The basics of chapter 11 describe emotions, happiness, motivations, love, hatred and the importance of emotions and motivations in our daily lives.

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