PYB100 Week Five Lecture Notes.docx

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Dr.Julie Hansen

Week 5 – Biological Basis of Mental Processes and Behaviour Notes for Exam CHAPTER 3 – p.96 – 99, 102 – 117 Human Nervous System: the biological basis for psychological experience  Consists of the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) and Central Nervous System (CNS) Peripheral Nervous System:  Carries information to and from the CNS around the body  Has two subdivisions – somatic and autonomic Somatic Nervous System:  Basically interacts with all the outside environment – temperature, touch taste etc.  Conveys sensory information to the CNS via afferent nerves (Afferent = IN the CNS)  Carries out motor commands given by the CNS via efferent nerves (Efferent = OUT the CNS)  Usually carries out voluntary actions Autonomic Nervous System:  Basically our body’s internal environment – breathing, hormones, digestion etc.  Information about internal organs etc send to the CNS via nerves are afferent nerves  Information sent from the CNS back to organs etc via nerves are efferent  Serves basic life functions such as breathing and digesting  Mostly involuntary actions  Consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems Sympathetic Nervous System:  Response to threats – i.e. fight or flight  Also related to other intense responses i.e. ejaculation  Stops digestion and redirects blood flow to muscles in preparation for fight or flight  Dilates pupils, increases heart rate etc.  Responsible for unwanted reactions such as sweating when nervous Parasympathetic Nervous System:  Supports more routine, ‘usual’ activities such as regulating blood and salivating  Resumes control and calms body particularly after a sympathetic reaction  Balances out the effects of sympathetic reaction – i.e. returns heart rate to normal  Maintains and stores the body’s resources Central Nervous System:  Directs psychological and basic life functions  Responds to stimuli  Consists of the brain and the spinal cord The Spinal Cord  Carries out reflexes all over body  Provides a passage for the transmission of information to and from the brain to the body  Sensory information enters the back of the spine (dorsal) via sensory fibres  Motor neurons transmit this information to the periphery via the front (ventral) of the spine  Different segments relay information to different parts of the body  When severed, all levels below the injury experience loss of feeling and paralysis as they can no longer communicate with the brain The Brain  Divided into three main parts: the hindbrain, the midbrain and the forebrain Hindbrain  Includes the medulla oblongata, the cerebellum, parts of the reticular formation and the pons  The hindbrain links the spinal cord to the rest of the brain  Sustains life by controlling the supply of air and blood to the cells and regulates arousal levels o Medulla oblongata  Links the spinal cord (and hence most of body) with brain  Lowest part of brain and very small  Essential to life – controls heartbeat, circulation, and respiration  Cannot survive if medulla is destroyed  Bundles of axons cross over in medulla hence damage to right side of brain = effects on left side of body o Cerebellum  Coordinates fine muscle movement, balance, speech and some cognitive processes o Reticular formation  Network of neurons extending from the bottom of medulla to the to upper end of the midbrain  Major functions are to maintain consciousness, regulate arousal levels  Reticular damage can affect sleep patterns and ability to concentrate. Damage often causes coma Midbrain  Includes the tectum and tegmentum  The tectum is involved in vision and hearing and helps orient to visual and auditory stimuli with eye and body movements  Even when the tectum is damaged, people can still see stimuli or their presence but not identify them  Thus the issue of blindsight – people think they are blind but can still respond to visual stimuli  The tegmentum is mainly related to movement  Midbrain structures also include neural circuits which identify punishment and rewards and the stimuli associated with them Forebrain  The forebr
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