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PSYC 526
Imad Mansour

Chapter 1The Origins of NeuroscienceEvidence suggests that even our prehistoric ancestors appreciated that the brain was vital to life o There are archeological records with examples of hominid skulls bearing signs of fatal cranial damage o As early as 7000 years ago people were boring holes in others skulls in attempts to cure headaches and disorders as they assumed it was a method to allow evil spirits to depart from the brainRecovered writings from physicians of Ancient Egypt indicate that they were well aware of many symptoms of brain damage o However it was the heart that was considered to be the seat of the soul and the repository of memoriesViews of the Brain in Ancient Greece o Hippocrates 460379 BC the father of western medicine stated his belief that the brain only was involved in sensation but also was the seat of intelligence o Not universally accepted o Aristotle still believed that the heart was the center of intellect and believed the brain was a radiator for cooling the blood that was overheated by the heartViews of the Brain During the Roman Empire o Greek physician and writer Galen embraced the Hippocratic view of the brain function o His views were influenced by the many sheep brains he had dissected o Two major parts are evident in a sheep brain the cerebrum front and the cerebellum back o He assumed that the soft cerebrum was responsible for memory receiving sensation and that the cerebellum is responsible for commanding muscle movement o Also saw many ventricles in the brain and assumed the old the theory of four vital fluids humors responsible for movements was correctViews of the Brain From the Renaissance to the Nineteenth Century o Galens view prevailed for nearly 1500 years o The notion that fluid is used to pump the muscles was still prevalent o A chief advocate of this fluidmechanical theory was Rene Descartes o However he also reasoned that unlike animals humans possess intellect and a Godgiven soulHe proposed that the brain mechanisms for a human are similar to that of a beast only to a certain extentHe believed that the mind is a spiritual entity that receives sensations and commands movements by communicating with the machinery of the brain via the pineal gland o Scientists began to break away from Galens views o On closer observations the brain was noticed to have gray and white matterWhite matter because it was continuous with the nerves of the body was correctly believed to contain the fibers that bring information to and from the gray matter o By the end of the eighteenth century the nervous system had been completely dissected and scientists realized that it has a central division consisting of a brain and spinal cord and a peripheral division with networks of nerves that course through the body
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