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John Usher (30)

Brain Stem.docx

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PSYC 3325
John Usher

Brain Stem ● Three structures: medulla, pons, and midbrain ● contains neural circuits of neurons that control functions vital to survival of organism in particular and species in general ● medulla – part of brain stem closest to spinal cord; controls vital functions such as heart rate, rate of respiration, blood pressure, crawling or swimming motions ● pons – part of brain stem just anterior to medulla; involved in control of stages of sleep ● midbrain – part of brain stem just anterior to pons; involved in control of fighting and sexual behaviour and in decreased sensitivity to pain during these behaviours Cerebellum ● plays important role in control of movement –  receives sensory information, especially about position of body parts  receives information from cortex of frontal lobes so it knows what movements frontal lobes intend to accomplish  monitors information regarding posture and balance  produces eye movements that compensate for changes in position of head  exhibits plasticity in response to skilled motor movement ■ computer that compares location of body parts with intended movements and assists frontal lobes inexecuting these movements ■ without it movements would be jerky, uncoordinated, and inaccurate  recently discovered that cerebellum may play important role in cognitive abilities ■ cerebellar damage can interfere with ability to speak but involves control of speech muscles ■ PET scans of brain of people working on various cog tasks - discovered that parts of cerebellum became active – even when people not moving Structures within Cerebral Hemispheres The Thalamus: ● thalamus – region of brain near centre of cerebral hemispheres; all sensory information except smell is sent to thalamus then relayed to cerebral cortex  divided into 2 parts – one in each hemisphere ● 2 functions:  parts receives sensory information, parts integrate information and parts assist in control of movement through their influence on neural circuits in brain stem  relay station for cortex: ■ as cerebral hemisphere evolved, cerebral cortex grew in size and its significance for behavioural function increased ■ thalamus took on role of receiving sensory infromation from sensory organs, performing simples analyses, and passing information n to priamry sensory cortex (all sensory information besides olfactory, sent to thalamus before it reaches cerebral cortex) Hypothalamus: ● hypothalamus – region of brain located just above pituitary gland; controls autonomic nervous system and many behaviours related to regualtion and survival (eati
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