PSYB65H3 Lecture Notes - Cerebral Cortex, Reticular Formation, Hindbrain

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18 Nov 2012
Lecture 1
- nervous system broken up into CNS and PNS
- CNS => brain and spinal cord
- PNS => all the other nerves going out from the brain and the spinal cord
- this course focuses on the brain in the CNS only
- in certain aspects the human brain is identical to other mammals, eg rats, mice – in terms of overall organization
Overall Organization of the Brain
- broken down into forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain
1. hindbrain/brainstem => continuation of the spinal cord,
base of the brain; fairly simple
=> major components are cerebellum and medulla
Cerebellum: involved in sensorimotor integration
integrates sensory input w motor output; allows for balance,
ability to maneuver, prevents falling, damaged cerebellum
ppl stagger (look drunk)
=> ability to stand erect on 2 limbs
Medulla: basic life processes – heart rate, respiration; critical
for life
2. midbrain => contains reticular formation – number of
different nuclei
=> involved in sleep/wake cycles, waking up and going to
=> damage leads to continuous sleep => coma
3. forebrain => most anterior portion, contains most of the
brain mass in humans
=> human evolution favoured the forebrain
Thalamus: large central portion; major relay centre in
humans and higher mammals
=> info from every sensory system in the body stops in the thalamus and relayed to the appropriate area in the cortex
Hypothalamus: beneath the thalamus; controls less primitive life functions – keep the species alive, eg thirst, hunger,
territoriality, sexual behaviour; feel good part of the brain (4 F's: Finding, Feeding, Fighting, Fucking - sexual reproduction)
Limbic system: amygdala and hippocampus, part of hypothalamus; emotions and emotionality, eg love, passion, hatred, etc
Neocortex/cerebral cortex: most anterior structure, curves back and covers the entire brain; involved in higher brain
functions/intellectual functions, approx 80-85% of the brain, eg. speech, reasoning, intelligence, info processing
=> specific only to humans – only species that have higher intellectual functions
Evolution of the Brain
- pertaining to human brain evolution – all species evolved
to the best of their abilities
- animals that were preyed upon developed nuclei that were
able to process info from their envt, eg visual info
=> dogfish, turtle, goldfish - at the anterior portion of the
nervous system, bumps of excess neurons that are associated
with particular processes, eg skin sensation, visual
- forebrain bigger in the rat and much bigger in humans
- humans developed very large cortex, cerebellum not much
bigger than other animals
- elephants have largest cortex, but by body weight dolphins
are #1, humans are #2
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