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University of Toronto Scarborough
Janelle Leboutillier

PSYB64: Introduction to Physiological Psychology Lecture 1: Introducing Biological Psychology Lecture Overview • Biological psychology as a field • Historical perspectives • Research methods • Ethics Biological Psychology as an Interdisciplinary Field • Biological psychology o “the branch of psychology that studies the biological foundation of behavior, emotions, and mental processes” – (Pickett, 2000) • Draws on techniques and theories from psychology, biology, physiology, biochemistry, the neurosciences, and related fields How Biological Psychology Relates to Other Fields of Study Historical Highlights in Biological Psychology • People have been studying this field for a very long time • Prehistoric Brain Surgery o Trepanation: they drill a hole into the brain with the goal of letting out demons • The Reflex According to Descartes o We have the experience of placing our hand on a hot item and quickly withdraw from it o He thought when your nerves got exposed to the heat, the pain would travel to the brain and the pores in the brain to open and they thought animal spirits were escaping through (this is why you moved your hand away quickly) • Phrenology o Different parts of your personality may be laid out on the brain in specific region and size What do you know about physiological/ biological psychology? • Fact or fiction? • Some human nerve cells are 3 feet long: TRUE • Nerve impulses travel at the speed of light: FALSE • More people die each year from the use of legal drugs than illegal ones: TRUE • Only humans ingest mind-altering substances: FALSE • Our bodies make chemicals that are similar in structure to heroin and marijuana and act on the same sites in the brain: TRUE • Testosterone is made only by males, and estrogen is made only by females: FALSE • Only humans have created cultures: FALSE • Once our brains are developed, we can never grow new nerve cells: FALSE • Dogs are colour-blind: FALSE • Each side of the brain controls muscles on the opposite side of the body: TRUE • There are no anatomical differences between men's and women's brains: FALSE • In some animal species every individual is female. In some other species, individuals can change sex during their lifetimes: TRUE • Some people are "born gay": UNCERTAIN • Most of our energy is expended just maintaining our body temperature: TRUE • We can lose weight permanently by surgically removing fat from our bodies: FALSE • Sleepwalkers are acting out dreams: FALSE • Prolonged sleep deprivation will make you temporarily crazy: FALSE • Some animals can have half their brain asleep and the other half awake: TRUE • The left side of the face is more emotionally expressive than the right side: TRUE • Prolonged stress can cause heart disease: TRUE • All cultural groups recognize the same facial expressions for various emotions: UNCERTAIN • Scientists are not sure why antidepressant drugs work: TRUE • We never really forget anything we have experienced: UNCERTAIN • Each memory is stored in its own brain cells: FALSE • We can change the structure of an animal's brain by raising it in a more stimulating environment: TRUE • Some brain disorders cause people to lose the ability to recognize faces. In other disorders, patients are unable to name only certain kinds of animals or certain kinds of food: TRUE Research Methods in Biological Psychology • Histology o The study of microscopic structures and tissues o Provides means for observing structure, organization, and connections of individual cells o Microtome machine and specialized stains • Autopsy o Examination of the body after death o Correlational method that must be interpreted carefully and precisely Histology • Cut small piece of the brain and section it thinly and look under a microscope for cells • Fix the tissue and close to living state and see how it is organized • E.g. of histology • Golgi stain cell o Taken through the hippocampus o You can see a black cell o Many dendrite branches coming off the cell o Unique stain o Researcher Golgi: using a variety of chemicals, primarily silver nitrate and osmium dichromate ; he could strain specific cells o Black cells stain only occurs in 1/700-1400 cells o Do not know why the black cells stain • Nissl stain o Six distinctive layers o Darker layers = more cells o Does not stain axon or dendrites o Stains the cell body o Looking at the distribution of cells o Good to look at if a certain cell region was damaged o Best to look at atrophy • Electron microscope o Piece of brain tissue o Two separate cells @ 80 000x magnify o Black area called myelin cell Horseradish Peroxidase Provides a Method for Identifying Neural Pathways • Injected into the thalamus, specifically the lateral geniculate nucleus • Pathway becomes darker • The stain will enter the cell body, especially in the retina Research Methods in Biological Psychology  Imaging o Can watch living brain as it behaves o Types of imaging technologies:  Computerized Tomography (CT)  Positron Emission Tomography (PET)  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) • Functional MRI (fMRI) CT Scans (Figure 1.7) • An imaging technique in which computers are used to enhance X-ray images PET Scans Show Patterns of Brain Activation (Figure 1.8) • PET scans show a clear picture of brain activity but not much structural detail • What is going on in the brain when someone is doing a task (e.g., visual, listening, or problem-solving tak) • Red and yellow are most active fMRI Tracks Cerebral Blood Flow • MRI is an imaging technique that provides very high resolution of structural images • fMRI assesses the activity of the brain • We can see the sulci and gyri • When stimulation occurs, there is activity in that particular brain region Visual Mind Reading • Used fMRI • Can be used to combine info what we learned through animals and histology contribution to the brain • We can find a way to read a person's mind through fMRI Research Methods in Biological Psychology • Recording o Record electrical and magnetic output from the brain o Electroencephalogram (EEG)  Provides information about the relative activity of large groups of neurons close to the surface  Specialized use of EEG technology representing the brain's response to environmental stimuli  Evoked potentials o Magnetoencephalography (MEG)  Measures the brain's tiny magnetic output o Single-cell recordings  Allows researchers to observe the responses of individual neurons Video Clips • Using EEG to Predict AD • Using new computer software that analyzes EEG data, psychiatrists can now better distinguish early signs of Alzheimer's from normal aging, by spotting marked differences between the left and right sides of the brain. • Evoked Potentials Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Research Methods in Biological Psychology • Brain Stimulation o Artificially stimulating areas of the brain with electricity or magnetism and watching for resulting behavior o Can be applied during neurosurgery o Transcranial magnetic stimulation o Most stimulation research has been conducted with laboratory animals • Lesion o Injury to neural tissue o Naturally occurring o Deliberately produced Recording Electrodes Surgically Implanted in a Rat’s Brain • Recording the behaviour of the animals • Shows the recording of the activity • Particularly useful in recording specific place cells in the hippocampus Lesion Research Methods in Biological Psychology • Biochemical Methods o Use of chemical stimulation and microdialysis • Genetic Methods o Twin studies o Adoption studies o Studies of genetically-modified animals • Stem Cells o Undifferentiated cells that can divide and differentiate into other types of cells o Twin Research Research Ethics • Mechanisms for protection of human participants and animal research subjects o Federal government and the Common Rule o University review and institutional review boards o Publication process and review Research Ethics • Human Participant Guidelines o Coercion of research participants is unacceptable o Benefits to participants should not be “excessive or inappropriate” o Participants must be informed that they can leave without penalty at any time o Participants must be told enough about the experiment to make an informed decision about participating o Participants must receive contact information in case they have questions o Participants must be assured their data will be confidential Research Ethics • Animal Subjects Guidelines o Necessity of research o Basic care and housing o Experimental procedures should cause as little pain and distress as possible • Emerging Issues in Research Ethics o Ethics of research on the internet o Ethics of stem cell research In Summary • Studying the brain is exciting and new technology is enhancing our understanding • Next week o Anatomy and evolution of the NS PSYB64: Introduction to Physiological Psychology Lecture 2: The Anatomy and Evolution of the Nervous System Lecture Overview • Anatomical Directions and Planes of Section • Protecting and Supplying the NS • The CNS • The PNS • Evolution of the Brain and Nervous System Anatomical Directions (Planes of reference to a specific point) • Rostral or anterior = Head end of four legged animal • Caudal or posterior = Tail end of four legged animal • Inferior or ventral = Towards the belly • Superior or dorsal = Towards the back Anatomical Directions (Figure 2.1) • Human being, we are bipedal • There is a 90 degree turn at the top of the spine where the brain comes in • 90 degree twist where the brain is; different from when we look at a rodent, which we would look straight across the spinal cord and the brain would be lined up • Using the 90 degree twist at the brain for humans: o Ventral/inferior = base of the brain o Dorsal/superior = top of the brain o Rostral/anterior = towards the eyes o Caudal/posterior = towards the back • Proximal = close to • Distal = far away (e.g. fingers are distal to the spinal cord) • Lateral =toward the sides • Medial = toward the middle Three Customary Orientations for Viewing the Brain and Body (3 cuts made to the brain) 1. Horizontal plane o aka transverse cut o Cutting the brain in half o Cut in terms of the long-length 2. Sagittal plane o Cut right through the centre along the longitudinal fissure o Cut from top to bottom o Para-sagittal: cut off-centre 3. Coronal plane o aka frontal cut o Cutting from the front to the back of the brain Protecting and Supplying the Nervous System • Meninges o Three distinct layers of meninges provide protection of the brain • Cerebrospinal Fluid o Secreted in hollow spaces in the brain known as ventricles o Circulates through ventricles, subarachnoid space, and central canal of the spinal cord • Blood Supply o Brain receives nutrients through the carotid arteries and vertebral arteries The Skull and Three Layers of Membrane Protect the Brain (Figure 2.3) 1. DURA MATER o Underneath the hair o Tough, rigid layer o Thick layer withhold damage 2. ARACHNOID MEMBRANE o Typically includes the subarachnoid space o Spongy layer o Arachnoid trabeculae: web-like structure o Full of cerebrospinal fluid o Blood vessels found here that supply nutrient to this region 3. PIA MATER o Light purple layer in diagram o Follows all the convolution of the brain o Not tough, not rigid o Follows every gyri and sulci in the brain o Easily damaged o Protects the cortex o Brain adheres closely to pia mater Cerebrospinal Fluid Circulates Through the Ventricles, Spinal Cord and Subarachnoid Space (Figure 2.5) • Cavities in the brain where there are no brain tissue • Flowing through the ventricular system is cerebrospinal fluid which carries nutrients and helps buffer the brain • Ventricular system highlighted in grey/blue in left image • 2 large lateral ventricles, 1 found in each hemisphere in the brain • There is a 3rd ventricle and 4th ventricle which connect with the central canal • All comprise the ventricular system, filled with fluid, • We have approx 120 ml of cerebrospinal fluid in our brain; it changes over 3x a day o Roughly 300-500 ml change-over each day o Constantly being changed over o Sometimes there is a blockage, where one of the ventricles gets blocked, so a shunt is needed to allow the flow o A back-up of fluid can cause an enlargement and damage the brain • Lateral ventricles are also known as ventricles 1 and 2 • CSF is produced in these ventricles, produced in a structure referred to as choroid plexus (black gummy structure) o This produces CSF o CSF flows through these ventricles and down through the spinal cord region in the meninges and through the arachnoid membrane and subarachnoid o Providing nutrients and buffering throughout the brain • The spinal cord, there are 3 layers of meninges as well (dura mater, arachnoid membrane, and pia mater) found in the CNS • The PNS doesn't have 3 layers, it only has 2, because the arachnoid membrane is missing (only seen is the dura and pia mater) The Ventricular System • Abnormalities: 7. Brain Anomaly and Plasticity: Hydrocephalus • Hydrocephalus, a childhood disorder of excess fluid in the brain (large ventricles), illustrates brain plasticity — the brain's amazing ability to rebound after injury. While patients with this disorder experience compression and destruction of brain tissue early in life, many are able to function normally later in life, after their brains have compensated for the loss • Dr. John Lorber (University of Sheffield, England) compares the brain of a normal child with that of a hydrocephalic to illustrate the enormous difference in the size of the ventricles. In the hydrocephalic, ventricular expansion compresses the cerebral cortex, which leads to a loss of brain mass. In the past, hydrocephalus was untreatable, but today infants can be helped through a sh
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