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Psychology notes - neuroscience (Dolderman)

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

Neuroscience September-21-11 8:39 PM Neurons: consciousness as an emergent property - One ant is no ant, but if there's a million ants is a viable community of organisms that exhibits coordinated,self-directed behaviour, they behave differentlytogether than when they're by themselves individually - Similarly, one neuron is no neuron, because neurons need to communicate with each other for thoughtsto be processed, if there's only one neuron,it cannot do anything, 100 billion neurons is you, and it is the interactionsbetween the neuronsthat makes you who you are - Neurons are communication devices through chemical neurotransmitterswhich influence the electric potential Interneurons - Interneuronsvastly outnumber motor and sensory neurons - Interneuronsfacilitate within the central nervous system transmission of information Structures of a neuron - Dendrites: receive information from other neurons and transmit towards the cell body - Cell body: keeps the neuron alive and determines whether it will fire - if its electrical potential is strong enough (threshold potential) - Axon: extending fibre that conducts impulses away from the cell body - Myelin sheath: fatty insulation that may surround the neuron'saxon - speed up the transfer of electric signals - Axon terminals: receive the action potential from the axon and are involved in transmittingthat information on to other neurons through release of neurotransmittersinto the synaptic cleft which is connected with the dendrites of other neurons Key neurotransmitters and their primary functions - Glutamate: excitatory; cognitive, seizures, motivation - GABA: inhibitory,seizures, anxiety; ex. Anti-anxietymeds help GABA bind more effectively to post-synapticreceptors - Acetylcholine: PNS vs. CNS; muscle/motor vs. higher cognition(learning,memory), plasticity, Alzheimer's - Epinephrine/norepnephrine: fundamentalarousal/alertnessfacts - Serotonin: mood, emotion, motivation,impulse control - Dopamine: reward (+ motor facts, planning and many higher level interactionswith cognitive facts) In a sense, you are the plaything of chemical gods inside your brain - What guides what we do? Every day, we make choices of action, some of them conscious reasons, most out of unconscious habit. But what guided the formation of those habits and what pulls us towards making certain choices now? ○ Hedonism - largely dopamine (neurotransmitter)  Dopamine: practically universal pleasure mechanism… and the common bond among drugs of enjoyment, experimentation,and abuse ○ The chemical kick we get out of it Reward circuitry(dopamine) - Depression,learned helplessness, addictions, compulsive behaviours, motivation - Depression,learned helplessness, addictions, compulsive behaviours, motivation - VTA (Ventral Tegmental Area) - VTA releases dopamine into N.A., amygdala, PFC, etc., then activating of motor and attentionalsystems Holism - localization - Holism: the brain works through the communication of many systems; specific thoughts,memories, skills, etc. are distributed throughoutthe brain, and there is some functional redundancy - Localization: BUT areas of the bran do become specialized for certain tasks, ex. Sensory cortices, emotional systems - Most complex processes are distributedacross many sub-systems governing sub- processes Where are YOU?? - It's the physical and sociocultural environmentssurroundingyou, which continually create and reinforce patternsin your brain - And within the brain, you arise because of the interconnectednessof many functioning subsystems. Just think of the profound changes that happen when you knock out a specific system Neurological-perceptualproblems - Blindsight - phenomenon where a per
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