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2. Biological Basis

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PSYC 1101

Biological Basis Neural communication Biological psychology Branch of psych concerned with the links between biology and behavior Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists Neuron A nerve cell The basic building block of the nervous system Dendrite – receiving part Axon – sending part Myelin sheath – increases transmission speed of a signal Action potential – electrical charge that stimulates communication Synapse – space between sending and receiving cell Neurotransmitters – chemical messengers that travel from sending to receiving cell over synapse Neurotransmitters Acetylcholine Function: enables muscle action, learning, and memory Malfunctions: undersupply, as Ach-producing neurons deteriorate, mark’s Alzheimer’s disease Dopamine Function: influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion Malfunctions: excess dopamine receptor activity linked to schizophrenia, starved of dopamine, the brain produces the tremors and decreased mobility of Parkinson’s disease Seratonin Function: affects mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal Malfunction: undersupply linked to depression; Prozac and some other antidepressant drugs raise serotonin levels Norepinephrine Function: helps control alertness and arousal Malfunction: undersupply can depress mood GABA Function: a major inhibitory neurotransmitter Malfunction: undersupply linked to seizures, tremors, and insomnia Glutamate Function: a major excitatory neurotransmitter; involved in memory Malfunction: oversupply can overstimulate brain, producing migraines or seizures (which is why some people avoid msg, monosodium glutamate, in food) Agonist Binds a receptor site and triggers an action in the cell that the receptor is located on Mimics neurotransmitter Antagonist Blocks neurotransmitter Binds to receptor but blocks any action at that receptor The nervous system The body’s speedy electrochemical communication system Central- brain and spinal cord Peripheral- sensory and motor neurons that connect central nervous system to the rest of the body Autonomic-controls self-regulated actions of internal organs and glands Sympathetic- arousing (anxiety) Parasympathetic- calming (relaxing after anxiety) Takes longer than sympathetic Skeletal- controls voluntary movements of skeletal muscles Nerves- part of the peripheral nervous system Connect CNS with muscles, glands, and sense organs’ Consist of axons Sensory neurons Neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the CNS Interneurons CNS neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs Motor neurons Carry outgoing information from the CNS to muscles and glands Somatic nervous system The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s skeletal muscles Reflex A behavior that you can observe that can’t be controlled Endocrine system The body’s “slow” chemical communication system A set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream Hormones Chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another Adrenal Glands A pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys Secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and Norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress Pituitary Gland Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands Anatomy Lesion Tissue destruction A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue Electroencephalogram (EEG) An amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain’s surface These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp The brain CT (computed tomography) scan A series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body, also called a CAT scan PET (positive emission tomography) Scan A visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) A technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain Brainstem The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull Responsible for automatic survival functions Medulla Base of the brainstem Controls heartbeat and breathing Reticular formation Stimulates Norepinephrine and arousal of the CNS Thalamus Relay station for all sensory info One common pathway that all info coming into the brain has to go through and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla Organizes info so you can respond Cerebellum The “little brain” attached to the re
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