Neural Development Where it all Began

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
David Gross

Corey Reed Psych 330 1/30/14 Neural Development: Where it all Began • 3 Perspectives on Brain Development • structural development can b studied & correlated w/ emergence of behavior • behavioral development can b analyzed & predictions made about what underlying circuitry must b emerging • factors that influence both brain structure & behavioral development can b studied o Predicting Behavior from Brain Structure • neural structures that develop quickly (visual system) exhibit functions sooner than slowly developing structures (speech) • cognitive behaviors controlled by frontal lobes are among last developed • the ability to organize and plan is an example o Correlating Brain Structure & Behavior • at birth the neural structures that control speech are not mature enough to learn, even extensive training won’t teach the child language • as speech emerges it shows the necessary brain structures undergoing maturation o Influences on Brain & Behavior • events that influence brain function are sensory experience, injuries, & actions of hormones & genes • if 1 of these factors influences behavior, structures in brain that are changed by that factor are responsible for the behavior • Neurobiology of Development • preformation is the idea that a baby is just a miniature man growing o Gross Development of the Human Nervous System • fertilization of egg results in zygote, which is a single cell • by day 15 there are several sheets of cells & an embryonic disc in the middle • by day 21 the neural plate (primitive neural tissue) forms, then folds into the neural groove, which then curls into neural tube • open region within tube forms ventricles & spinal column • brain doesn’t fully develop until end of 9 month • sex isn’t distinguished until 60 days • sexual differentiation plays a role in brain development b/c males secrete testosterone & females don’t • gonadal (sex) hormones shape male & female brains differently by causing different genes to be activated o Origins of Neurons & Glia • neural stem cells line neural tube, have extensive self-renewal • in adults stem cells line v
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