PSYCH 211 Introductory Behavioural Neuroscience
CHATPER 1 Introduction (Page 2)
Mind-Body Problem: Is the mind part of the body, are they separate? Is the mind physical? Two philosophies to
1) Dualism The mind and body are two separate things, the mind is spiritual and the brain is physical.
2) Monism the mind arises as a phenomenon of the workings of the brain and nervous system.
UNDERSTANING HUMAN CONCIOUSNESS:
Consciousness: We are aware of our thoughts, perceptions, memories and feelings.
Consciousness is a physiological process, and therefore can be altered with alterations to the brain.
BLINDSIGHT: The ability of a person to perceive (reach and touch accurately) an object outside of their line of sight
without perceiving them. Caused by damage to the mammalian system of vision.
Our brain/behaviour can be influenced by stimuli we are unaware of.
The brain has two types of vision:
1) Primitive Responsible for eye movement and objects outside the immediate line of vision, simple.
2) Mammalian World perception, complex.
Consciousness is not a quality of all parts of the brain.
Split Brains: An operation disconnecting the verbal brain from the perceptual brain through cutting of the corpus
callosum. Resolves severe seizures. This is because one side is overactive, and transmits this disquiet to the other
side, causing a seizure. By severing their ties, this can no longer be transmitted. However, this suggests that
disconnecting the perceptual side from the verbal side also cuts it off from reality.
Cerebral Hemispheres symmetrical halves of the brain, each controlling the opposite side of the body
After the split brain, each side is independent. However, this cuts speech off from the right side. This can cause
disparity. For example, the left hand will have a life of its own. Olfactory nerves and function are not affected by
We become conscious of something ONLY if the brain can perceive it.
UNILATERAL NEGLECT: Failure to notice stimuli on the left. Caused by damage to the Parietal Lobe, which is
responsible for body position. Sufferers can see and feel the left, but ignore them. This extends into their
mental maps. There is no such thing as right unilateral neglect, for some unknown reason.
RUBBER HAND ILLUSION: Participants own hand hidden, shown fake hand. Then both are stroked in the same direction with a
paintbrush. Eventually, the participant will start to feel ownership for the fake hand. The participant has
more activity in the premotor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for body ownership.
THE NATURE OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY:
Generalization a type of scientific explanation, a general conclusion based on many observations of similar
Reduction scientific explanation: a phenomenon is described in terms of more elementary, basic principles.
Physiological psychology employs both of these methods.
BIOLOGICAL ROOTS OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY
Descartes: Mechanistic view of animals. Behaviour is controlled by environmental stimuli. Reflexes are energy
coming from the outside world reflected through the nervous system, causing muscles to contract. Was a
dualist, proposed that the mind and body interacted in the Pineal Body. When the mind decided to act, the
pineal body would tilt, causing fluids to move about the body, causing movement (like hydraulics).
Modern definition of reflex: an automatic movement produced as the result of specific stimuli.
Model: a simple system representing a more complex one. Descartes used hydraulic statues as his model for
Galavani puts frog ligaments in petrie dish + shocks them, causing movement. This disproves Descartes.
DOCTRINE OF SPECIFIC NERVE ENERGIES:`
-sensory information is all the same, what depends is the type of system that is receiving it. (For example,
auditory nerves translate stimuli into sound). Different parts of the brain are hardwired to preform different
-done by Flourens, damaging part of the brain to see what functions can no longer be adequately preformed.
Broca inferred area of language (Broca`s Area) through observation of patient with pole through his head
Fristch and Hitzig electrical stimulation of a dog`s brain causes muscle contractions on the other side of the
Helmholtz discovers speed of neural conduction (90ft/s)
NATURAL SELECTION AND EVOLUTION:
Functionalism: characteristics of organisms preform useful and economic functions (for example, eye spots on
the owl butterfly)
Natural Selection inherited traits that give advantages that are more likely to be passed on through
reproduction. Chromosomes blueprints for cell building
Mutations accidental changes in chromosomes, some are adaptive, but most maladaptive.
Selective advantages characteristic that allows an organism to produce more surviving offspring than
EVOLUTION OF HUMAN SPECIES:
-amphibians 1 step. Through series of small changes, evolved into mammals with large brains.
-humans possess several selective advantages: Agile hands, bipedalism, colour vision, tools, posture. All of
these require larger brains.
-the brain must grow significantly after birth. Walking upright has narrowed the birth canal. This means that
the brain can be modified with experience. The overall size of the brain does not matter, instead economy is
most important. The number of nerve cells that are free for learning is also important.
Neoteny a slowing of maturation, allowing more time for growth and large brain development.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION:
-humane treatment is a matter of procedure.
CHAPTER 2 Structure and Function of the Cells of the Nervous System
Sensory Neuron a cell that transmits information about changes in the internal/external environment
(senses) to the CNS
Motor Neuron a cell that controls movement and gland secretion
Interneurons located only in the CNS in between the sensory neurons and the motor neurons. There are
1) Local interneurons relay information from circuits of nearby neurons
2) Relay interneurons form circuits with local interneurons and other parts of the brain (allow complex
functions like remembering and learning)
Central nervous system the nerves encased by the skull and spinal column
Peripheral nervous system everything else
CELLS OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM:
Basic structure of the neuron:
1) Soma cell body, contains nucleus
2) Dendrites tree like structures attached to the soma that facilitate communication in between neurons.
The SYNAPSE is the space in between dendrites and terminal buttons. 3) Axon carries information across the nerve in the way of an action potential. Covered in a fatty
substance called Myelin. Breaks in this fat occur at the nodes of Ranvier. 3 different subtypes:
i) multipolar neuron the most common. 1 axon splitting off into many dendritic trees.
ii) bipolar neurons 1 axon and dendritic tree, but at opposite ends of the soma.
iii) unipolar neurons one axon, but the axon divides, one end sending signals and the other receiving.
4) Terminal Buttons relay neurotransmitters across the synapse. NEUROTRANSMITTER excites or inhibits
the action potential, determining which successive nerves fire.
Membrane defines boundary of the cell, made up of fatty substance that suspends the organelles.
Nucleus the nut of the soma, containing:
1) Nucleolus produces ribosomes which help in protein synthesis
2) Chromosomes contain information for duplicating DNA and creating new cells. Causes the output of
Messenger RNA when active, which detaches and relays code to new proteins, forming new cells.
i) JUNK DNA genes that are not used for protein synthesis, but still can alter genes. Preserved over
millions of years. The more junk DNA, the higher the organisms complexity.
ii) Non-coding RNA contained in spliceosomes, which cut mRNA into pieces for synthesis. Can modify
3) Enzymes a molecule that controls the cells chemical processes. A catalyst.
4) Cytoplasm- jellylike substance filling the membrane
5) Mitochondria once a free living organism. Provides the cells energy through the production of ATP.
6) Endoplasmic Reticulum storage unit, channels for transporting chemicals through the cytoplasm. Two
i) Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum produces ribosomes for protein synthesis, which are used outside the
cell or in the membrane. Spreads free ribosomes throughout the cytoplasm.
ii) Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum provides space for the segregation of molecules in the cellular
process. Produces lipids.
7) Gogli Apparatus packaging plants, assembles complex molecules from simpler ones. Wraps proteins for
secretion outside of the cell. Preforms EXOCYTOSIS the secretion of a substance like
neurotransmitters. Produces Lysomes, janitors for the cell. Dispose of unneeded parts, waste.
8) Cytoskeleton : The structure of the neuron, made up of protein tubes, or microtubules (13 proteins
around a hollow centre)
Axoplasmic Transport since neurons are very long, body needs some way to move nutrients up and down them
along the microtubules. Move in two different ways:
i)Anterograde AT movement from the Soma to the terminal buttons accomplished by the protein kinesin,
which walks molecules up and down
ii) Retrograde AT movement from the terminal buttons to the soma accomplished by dyrein.
Glia Glue cells. Hold nerve cells in place, provide nutrie