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Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Biological Behaviour

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 1001
Professor
Vessela Stamenova
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 3: Biological Basis of Behaviour The Nervous System 1. The Central Nervous System  The Brain and spinal cord  Spinal cord: part of the CNS encased within the vertebrae or spinal column 2. Peripheral Nervous System  All the neurons in the body that are located outside the brain and spinal cord  This can be divided into the Somatic Nervous System, and Autonomic Nervous System Somatic Nervous System o Somatic nervous system produces movement and receives sensory information (cranial nerves and all nerves coming out of the spinal cord) o Cranial Nerves: carry sensory and motor information to the head o Spinal Nerves: carry sensory and motor information to the body below the neck Autonomic Nervous System 1. Sympathetic System – arouses the body for action (e.g. increase heart rate and blood pressure), mediates the “fight or flight” response 2. Parasympathetic System – opposite of sympathetic; prepares the body to “rest and digest,” reverses the “fight or flight” responses o Automatic responses that we can’t control The Brain – Hemispheres  Brain contains two almost symmetrical halves: right and left  Primary functions: creating sensory reality, integrating information, and producing behaviour  For most right-handed people, left hemisphere is better at language  Right side is better at other things, like music processing The Brain – Surface Features  Cerebrum o Major structure of the forebrain, consisting of two virtually identical hemispheres (R and L) o Most recently evolved brain structure in humans  Cerebellum: “Little Brain” o Located in the hindbrain; involved in the coordination of motor and possibly other mental processes  Gyrus (gyri) o A bump in brain matter, usually found in the neocortex or cerebellum  Sulcus (sulci) o A small cleft formed by the folding of the cerebral cortex  Fissure o A very deep sulcus Structure of the Nervous System  Neuron o A brain cell engaged in information processing o Sensory Neuron – neuron that carries incoming information from sensory receptors into the spinal cord and brain o Motor Neuron – neuron that carries information from the spinal cord and brain to make muscles contract o PARTS: dendrite, soma (nucleus), axon, myelin sheath, Schwann cell, Node of Ranvier, axon terminal button  Meninges: three layers of protective tissue o Dura mater: “hard mother,” tough outer layer of fibrous tissue o Arachnoid layer: like a spider’s web; thin sheet of protective tissue o Pia mater: “soft mother,” moderately tough inner layer that clings to the brain’s surface  White Matter o Areas of the nervous system rich in fat-sheathed neural axons covered in myelin – this is why it’s white  Grey Matter o Areas of the nervous system predominantly composed of cell bodies and blood vessels  Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) o Sodium chloride and other salts o Fills the ventricles and circulates around the brain and spinal cord in the subarachnoid space (between the arachnoid layer and pia mater) o Cushions the brain Brain Anatomy  Ventricle o A cavity in the brain that contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) o Four: two lateral ventricles (left and right) o Third ventricle, fourth ventricle  Corpus Callosum o Fibre system (axons) connecting the two cerebrospinal hemispheres  Brainstem o Begins where spinal cord enters the skull o Produces movement and creates a sensory world o Three regions: hindbrain, midbrain, diencephalon Hindbrain  Evolutionarily the oldest part of the brain  Contains: cerebellum, pons, medulla  Controls movement  Pons (“bridge”) o Connects cerebellum to rest of the brain o Controls important movements of the body o Nuclei for sleep and arousal  Medulla o Front end of brain o Vital Functions: control of breathing and heart rate, maintaining muscle tone, regulating reflexes (sneezing, coughing, salivating)  Cerebellum o Controls complex movements (compares movement to plan you initiate, corrects it if necessary) and has a role in a variety of cognitive functions, as well o Size of cerebellum increases with physical speed and dexterity of species  Reticular Formation o Netlike mixture of neurons (gray matter) and nerve fibres (white matter) o “Reticular activating system” o Stimulates the forebrain: regulation of sleep-wake behaviour and behavioural arousal o Maintains arousal during the day so you’re not sleepy; daytime vs. night time Midbrain  Sensory processing (visual and auditory)  Produces orienting movements  Eye and limb movements  Perception of pain Forebrain  Diencephalon (thalamus and hypothalamus)  The limbic system  The Basal ganglia  The cerebrum  Hippocampus and Amygdala Hypothalamus  Feeding  Sexual behaviour  Sleeping  Temperature regulation  Emotional behaviour  Hormone function (through connections with the pituitary gland) Thalamus  Sensory processing  Motor processing  Integrative functions  Motivation  Memory Forebrain: Limbic System  Group of structures between the neocortex and brainstem  Includes the cingulated cortex, hippocampus (memory formation/consolidation – Alzheimer’s), and amygdala (responds to fear)  Regulation of: emotional and sexual behaviours, memory, and spatial navigation Forebrain: Basal Ganglia  Collection of nuclei just below the white matter of the cortex  Three structures: caudate, putamen, globus pallidus  Controls voluntary movement  Parkinson’s – loss of dopamine producing cells, Substantia Nigra degeneration, symptoms: tremors, bradykinesia (initiating movement), rigidity, posture, and balance Forebrain: The Cortex, Four Lobes  Frontal – movement, planning, and organization  Parietal – somatosensation and spatial processing  Temporal – semantic knowledge, auditory processing, gustatory (taste)  Occipital – vision Main Types of Cells in the Nervous System  Neurons o Functional units: carry out brain’s major functions o Enable us to receive information, process it, and act o Fire action potential; process/transmit information o Approx. 80 billion  Glial Cells o Provide structural support, nutrients, and protection o Aid and modulate neurons’ activities o Do not process/transmit information; no action potential o Approx. 100 billion DEFINITIONS  Nucleus – group o cells forming a cluster that can be identified with special stains to form a functional grouping  Tract – large collection of axons coursing together within the CNS/brain  Nerve – large collection of axons coursing together outside the CNS/brain Left Hemisphere  Language, speaking, signing  Complex movements  Calculations  Word recognition  Right side of body Right Hemisphere  Perceptual tasks  Emotional content  Picture recognition  Geometry, mental rotation  Direction and distance  Non-language sounds (music)  Left side of body Neurons  All behaviours produced by groups of neurons  Continuously change their shape – grow and shrink, plasticity  Most of our neurons are with you for life and are never replaced  Recent studies have shown that there are neurons being produced in the brain, but we don’t know much about them, i.e. what they’re used for  Terminal (axon) buttons: knob at the tip of an axon that conveys information to other neurons Diseases Affecting Glia  Multiple Sclerosis (MS) o Central nervous system disorder that result from loss of myelin around axons  Symptoms: numbness/weakness, double vision/blurring vision, tingling/pain in body parts, fatigue How Neurons Communicate – Action Potential Atoms  Smallest quantity of an element that retains that element (smallest piece of substance)  Contains a nucleus (neutrons: neutral, protons: positive, electrons: negative)  For any atom, the number of protons is the same as number of electrons Ions  When an atom gives up an electron, it becomes a positively charged ion  When an atom takes on an electron, it becomes a negatively charged ion  Has electrical properties Resting Potential  Electrical charge across the cell membrane in the absence of stimulation  A store of negative energy on intracellular side relative to the extracellular side (inside: negative, outside: positive)  Approx. -70m
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