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The Brain and the Central Nervous System

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

The Brain and the Central Nervous System Association Area- receiving input from sensory areas and other lower parts of the brain that controls cognitive abilities Human Nervous System is divided into two parts: -Central Nervous System (CNS) -Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) -transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body -Divided into two subcomponents: -the somatic system -the automatic system -skeletal nervous: -sensory or afferent -motor or efferent Somatic Nervous System-consists of nerves that receive sensory input from the body and control skeletal muscles, which are responsible for voluntary and reflexive movement Automatic Nervous System-receives information from and sends commands to the heart and other organs -responsible for regulating the activity of organs and glands -Two subcomponents: -Sympathetic Nervous System -Parasympathetic Nervous System Sympathetic Nervous System- ‘flight-or-flight’ Parasympathetic Nervous System- ‘Rest-and-digest’ -maintains homeostasis after a presence of change Homeostasis-tendency of an animal to regulate its internal conditions by a system of feedback controls to optimize health and functioning, and return to nonemergency state -follows sympathetic Central Nervous System (CNS) - brain and spinal cord Midbrain-includes neurons that contain very dense concentrations of dopamine receptors and activity -neurons send messages to higher brain centers involved in the control of movement -above the hindbrain -relay station between sensory and motor areas Parkinson’s disease caused by loss of dopamine-producing cells Forebrain -most visibly obvious region of the brain -consists of multiple interconnects structures that are critical to such complex process as emotion, memory, thinking, and reasoning Basal Ganglia-involved in facilitating planned movements, skilled learning, and integrated with the brains reward system -people who are very practiced at a given motor skill modified it -it is affected in people who have Tourette’s syndrome- condition marked by repetitive facial and muscle movements called tics, heavy eye blinking, and frequency noise making-caused by excess dopamine that appears to be transmitted within the basal ganglia -Nucleaus Accumbens- particularly involved in emotion, pleasure and reward Limbic System- integrated network involved in emotion and memory Amygdala-facilitates memory formation for emotional events, mediates fear responses, and recognizing and interpreting emotional stimuli, including facial expressions -part of the limbic system -connected with structures in the nervous system responsible for adaptive fear responses Hippocampus-critical for learning and memory, especially the formation of new memories -part of the limbic system Thalamus- involved in relaying sensory information to different regions of the brain Cerebral Cortex -convoluted, wrinkled out layer of the brain that is involved in multiple higher functions, such as thought, language, and personality -more surface area means more neurons and greater cognitive complexity -layers of cortex made visible using three different anatomical stains -has six levels with different sizes and functions Cerebral Hemisphere has four major areas known as Lobes: -Parietal-sensory processing, bodily awareness -Somatosensory Cortex- nerve cells associated with touch -behind the frontal lobe -Occipital-visual processing -rear of the brain -Frontal-thought, planning, language, motor movement -Primary Motor Cortex- controls voluntary movement -front of the brain -Temporal-hearing, object recognition, language, emotion -side of the brain Ventricles-filled with cerebrospinal fluid, used to help eliminate wastes and provides nutrition and hormones to the brain and spinal cord, and protects the brain Hindbrain - consists of structures that controls basic, life-sustaining processes Brainstem- consists of: Medulla- performs basic unconscious functions Pons-general level of wakefulness and the role of dreaming -top of spinal cord Reticular Formation-sends signals to the cortex to influence attention and alertness -communicates with cells in the spinal cord involved with motor control Cerebellum-lobe-like structure at the base of the brain -involved in details of movement, maintain balance, coordination, and learning new motor skills Gyrus/Gyri- bumps Sulcus/Sulci- grooves Hemispheric Specialization-right brain is more creative and intuitive -left brains more analytical and logical -not 100% true -Lateralization of Function Aphasia - lose the ability to speak Broca’s Aphasia-loss of speech function -damage to the left inferior frontal gurus, part of the left vertebral hemisphere near the front of the brain Wernicke’s Aphasia-difficulty in speech comprehension -left and back of the brain -spilt brain surgery is rare Wada Testing- researchers inject a sedative into an artery on one side of the body Neuroplasticity- capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself based on individual experience Brain is made of: -Meninges-protective cover -Pia Mater -Arachnoid Membrane -Dura Mater -Blood Vessels-feed the brain -gets rid of waste -Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) - cushions the brain from impact against the skull -Grey Matter- composed of cell bodies and dendrites -White Regions- nylineated axon that interconnects the different structures of the brain -Corpus Callosum- collection of neural fibers connecting the two hemispheres -Neurons and glial Arteries- carries fresh blood to feed the brain Veins- carries ‘used’ blood away from the brain Electrophysiology Electroencephalogram (EEG) - measures patterns of brain activity using multiple electrodes attached to the scalp Brain Imaging Positron Emission Tomography (PET) -scan gives the actual image of the brain -low level of radioactive glucose is injected into the blood, where active nerve cells use up the glucose faster than resting cells -takes a long time to acquire Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) –used to get a highly detailed image of the brain anatomy -exposure to a magnetic force causing atoms to align and spin in the same direction, then radio waves are passed through the brain disrupting the atoms Functional MRI (fMRI) -blood cells carry oxygen to active nerve cells -measures the difference between blood cells with an oxygen molecule attached -allows us to see blood flow through the brain Magnetoenchephalography (MEG) -measures the tiny magnetic fields created by the electrical activity of nerve cells in the brain -records the activity of nerve cells right away Lesioning and Brain Stimulation -methods to shut down a portion of the brain to see how it affects behaviour Lesioning- researches intentionally damage an area of the brain Ablations- to make localized brain lesions in non-human species Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) - where an electromagnetic pulse is delivered to a targeted region of the brain How the Nervous System Works: Cells and Neurotransmitters -nervous system acts as a complex communication network, transmitting and receiving information throughout the body -signals pain, pleasure, and emotion -controls our reflexive responses and our voluntary movements Neural Communication Neurons-one of the major types of cells found in the nervous system -responsible for sending and receiving messages throughout the body from neurons (at the dendrites and cell body) to other neurons (axon) -comes in different shapes and sizes -refers to an individual neural or nerve cell -Most have the same key structures- a cell body and a long fibre called axon -Sensory Neurons-gets information from the bodily senses and bring it to the brain -Afferent Neurons carry impulses toward the brain from the body -Motor Neurons-carries messages away from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles in order to control their flexion and extension -Efferent Neurons carry impulses away from the brain to the body -Interneurons-links sensory and motor neurons and work to integrate and communicate information -any neuron not sensory or motor Spinal Reflex-when sensory, motor, and interneurons cooperate -controlled entirely by the spinal cord -brain is not involved Nerves-bundle of axon fibers -Tracts- when they are only within the central nervous system -transfers messages between PNS and CNS Cell Body-part of a neuron that contains the nucleus that houses the cell’s genetic material -also known as soma -genes in it synthesizes proteins that form chemicals and structures that allow the neuron to function and integrates incoming signals and generates outgoing signal to axon Dendrites- small branches radiating from the cell body, receive messages from other cells and transmit the
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