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PSYC1000 - Module 05

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PSYC 1000
Harvey Marmurek

Course: PSYC*1000 (DE) Professor: Harvey Marmurek Schedule: Summer, 2012 Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615 Module 05: Tools of discovery and Older Brain Structures How do neuroscientists study the brain’s connections to behaviour and mind? • Right now, your mental activity is emitting telltale electrical, metabolic, and magnetic signals that would enable neuroscientists to observe your brain at work • Lord Chesterfield (1746) you must look into people, as well as at them • EEG – amplified readout of electric waves (like a showercap) • PET – shows brain activity by showing each brain area’s consumption of its chemical fuel – sugar glucose o Active neurons are glucose hogs • MRI – head put in a strong magnetic field, aligning the spinning atoms of brain molecules and then disorienting them • fMRI – reveals brain functioning and structure; detects blood rushing to back of the brain, which processes visual information 1. fMRI scan – tracks successive images of brain tissue to show brain function 2. PET scan – tracks radioactive glucose to reveal brain activity 3. MRI scan – uses magnetic fields and radio waves to show brain anatomy What structures make up the brainstem and what are the functions of the brainstem, thalamus, and cerebellum? • The brain’s oldest and innermost region is the brainstem o Begins where spinal cord swells slightly (medulla) after entering the skull o Brainstem handles higher brain or conscious to orchestrate our heart’s pumping and lungs’ breathing. o Brainstem consists of: Thalamus – Reticular formation – Pons – Medulla  Pons helps coordinate movements • Thalamus – pair of egg-shaped structures that act as the brain’s sensory switchboard (a hub through which traffic passes en route to various destinations). • Reticular Formation – inside brainstem, between your ears (net-like), a finger-shaped network of neurons that extends from the spinal cord right up through the thalamus. As the spinal cord’s sensory input flows up to the thalamus, some of it travels through the reticular formation, which filters incoming stimuli and relays important information to other brain areas. o 1949, Giuseppe Moruzzi and Horace Magoun – sleeping cat experiment; reticular formation enables arousal • Cerebellum extends from the rear of the brainstem (baseball-sized) o Enables nonverbal learning and memory; helps us judge time, modulate our emotions and discriminate sounds and textures; coordinates voluntary movement • Our brain processes most information outside of our awareness Nerves from the left side of the brain are mostly linked to the right side of the body, and vice versa. In what brain region would damage most likely to (1) disrupt your ability to skip rope ~ cerebellum (2) disrupt your ability to hear and taste ~ thalamus (3) perhaps leave you in a coma ~ reticular formation (4) cut off the very breath and heartbeat of life ~ medulla What are the limbic system’s structures and functions? • The limbic (limbus means ‘border’) system contains the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus o Hippocampus processes
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