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Chapter 1

PSY2301 Chapter 1: What are the Origins of Brain and Behavior?

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Patrick Davidson

Brain and Behaviour: Chapter 1 Cerebrum (forebrain): Major structure of the forebrain that consists of two virtually identical hemispheres (left and right) and is responsible for the most conscious behaviour. Hemispheres: Literally, half a sphere, referring to one side of the cerebrum. Reasons why we link the study of behaviour and study of the brain: 1) How the brain produces behaviour is a major unanswered scientific question. Scientists and students study the brain for the purpose of understanding humanity. Understanding the brain will improve many aspects of the world such as: education, economical systems and social systems. 2) The brain is the most complex living organ on Earth and is found in many different groups of animals: students studying the brain want to know the brain's biological order of our planet. 3) Agrowing list of behavioural disorders can be explained and cured by understanding the brain. The Brain: • Has two major sets of structures: cerebrum and cerebellum • Cerebrum: has two symmetrical hemispheres (halves) o Responsible for most of our conscious behaviours o It enfolds the brainstem ( which is responsible for more unconscious behaviours) • Cerebellum: specialized for learning and coordinating skilled movements. Gross Anatomy of the Nervous System • Human nervous system is composed of nerve cells called neurons that most directly cause behaviour • neurons communicate with each other with sensory receptors in the skin, muscles and body organs • most connections between the brain and the rest of the body is made through the spinal cord which descends from the brainstem through a canal in the backbone • Brain, spinal cord make up the CNS • the CNS is encased in bone the brain by the skull and the spinal cord by the vertebrate • The CNS is central because it is the core of the nervous system and core structure mediating behaviour • PNS: all the processes radiating out beyond the brain and spinal cord as well as all the neurons outside the brain and spinal cord constitute this Brainstem: central structure of the brain responsible for most unconscious behaviour Cerebellum: major structure of the brainstem specialized for coordinating and learning skilled movements. In large brained animals, may also play a role in coordinating other mental processes. Neuron: specialized nerve cell engaged in information processing CNS: the brain and spinal cord that together mediate behaviour PNS: all the neurons in the body located outside the brain and spinal cord; provides sensory and motor connections to and from the central nervous system Embodied language: hypothesis that the movements we make and the movements we perceive in others are central to communication with others. • Suggests that the CNS needs ongoing sensory stimulation from the world and from its own body's movement and the brain communicates by producing movements and observing movements of others. Harvey's brain in the bottle experiment: • wanted to harvest his brain in a bottle • wanted people to analyze brain energy/ activity Edmond Jacobson: wondered what would happen if our muscles stopped completely moving? • Even when we think we are being motionless, we still make subliminal movements related to our thoughts o Ex: Larynx subliminally move when we think in words • his experiment : people practised total relaxation and experienced mental emptiness Woodburn Heron: wondered what would happen if the body had no sensory input? • The participants were lying down on a bed without any sensory input, soundproof room and it felt very unpleasant and lost their focus of the studies purpose.Also, reported hallucinations that the brain was trying to create sensory experiences for the lack of. What is behaviour? • Consists of patterns in time o these patterns can be made up of movements, vocalizations, or changes in appearance o ex: thinking : though we cannot observe physical thoughts, techniques exist for monitoring changes in the brain's electrical and biochemical activity • animals produce behaviours that are inherited ways of responding and they also produce behaviours that are learned • Difference between an inherited or learned behaviour : o Abird's beak is designed inherently to eat what it needs to eat ex: a bird's beak that is built to crack open nuts or pine cones. o Arat has incisor teeth that can cut anything. They will not be able to cut into pine cones unless they are taught how to use their teeth. • Animals with smaller, simpler nervous system have a narrow range of behaviours that depend on heredity • animals with complex nervous systems have more behaviours based on learning • Humans have simpler nervous systems that are not thrown away but they are complex organisms, thus they depend on learned and inheritance. Aristotle • hypothesis that mind (or soul or psyche) is responsible for behaviour • Psyche was a mortal who became the wife of cupid o Cupid's mom Venus did not approve of her mortality, thus she told Psyche to perform tasks that were impossible o Psyche did these tasks and then was now declared an immortal being • From that story, Aristotle suggested that all human intellectual functions are produced by a person's Psyche o The psyche is responsible for life, and its departure from the body results in death • Aristotle's account of behaviour had no role for the brain, which he thought just cooled down the blood • To him, nonmaterial Psyche was responsible for human consciousness, perceptions, and emotions for such processes as imagination, opinion, desire, pleasure, pain and memory. • Psyche was independent of the body • Mind: when Psyche got translated to English it meant mind. Proposed nonmaterial entity responsible for intelligence, attention, attention, awareness, and consciousness • Mentalist: the position that a person's mind (psyche) is responsible for behaviour Descartes and Dualism • proposed that the brain played an important role • the seat of the mind is in the brain and linked the mind to the body • the activities of the body and brain, such as motion, digestion, and breathing, could be explained by mechanical and physical principles • the nonmaterial mind is responsible for rational behaviour o he proposed that an entity called the mind directs a machine called the body was the first serious attempt to explain the role of the brain in controlling behaviour • the mind receives info from the body through the brain • the rational mind then depends on the brain for control of behaviour and receiving information • the mind works through a small structure called a pineal gland o the mind instructs the pineal body to direct fluid from the ventricles through nerves and into muscles , when the fluid expands, the muscle moves o Problems with the theory : people with damaged or no pineal gland in the brain have the same intelligence and behaviour as someone who does have it o pineal gland plays a role of biological rhythms but does not dictate behaviour o nonmaterial entity cannot influence the body unless it emits energy to do so • Mind body problem: nonmaterial mind and physical body interacting • Descartes’s test to see if an organism has a mind: language and action test • language test : organism has to be able to use language to reason about things that are not physically present • Action test: requires the organism to display behaviour that is based on reasoning and is not an automatic response to a particular situation. • Problem: Descartes' proposed theory meant that the mentally ill, mentally disabled, children and animals did not have minds. Dualism: behaviour is controlled by two entities Mind-body problem: Quandary of explaining how a nonmaterial mind and a material body interact Materialism: philosophical position that holds that behaviour can be explained as a function of the brain and the rest of the nervous system without explanatory recourse to the mind. Natural selection: Darwin's theory for explaining how new species evolve and how existing species evolve
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