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Chapter 3

Continuation of Chapter 3.docx

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Continuation of Chapter 3:  Association areas: composed of neurons that help provide sense and meaning to information registered in the cortex Brain Plasticity:  Cerebral cortex can adapt to changes in sensory input-plasticity.  The brain is plastic: functions that were assigned to certain areas of the brain may be capable of being reassigned to other areas of the brain to accommodate changing input from the environment. This suggest that sensory inputs “compete” for representation in each cortical area  Physical exercise can increase the number of synapses and even promote the development of new neurons. Development and Evolution of Nervous System  The nervous system is first major bodily system to take form in an embryo-this begins during third week of fertilization  Neural tube begins to develop and you being to form cerebral hemispheres. The hindbrain forms the cerebellum and medulla and the midbrain forms the tectum  Ontogeny of the brain: how it develops within an individual. Within 15 week semester the basic structures of the brain are in place and rapidly developing  Phylogeny of the brain: how it developed within a particular species-is a much slower process Evolutionary Development of the Central Nervous System:  Even the simplest animals have sensory neurons and motor neurons for responding to the environment (e.g. protozoa)  The first nervous system worthy appeared in a flatworm (collection of neurons in the head)  The emergence of the brain are a pair of tracts that form the spinal cord  The tracts are connected by smaller neurons called ganglia-integrate info and coordinate motor behaviour  The organization of nervous system occurred between invertebrate animals and vertebrate animals.  In vertebrate animals the central nervous system is composed of a lower levels of brain and spinal cord while the higher levels form more complex functions  The midbrain responsible for responding to stimulus in the environment and the forebrain deals with the more complex task.  The forebrains in mammals have the most highly developed cerebral cortex which develops multiple areas.  The forebrain allows us to be self-aware, use sophisticated language, social interact, abstract reasoning, empathy etc.  Primate brains evolved quickly compared to those of other species, but the brain of the primates who eventually became human evolved even more rapidly.  The genes for human brains took particular advantage of a variety of mutations  Genes may direct the development of a larger brain and even the development of the species. Genes and the Environment  Nurture vs. nature suggests that either genetics or the environment played a major role in producing particular behaviours, personality traits and psychological disorder.  It’s the interaction of genes and environmental influences that determines what humans do What are Genes?  A gene us the unit of hereditary transmission. Genes are section of DNA and are organized into large threads called chromosomes  Chromosomes are strands of DNA wound around each other in a double helix configuration. There are 23 chromosomal pairs in humans  You inherit one pair from your mother and the other from your mother, the selection of each pair is random.  The probability of sharing genes is called degree of relatedness.  The most genetically related people are homozygote twins who develop from the splitting of a single fertilized egg and therefore share 100 percent of their genes  Dizygotic twins develop from two separate fertilized eggs and share 50% of their genes, the same as any two siblings born separately.  Genetics can contribute to the development, likelihood, or onset of a variety of trait Role of Environmental Factors  Your environmental experiences have made it unlikely for you to live that way  Behavioural genetics used calculations based on relatedness to compute the heritability of behaviours  Heritability is a measure of the variability of behavioural traits among individuals that can be accounted for by gene factors.  Hereditability ranges from 0 to1(0 means that none of the genes contribute to the behavioural trait and 1 means that genes are the only reason for the individual differences)  Environmental influences also play a significant role in predicting the basis of intelligence  Heritability is an abstract concept: tells us nothing about the specific genes that contribute to a trait. Heritability is a population concept; tell us nothing about the abilities within an individual  Heritability dependant on the environment: behaviour occurs within certain contexts as well as genetic influences  Heritability is not fate: it tells us nothing about the degree to which interventions an change a behavioural trait. Learning about Brain Organization  Observing the behavioural problems that result from damage to a certain areas of the brain enable researches to identify the function of those areas  Neuroscience correlates the loss of specific perpetual, motor, emotional, conjunctive functions with specific areas of the brain damage. Emotional Functions of the Frontal
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