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Psychology (9,696)
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Chapter 4

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Steve Joordens

Psychology- The Study of Behavior Chapter 4- The Brain The brain and its components the brain consists of anywhere from 10 billion cells to 100 billion cells there are many different types of nerve cells within the brain each with its own specific function, pierre flourens told us about this However psychologists disagreed and said that many memory functions were distrib- uted amongst the brain Donald Hebb was the one who proposed scientific principles of organization which these units were structurally organized Thanks to the work of Hebb it is now understood that nerves are organized in bundles called modules which communicate with one another Different modules have different functions Structure of the nervous system The brain has 3 main functions: controlling behavior, processing and retaining the in- formation we receive and regulating the bodys psychological processes The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system The spinal cord is a long thin collection of nerve cells attached to the base of the brain running the length of the spinal column The central nervous system communicates with the rest of the body through nerves The nerves attached to the spinal chord and to the base of the brain make up the pe- ripheral nervous system Information from the eyes nose and mouth all reach the brain through cranial nerves however every other part of the body uses spinal nerves to reach the brain The human brain has 3 major parts: The brain stem, The cerebellum and the cerebral hemispheres The brain stem is one of the most primitive regions of the brain responsible for physio- logical functions and automatic behaviors (some amphibians consist just of a brain stem and a simple cerebellum) The cerebral hemispheres are the largest part of the human brain and consist of the most recent evolution in the human brain therefore being of huge interest to psycholo- gists The cerebellum is attached to the back of the brain stem and looks like a miniature cerebral hemisphere and it controls movement All of this needs some kind of shielding being the human skull and the vertebrae that the spinal cord is encased There is also a three layered set of membranes known as the meninges so that the spinal cord does not come into contact with the skull and vertebrae The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the fluid which fills the spaces between the three meninges to allow for a cushion to form The brain lacks capillaries so it is not easy for a substance to get from the blood to the brain, the blood-brain barriers main function is to stop any toxins from entering the brain and causing damage however even this is not full proof The brain has many fissures and gyri which help the brain achieve a higher surface area without changing the size of our heads The Different systems The Somatic nervous system is that which is voulentairy and is responsible for motor activities however the autonomic nervous system is responsible for uncontrollable be- haviors The Sympathetic nervous system is within the autonomic nervous system and is re- sponsible for a fight or flight response(caused by an attack or sex or hunting for food). However the Parasympathetic nervous system is a state of calm and digestion usually when someone is relaxed Cells of the nervous system Lets start off with a picture: Neurons or nerve cels are the elements of the nervous system that bring sensory in- formation to and from the brain Glia cells from the greek word glue keep nerves cells together and not only that, they guide a nerve cell from its place of birth to its final resting place. They also protect nerves by forming a myelin sheath around each nerve fibre. This highly increases the speed of which an electrochemical impulse may travel Dendrites are the branch like figures on the nerve which use their arms to transmit electrochemical impulses to the nerve cells Neurons in the brain have nerve cells that contain dendrite spines The soma of the nerve cell is ht largest part of the neuron and contains the most mechanisms that control metabolism and maintenance The axon carries messages away from the nucleus and toward the terminal buttons which then transmit the message through action potential to another nerve cell Whenever a message is sent a neurotransmitter is needed to control how the nerve cell behaves with other cells (MS) or multi
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