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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Janelle Leboutillier

Physio Chapter 1 Notes Historical Highlights in Biological Psychology • Hippocrates: the brain was also the source of intelligence. • Aristotle: heart was the source of intellect • Herophilus, who is often referred to as the father of anatomy, believed that the ventricles (the fluid-filled cavities in the brain) played this important role. • Galen believed that the ventricles played an important role in transmitting messages to and from the brain. ◦ Fluids flowing within the ventricles were believed to be continuous with fluids in the nerves. This notion of the nervous system as a network of fluid-filled, interconnected tubes and chambers persisted until nearly modern times. • Descartes: Mind-body dualism: the bodies of both humans and animals worked mechanically. ◦ However, Descartes believed that human beings had unique capacities that they did not share with other animals and that these were contained in the mind. ◦ the mind is neither physical nor accessible to study through the physical sciences • In contrast, the modern neurosciences, including biological psychology, are based on monism: proposes that the mind is the result of activity in the brain, which can be studied scientifically. • With a better understanding of electricity, thanks to observers such as Benjamin Franklin, the Galen-Descartes notion of control via the movement of fluids was finally discarded. • Charles Bell & Francois Magendie: Transmission of information along nerves is typically a one-way street ◦ Sensation and movement have their own designated routes • Franz Joseph Gall: Phrenology ◦ Used busts to identify traits located under different parts of the skull. ◦ Bumps on the skull were believed to indicate that the underlying trait had been “exercised.” ◦ Although Gall’s system was an example of very bad science, the underlying principle that functions could be localized in the brain turned out to be valuable • Paul Broca: correlated the damage he observed in patients with their behavior and concluded that language functions were localized in the brain Histology: • Histology refers to the study of microscopic structures and tissues. ◦ Histological methods provide means for observing the structure, organization, and connections of individual cells. • Tissue to be studied under the microscope must be prepared for viewing in a series of steps: ◦ Tissue must be made thin enough to allow light to pass through it. ▪ Brain tissue is fragile and somewhat watery, which makes the production of thin enough slices impossible without further treatment. ▪ To solve this problem, the first step in the histological process is to “fix” the tissue, either by freezing it or by treating it with formalin, a liquid containing the gas formaldehyde ▪ Formalin not only hardens the tissue, making it possible to produce thin slices, but it also preserves the tissue from breakdown by enzymes or bacteria. ◦ Once tissue is fixed, it is sliced by a special machine known as a microtome ◦ Researchers select particular stains depending on the features they wish to examine ▪ nerve tissue would appear nearly transparent under the microscope if it were not for a variety of specialized stains ▪ Golgi silver stain: analysis of a small number of single cells ▪ Nissle stain: identifying clusters of cell bodies, the major bulk of the nerve cell, within a sample of tissue ▪ Myelin stain: allow you to follow pathways carrying information from one part of the brain to another by staining the insulating material that covers many nerve fibers ▪ horseradish peroxidase: If you know where a pathway ends but would like to discover its point of origin • When this enzyme is injected into the end of a nerve fiber, it travels backward toward the cell body ◦ Once tissue is appropriately prepared, it can be viewed under either a light or electron microscope Imaging • Computerized tomography (CT): ◦ provides excellent structural information ◦ However, a CT scan cannot distinguish between a living brain and a dead one. In other words, the CT scan provides no information regarding activity levels in the brain. ▪ This limits the usefulness of CT in helping us answer questions about behavior. • Positron emission tomography, or PET: ◦ allows researchers to observe brain activity ◦ programmers have assigned red and yellow to areas of high activity and green, blue, and black to areas of low activity • Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI: ◦ uses powerful magnets to align hydrogen atoms within a magnetic field ◦ Next, radio frequency (RF) pulses are directed at the part of the body to be imaged, producing “resonance,” or spinning, of the hydrogen atoms. ◦ When the RF pulses cease, the hydrogen atoms return to their natural alignment within the magnetic field. As the atoms “relax,” eac
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