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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Neuropsychology- Neuroanatomy

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University of Toronto Scarborough

Chapter 2 Neuropsychology- Neuroanatomy Cells of the Nervous System  Humans are higher functioning organisms because they have aggregates of specialized cells that perform specialized functions  Neurons and glia are the specialized cells, specialize in both structure and function o Glia provide support functions, neurons are communicators o Neurons react and respond to stimuli and also learn and store information about the external environment Neurons and Glia: Structure and Function Gross Anatomy of the Neuron  Neuron shape is closely related to its function: to receive, conduct, and transmit signals- to collect information and send it  Consists of 3 main components: 1) Dendrites- receive information from other neurons 2) Soma, or cell body- contains genetic machinery and most of the metabolic machinery needed for common cellular function, 3) Axon- sends neural information to other neurons  Information is passed from the axon to the dendrite across the gap, which is called a synapse.  Events that occur in the axon are referred to as presynaptic, events in the dendrite are post synaptic  Dendrites increase surface area available for reception of signals from the axon of other neurons  Axon is a long thin wire that can pass its message to many different cells simultaneously  Many axons in the mammalian nervous system are covered with insulation known as myelin o Helps spread the rate of information transfer and to ensure that the message gets to the end of the axon  End of the axon is called the terminal button o Information is sent from the terminal button across the synapse to the dendrite o Info passing from the axon to the synapse is a neurochemical message called the neurotransmitters, which may be transformed into an electrical message within the dendrite Internal Anatomy of the Neuron  Like all animal cells, neurons are covered with a membrane  Plasma Membrane consists of a bilayer of continuous sheets of phospholipids that separate two fluid (H2O) environments o Within this membrane are proteins and channels that allow the passage of materials into and out of the neuron  Small components of the cell, known as organelles form a complex environment in which organelles perform the various genetic (nucleus), synthetic (ribosomes, ER), and metabolic (mitochondria) processes that keep the neuron functioning Structure and Function of Neurons  Neurons can be classified according to function  Structurally, some neurons are unipolar, bipolar, and multipolar  Unipolar neurons have one process emanating from the cell body  Bipolar neurons have two processes: multipolar have numerous processes extending from the cell body  Neurons with no axons or very short ones are called interneurons  Functionally, can be classified by type of signal they process o Signal from motor neurons may represent muscle contraction o Sensory neurons process info elicited from sensory- type stimuli, interneurons make connections between cells  Enables a sort of convergence and combination of behavioral r
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