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PSY100- chp 3.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

PSY100 BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS CHAPTER 3 What are the basic brain structures and their functions? *The nervous system is responsible for everything we think, feel, or do. It is divided into two functional units: - Central Nervous System (CNS): the brain and spinal cord - Peripheral Nervous System (PNS): All nerve cells in the body that are not part of the central nervous system. The PNS includes the somatic and autonomic nervous systems  Transmits a variety of information to the CNS, which organizes and evaluates that information and then directs the PNS to perform specific behaviors or make bodily adjustments  The systems are anatomically separate but their functions are interdependent - The brain is a collection of interacting neural circuits that have accumulated and developed throughout human evolution - Through the process of adapting to the environment, the brain has evolved specialized mechanisms to regulate breathing, food intake, sexual behaviours etc, and sensory systems to aid in navigation and assist in recognizing friends or foes - Everything we do is accomplished by the brain and for more rudimentary actions, the spinal cord THE BRAIN: A BREIF HISTORY - Famous Case of brain damage: Phineas Gage (1848) - An iron rod drove into his cheek through his frontal lobes, and cleared out through the top of his head - He went unconscious for two weeks where afterward his condition steadily improved and he recovered - However the accident led to major personality changes - This case provided the basis for the first modern theories of the role of a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex in personality and self control - This brain region is particularly concerned with social phenomena, such as following the social norms, understanding what others think and feeling emotionally connected to others Phrenology: -neuroscientist Franz Gall created this theory based on the idea that the brain operates through functional localization - the practice of assessing personality traits and mental abilities by measuring bumps on the human skull Paul Broca - autopsy that led him to the observation that the particular region was important for speech (left frontal) - Broca’s area: the left frontal region of the brain, crucial for the production of language THE STRUCTURES OF THE BRAIN BASAL GANGLIA(BELOW): Brain Region & Related Function: 1) Amygdala: emotion 2) Basal Ganglia: movement, reward 3) Brain Stem: survival 4) Cerebellum: motion function 5) Cerebral Cortex (Cerebrum): thought, planning 6) Hippocampus: memory 7) Hypothalamus: regulates body function 8) Reticular Formation: sleep and arousal 9) Thalamus: sensory gateway FOREBRAIN: *consists of two cerebral hemispheres (left and right) BRAIN STEM: BASIC PROGRAMS OF SURVIVAL - the spinal cord is a rope of neural tissue that runs inside the hollows of the vertebrae from just above the pelvis up into the base of the skull - the spinal cord coordinates each reflex- a handful of neurons simple conversion of sensation into action- but its most important function is to carry sensory information up to the brain and carry signals from the brain to the body parts below - brain stem: A section of the bottom of the brain, housing the most basic programs of survival, such as breathing, swallowing, vomiting, urination and orgasm CEREBELLUM - A large, convoluted protuberance at the back of the brain stem, essential for coordinated movement and balance - Damage to the nodes can cause head tilt, balance problems, and a loss of smooth compensation of eye position for head movement - Most obvious role is in motor learning SUBCORTICAL STRUCTURES CONTROL EMOTIONS AND BASIC DRIVES HYPOTHALAMUS - the brains master regulatory structure - a small brain structure that is vital for temperature regulation, emotion, sexual behavior and motivation THALAMUS: - gateway to the cortex: almost all incoming sensory information must go through the thalamus before reaching the cortex - the only sense that has a direct route to the cortex is smell - during sleep, the thalamus shuts the gate on incoming sensations while the brain rests HIPPOCAMPUS - plays an important role in the storage of new memories AMYGDALA - a brain structure that services a vital role in our learning to associate things with emotional responses an in processing emotional information - eg. Connecting memory of things to the emotions associated with them - plays a special role in our responding to stimuli that elicit fear BASAL GANGLIA - system of subcortical structures crucial for planning and producing movement - damage can impair the learning of movements and of habits THE CEREBRAL CORTEX UNDERLIES COMPLEX MENTAL ACTIVITY CEREBRAL CORTEX - outer layer of brain tissue, which forms the convoluted surface of the brain - the site of all thoughts, detailed perceptions, and consciousness- everything that makes us a human - each cerebral hemisphere has four “lobes”: the occipital, parietal, temporal, frontal * FIGURE 3.25 Corpus Callosum: a massive bridge of millions of axons connects the hemisphere and allows information to flow between them Occipital Lobes: regions of the cerebral cortex, at the back of the brain, important for vision - they consist of many visual areas of which the primary visual cortex is by far the largest and is the major destination for visual information - surrounding this is a patchwork of secondary visual areas that process various attributes of the visual image, such as colours, forms and motions Parietal Lobes: regions of the cerebral cortex, in front of the occipital lobes and behind the frontal lobes, important for the sense of touch and of the spatial layout of an environment - include the primary somatosensory cortex - labour is divided between the left and right hemispheres - the left receives touch information from the right side of the body - the right receives touch information from the left side of the body Temporal Lobes - the lower region of the cerebral cortex, important for processing auditory information and for memory - hold the primary auditory cortex, the brain region responsible for hearing - at the intersection of the temporal and occipital co
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