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Chapter 2

PSY270 Chapter 2.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Kristie Dukewich

Chapter 2 Cognitive Neuroscience Cognitive neuroscience the study of the physiological basis of cognition Neurons building blocks and transmission lines of the nervous system Neurons The Building Blocks of the Nervous System To understand the relation between the brain and the mind it is necessary to look within the brain and observe the small units that make up its structure and the electrical signals that travel in these units The Microstructure of the Brain Neurons thTo observe the structure of the brain 19century anatomists applied special stains to the brain tissue which increased the contrast between different types of tissue within the brain Nerve net network believed to be continuous provided a complex pathway for conducting signals uninterrupted through the network the microscopes of the time could not resolve small details In the 1870s anatomist Camillo Golgi developed a staining technique that involved immersing a thin slice of brain tissue in a solution of silver nitrateindividual cells became stained at random Using this technique Ramon y Cajal determined that the Golgistained cells were individual units Neuron doctrine1 Individual cells transmit signals in the nervous system2 These cells are not continuous as proposed by the nerve net theory Cell body contains mechanisms to keep the cell alive Dendrites branch out from the cell body to receive signals from other neurons Axon nerve fiber transmits signals to other neurons Cajals other conclusions about neurons 1 Receptors neurons that pick up information from the environment ie neurons in the skin eye and ear 2 Synapse small gap between the end of a neurons axon and the dendrites or cell body of another neuron 3 Neurons form connections only to specific neurons usually many neurons are connected together to form neural circuits The Signals That Travel in Neurons In the 1920s Edgar Adrian was able to record electrical signals action potentials from single sensory neurons He also found that each action potential travels all the way down the axon without changing its size
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