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Chapter 2

Psychology 2030A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Hypothalamus, Neuroimaging, Epigenetics

Course Code
Hayden Woodley

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Psych 2030 Chapter Two  Research Methods in Abnormal Psychology
Requires research of human behaviour at all levels  single cell to society
Translational research  scientific approach that focuses on communication between basic science
and applied clinical research
oStart at cellular level then look to clinical level
oTwo way street between scientists and clinicians
Goal of most research is to publish it for other researchers to test and further understanding
Ethics and Responsibility
Read info sheet, sign consent form
Must be aligned with principles in Belmont Report
o1) Respect for persons – must be capable of making decisions for themselves
If don’t need parent or guardian to approve
o2) Beneficence
Must protect them for harm but also ensure their well being
Maximize possible benefits, minimize harm
o3) Justice
Fairness in distribution
When a person who is entitled is refused a benefit without good reason or
when unnecessary burden is imposed
oInstitutional review board or independent ethics committee must review and approve all
Research in Abnormal Psychology at the Cellular Level
New and exciting area – can now study brain and nervous system
Two main parts of human nervous system are the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous
oBrain and spinal chord
oBrain has neurons which each have distinct pathways that form a neural circuitry
oConsist of the soma (cell body) which contains the nucleus
oDendrites  fingerlike projections that extend from the soma
Branch out and receive information from other neurons
oAxon  fiber through which a cell transports info to another cell
Axon terminal  branched features at the end of the axon that form synapses (points
of communication with dendrites or cell bodies of other neurons) little balls
oBrain Stem The oldest part of the brain, located at its base, controls most basic biological
functions, such as breathing
oHas several parts:

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Hindbrain  medulla, pons, cerebellum = breathing, heartbeat and motor control 
Cerebellum – critical for motor control, hurt it and balance is gone
The mid brain – 2 important functions
1) Coordinating center that brings together sensory information with
2) Houses a reticular activating system – regulates sleep and arousal
Brains rely station  directs nerve signals that carry sensory information to the cortex
Homeostasis  regulation of body functions such as blood pressure, temperature,
fluid and electrolyte balance and body weight
Limbic System
Amygdala, the cingulate gyrus and the hippocampus
Deals primarily with emotions and impulses
Aggression, sex, appetite
Hippocampus  role in memory formation
Basal ganglia  base of brain  inhibit movement
oDisease affecting it screw up movement (Parkinsons)
oCerebral Cortex  reasoning, abstract thought, perception of time, and creativity
Two hemispheres – left and right
Left –language and cognitive functioning and tends to process info in a linear
manner  parts, sequentially and uses language and symbols (numbers)
Right  process world in a more holistic manner, a spatial context
Creativity, imagery, intuition
They communicate with each other
Each has four lobes
The temporal lobe – processing (auditory and visual info), and naming and
labeling of objects and verbal memory
The parietal lobe- integrates sensory info from various sources and involved
in visuospatial processing
Occipital lobe – center of visual processing
The frontal lobe – seat of reasoning and plays a critical role in impulse
control, judgment, language, memory, motor function, problem solving and
sexual and social behaviour
oGood in planning, coordinating, inhibiting and executing behaviour
Corpus Callosum connects the two sides of the brain – allowing them to talk
If severed may have some problems
oI.e. see it but not be able to label it
oOr label it but not know its function
oPeripheral Nervous system
Sensory somatic nervous system – sensory and muscle movement
and the automatic nervous system – sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous
the Sympathetic NS – involuntary movements –activates the body

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The parasympathetic NS returns the body to regular resting levels after the SNS has
activated them
oEndocrine System
Regulates bodily functions but uses hormones not nerve impulses to do so
Endocrine glands produce hormones – chemical messengers released directly into
blood stream to act on target organs
Pituitary gland at base of the brain is known as the “master gland
Controls menstruation, pregnancy, birth and lactation
Hypothalamus regulates the pituitary
Adrenal glands
Release epinephrine (adrenaline) in response to external and internal
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism including body temperature and weight
Pancreas includes a gland that secretes insulin and glucagon to regulate blood sugar
Neurohormones and Neurotransmitters
Communication in the nervous system is both electrical and chemical
Chemicals called neurotransmitters relay the electric signals from one neuron to the text
When electrical signal reaches the axon terminal the neurotransmitters are released
oTravel across the space b/w neurons (synapse) and land on surface of the neighboring
neuron at which point they trigger the second neuron to fire, releasing electrical impulse
Most drugs act on one of the core neurotrasmitters by influencing their availability and or their
action on the brain
Advances in neuroimaging which takes pictures of the brain
CT or CAT scan and MRI
Can detect lesions or damaged areas of the brain
oMRI superior – doesn’t need radiation
oCAT and MRI explore Neuroanatomy (brain structure)
PET used to detect brain functioning
oAllows to trace neurotransmitter pathways in the brain from these data to determine which
structures and pathways are involved in human behaviour
fMRI identifies increases in blood flow that are associated with increases in neural activity in
various parts of the brain
oAllows a map of brain function
oIsolate specific brain activity in response to an event or stimulus
Behavioral genetics  includes family, twin and adoption studies and allows to see if traits run in
Can identify genetic loci (specific places on specific chromosomes) associated with complex traits
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