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Psychology in Modules: Module 4.docx

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PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

Module 4 Page 1 Module 4 Neural and Hormonal Systems Biology, Behaviour & Mind  German physician Franz Gall proposed phrenology; studying bumps on the skull can reveal one's mental abilities and character traits. It succeeded in focusing attention on the localization of function - the idea that various brain regions have particular functions  Biological Perspective - concerned with the links between biology and behaviour includes psychologists working in neuroscience, behaviour genetics, and evolutionary psychology.  They have discovered that, the body is composed of cells, these cells conduct electricity and communicate through sending messages between tiny gaps, specific brain systems serve specific functions, we integrate these various brain systems to construct our experience of sights/sounds/meanings/memories/pain/passion, and our adaptive brain is wired by our experience.  We realize we are a system composed of smaller and smaller subsystems Neural Communication Neurons - a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system Dendrites - a neuron's bushy, branching extensions the receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body Axon - the neuron extension that passes messages through its branches to other neurons or to muscles or glands. Can extend several feet though the body. Myelin Sheath - a fatty tissue layer segmentally encasing the axons of some neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed as neural impulses hop from one node to the next. Laid down up until age 25. If this degenerates, multiple sclerosis occurs as communication to muscle slows with eventual loss of muscle control. Action Potential - a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. The speed the neural impulse travels depends on the type of fibre.  In the neuron's chemical-to-electricity process, ions (electronically charged atoms) are exchanged.  The fluid outside an axon's membrane has mostly positive charged ions, while the fluid inside the axon's membrane has mostly negative charged ions. This is called Resting Potential.  The axon's surface is selective in what it allows through, calling it Selectively Permeable.  When a neuron fires, the first section of axon opens its gates & positively charged ions flood through the cell membrane. This depolarizes that axon section causing another to open and so on, like a line of dominos. Module 4 Page 2  During the Refractory Period (resting pause), the neuron pumps positively charged ions back outside  Threshold - the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse. (If excitatory signals minus inhibitory signals exceed a minimum intensity).  A strong stimulus can trigger more neurons to fire or fire more often, but it cannot affect the action potential's strength or speed it travels down an axon. How Neurons Communicate British physiologist Sir Charles Sherrington noticed the brief interruption in the transmission of a signal down a neural pathway. The meeting point between neurons is a Synapse - the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called synaptic gap/synaptic cleft. When action potential reaches the knob-like terminals at the axon's end, it triggers release of chemical messengers called Neurotransmitters - chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to the receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse. Reuptake - a neurotransmitters re-absorption by the sending neuron
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