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Unit 3a: Biological Bases of Behavior

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Andrea Wilson

on 12 September 2018

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Transcript of Unit 3a: Biological Bases of Behavior

Unit 3:
Biological Bases of Behavior

Neural Communication
How Neurons Communicate
How Neurotransmitters Influence Us
Receives the impulses
Fatty layer that insulates the axon and speeds neural transmission
Makes Myelin
Carries impulse away from cell body to the terminal buttons to be passed to the next cell
Houses neurotransmitters for carrying impulse across the synapse
Firing Neuron
Communication is
. Chemicals called
trigger an electric impulse in the nerve cell. This electric charge called the
action potential
is generated by the movement of charged ions moving through the axon's
Resting Potential
Neuron is not firing, it is at rest
The inside is negatively charged
The outside is positively charged
The channels that allow the passage of these charged ions are closed
Charge is -70 mV
Action Potential
When chemical signals from neighboring neurons reach the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse (
), the neuron fires
The channels at the first node of Ranvier open allowing positively charged ions to enter the cell, changing the charge
that section of the axon and this causes the channels or gates in the next section of the cell to open
This continues down the entire length of the axon until it reaches the axon terminal and the neurotransmitters are released into the synapse
After the impulse moves to the next part of the axon, the
refractory period
occurs and the sodium/potassium pump returns the positively charged sodium ions to the area outside the cell
The junction between the axon terminal and the dendrites of the neighboring neuron is called the synapse
The gap is called the synaptic cleft
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that cross the gap to trigger the next neuron
Specific neurotransmitters bind with specific receptors like a key in a lock
Message is converted into electrical impulse
Neurotransmitters are reabsorbed through reuptake

The Effects of Drugs
Drugs and other chemicals mimic neurotransmitters
They can be inhibitory (antagonists) or excititary (agonists)
We'll discuss in depth in chapter on consciousness
The Nervous System
Bundles of axons create cables in the peripheral that connect the central nervous system to muscles, organs, and glands
Types of Nerves
Somatic NS
Voluntary Control of skeletal muscles
Autonomic NS
Automatically controls the glands and muscles of our internal organs

Sometimes can be consciously overridden
Sympathetic NS
Triggers fight or flight response
elevates heart rate and respiration
slows digestion
releases adrenalin
Parasympathetic NS
Returns the body to homeostasis
Works in conjunction with the sympathetic NS
Central NS
Spinal Cord and Reflexes
Carries messages between brain and peripheral ns
Sensory info to the brain
Motor control info from the brain
Reflex - simple, automatic, inborn response to sensory stimulus
Brain and Neural Networks
Brain is like your cpu taking in information, interpreting it, and sending out orders about how to respond
Neural Networks - groups of interconnected neurons. As learning takes place connections are strengthened or inhibited
networks are connected
Endocrine System
A system of glands that release hormones into the bloodstream. Does not function as quickly as the nervous system
Hormones - Chemical messengers produced in the glandular tissue which effect other tissues
The Glands
Processes - fibers that extend from the cell body
The Pituitary
The "Master Gland"
Controlled by the hypothalamus
Produces growth hormones, sex hormones, oxytocin, and prolactin
Controls metabolism
Function problems common in women
Creates cortical steroids for muscle development and stress control
Produces adrenalin and noradrenalin for stress response
Module 11: Studying The Brain
Clinically observing people with disease and injury
Manipulating the brain through electric, chemical and magnetic stimulation
Recording electrical activity using the electroencephlogram (EEG)
Neuroimaging Techniques
Computed Tomography Scan (CT) - uses radiation, shows structure but not function
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - patient ingests radioactive glucose and the areas of high activity where the glucose is being metabolized light up
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - uses magnetic fields and radio waves to generate a detailed image of soft tissues
Functional MRI - in addition to the brain imaging of the MRI, reveals blood flow and activity
The Brain
Older Brain Structure
Medulla - Controls Heart and breathing
Reticular Formation
Brain Stem - responsible for autonomic survival functions
Network of nerves, important for arousal
Thalamus - A relay system that takes in information from the senses and sends them to processing areas
Cerebellum- "little brain" processes sensory information and is important in voluntary movement and balance
The Limbic System
Emotional center of the brain associated with fear, aggression, hunger, and sex drive
The Amygadala - two lima bean shaped clusters. Associated with aggression and fear
Hypothalamus - located below the thalamus. Associated with hunger, thirst, and temperature regulation. Controls pituitary gland. Associated with reward.
Hippocampus - associated with memory
Structure of the Cortex
Weblike covering of interconnected neurons covering the cerebrum
Comprised of 20-23 million nerves
2 hemispheres / 4 lobes
Supported by Glial Cells
guide neural connections
provide nutrients and meylen
help in transmitting information
mop up ions and neurotransmitters
Module 12: The Cerebral Cortex
Functions of the Cortex
Motor Cortex
- controls voluntary muscle movements
Somatosensory Cortex
- body touch and movement sensations
Visual Cortex
- part of the occipital lobe that receives visual information
Auditory Cortex
- part of the temporal lobe that receives auditory information
Association Areas
Parts of the cerebral cortex responsible for higher level functions like thinking, learning, memory, and speaking
Found in all four lobes
Frontal lobe - judgment and reasoning
Phineas Gage
Broca's Area - in frontal lobe, usually left hemisphere, controls muscles that control speech
Wernicke's Area - located in the left temporal lobe, involved in language comprehension and expression
Aphasia - impairment in language
Broca - speaking
Wernicke - understanding
Our Divided Brain
Module 13: Hemispheric Organization
and the Biology of Consciousness
Left Right
Right half of body
Left half of body
Perceptual tasks
Spatial reasoning
Figurative thinking
Negative emotions
Emotional expression
Afferent Neurons
( aka sensory or receptor neurons) - carry nerve impulses from receptors or sense organs towards the nervous system
(relay, connector, association, or local circuit neuron) - forms a connection between other neurons
Efferent neurons
(aka motor or effector neurons) - carry impulses away from the CNS to effectors such as muscles or glands
Module 9: Biological Psychology and Neural Transmission
Myelin Sheath
Action Potential
Refractory Period
All-or-none Response
A space between segments of myelin that speeds up the action potential
Module 10: The Nervous and Endocrine System
Nervous System
Central NS
Peripheral NS
Sensory (afferent) neurons
Motor (efferent) neurons
Somatic NS
Autonomic NS
Sympathetic NS
Parasympathetic NS
Endocrine System
Adrenal Gland
Pituitary Gland
Key Terms:

EEG (electroencephalogram )
CT (Computed Tomography)
PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
fMRI (Functional MRI)
Brain Stem
Reticular Formation
Limbic System
Key Terms

Cerebral Cortex
Glial Cells (glia)
Frontal Lobes
Parietal Lobes
Occipital Lobes
Temporal Lobes
Motor Cortex
Somatosensory Cortex
Association Areas
Splitting the Brain
Two hemispheres are connected by the corpus collosum
In split brain procedures the corpus collosum is severed to treat patients with uncontrollable epilepsy
Patients experience few cognitive or temperament changes
Implications for visual processing
Alien Hand Syndrome is a rare complication
The brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience
Areas of the brain can take on functions they previously did not handle
Some functions can not be rewired
Brain's ability to rewire diminishes with age
This can be a product of reorganization of brain tissue or the production of new brain cells. The process of producing new neurons is called
Key Terms

Corpus Callosum
Split Brain
Cognitive Neuroscience
Dual Processing
The Biology of Consciousness
Consciousness - Our awareness of ourselves and our environment

Cognitive Neuroscience - The interdisciplinary study of the brain processes that occur during cognition ( including perception, thinking, memory, and language)

Dual Processing - The principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracts.

90% right handed
All right handed people process language in the left hemisphere, for left handed people 3 out of 10 process in the right or use both hemispheres
Left handedness correlated with reading disabilities, allergies and migranes
More common in musicians, mathematicians, and artists.
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