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Published by T-Bone02135
MIT DELVE AP Psychology Course Lecture 4 Notes
MIT DELVE AP Psychology Course Lecture 4 Notes

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Published by: T-Bone02135 on Mar 05, 2009
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Lecture 4: Biological Basis of Behavior 2
Central Nervous System
The central nervous system is divided into two parts: the brain and the spinal cord. The average adulthuman brain weighs 1.3 to 1.4 kg (approximately 3 pounds). The brain contains about 100 billion neuronsand trillons of glia. The spinal cord is about 43 cm long in adult women and 45 cm long in adult men andweighs about 35-40 grams. The vertebral column, the collection of bones that houses the spinal cord, isabout 70 cm long. Therefore, the spinal cord is much shorter than the vertebral column.
The Brain
The brain is separated into three main sections: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. The forebraincontains higher function, the midbrain is the seat of more automatic and crucial function such as temperaturemanagement, and the hindbrain is where motor coordination is handled.The brain is made up of four different lobes. The frontal lobe, the occipital lobe, the parietal lobe, and thetemporal lobe. The frontal lobe is the seat of higher emotional function. The occipital lobe serves as thevisual processing area of the brain. The parietal lobe processes much of the sensory information in the brain.The temporal lobe regulates, hearing, memory, and has a part in language and learning.1
Specific areas of note are the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, brain stem, hypothalamus, thalamus, the limbicsystem, huppocampus, septum, and basal ganglia.The
cerebral cortex
regulates the functions of thought, voluntary movement, language, reasoning, and hasa hand in perception.The word “cortex” comes from the Latin word for “bark” (of a tree). This is because the cortex is a sheetof tissue that makes up the outer layer of the brain. The thickness of the cerebral cortex varies from 2 to 6mm. The right and left sides of the cerebral cortex are connected by a thick band of nerve fibers called the“corpus callosum.” In higher mammals such as humans, the cerebral cortex looks like it has many bumpsand grooves. A bump or bulge on the cortex is called a gyrus (the plural of the word gyrus is “gyri”) and agroove is called a sulcus (the plural of the word sulcus is “sulci”). Lower mammals, such as rats and mice,have very few gyri and sulci.The
regulates the function of movement, balance, and posture.The word “cerebellum” comes from the Latin word for “little brain.” The cerebellum is located behind thebrain stem. In some ways, the cerebellum is similar to the cerebral cortex: the cerebellum is divided intohemispheres and has a cortex that surrounds these hemispheres.The
brain stem
regulates the functions of breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.The brain stem is a general term for the area of the brain between the thalamus and spinal cord. Structureswithin the brain stem include the medulla, pons, tectum, reticular formation and tegmentum. Some of theseareas are responsible for the most basic functions of life such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.The
regulates the functions of body temperature, emotions, hunger, thirst, and circadianrhythms.The hypothalamus is composed of several different areas and is located at the base of the brain. Althoughit is the size of only a pea (about 1/300 of the total brain weight), the hypothalamus is responsible for somevery important functions. One important function of the hypothalamus is the control of body temperature.The hypothalamus acts as a “thermostat” by sensing changes in body temperature and then sending signalsto adjust the temperature. For example, if you are too hot, the hypothalamus detects this and then sends asignal to expand the capillaries in your skin. This causes blood to be cooled faster. The hypothalamus alsocontrols the pituitary gland.The
regulates the function of sensory processing and movement.The thalamus receives sensory information and relays this information to the cerebral cortex. The cerebralcortex also sends information to the thalamus which then transmits this information to other areas of thebrain and spinal cord.The
limbic system
has a hand in emotions and memory.The limbic system (or the limbic areas) is a group of structures that includes the amygdala, the hippocampus,mammillary bodies and cingulate gyrus. These areas are important for controlling the emotional responseto a given situation. The hippocampus is also important for memory.2
regulates the functions of learning and memory.The hippocampus is one part of the limbic system that is important for memory and learning.The
basal ganglia
helps in regulating movement.The basal ganglia are a group of structures, including the globus pallidus, caudate nucleus, subthalamicnucleus, putamen and substantia nigra, that are important in coordinating movement.The
is important in regulating vision, audition, eye movement, and body movement.The midbrain includes structures such as the superior and inferior colliculi and red nucleus. There are severalother areas also in the midbrain.
Prefrontal Cortex
- Problem Solving, Emotion, Complex Thought
Motor Association Cortex
- Coordination of complex movement
Primary Motor Cortex
- Initiation of voluntary movement
Primary Somatosensory Cortex
- Receives tactile information from the body
Sensory Association Area
- Processing of multisensory information
Visual Association Area
- Complex processing of visual information
Visual Cortex
- Detection of simple visual stimuli
Wernicke’s Area
- Language comprehension
Auditory Association Area
- Complex processing of auditory information
Auditory Cortex
- Detection of sound quality (loudness, tone)
Broca’s Area
- Speech production and articulation3

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