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, while Plato believed it was in the brain • Franz Gall believed that the bumps on the skull revealed an individual’s character, traits and mental abilities. Also known as phrenology. • Gall’s Phrenology was wrong about the bumps revealing someone’s character, but his idea that different parts of the brain controls different parts of our behavior was correct. • Biological psychologist are those who study the links between psychological events and biological activity. They can also be known as neuropsychologists, physiological psychologists and behavior genetics. Neural Communication • The information system of the body is made up of interconnected neurons • The fact that our body is made of tiny cells, which make up the organs, which then make up the body systems such as the digestive system is known as Biopsychosocial systems. • It is because that the nervous system and the brain of humans and animals are similar that scientists are able to experiment on animals to find how our neural system works. Neurons • Each neuron has a cell body and branching fibers. • The neuron is a nerve cell, which is the basic foundation of the nervous system. • Dendrites are the bushy, branchy extensions of a neuron that receives messages and conducts impulses towards the cell body. • The axon is the extension of a neuron. The messages must pass through the axon to pass to the other neurons. They can be several feet long. • Motor neurons control the muscles • The myelin sheath is a layer of fatty tissue. It is due to the myelin sheath that impulses could be transmitted so fast. (The myelin sheath would bundle the fibers of many neurons, allowing no gaps or stops involved) • Multiple sclerosis is when the myelin sheath degenerates. It leads to the loss of muscle control • Neural impulses travel at around 2 to 200 miles per hour. • How an impulse travels: A neuron fires an impulse when it receives signals from sensory receptors, this can be stimulated by heat or light. Either way, it is stimulated chemically. Messages from neighboring neurons generate electricity from chemical events. The exchange of electrical charge that travels down the axon is also known as ions.
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The action potential is the neural impulse, the brief electrical charge that travels down the axon. It is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon’s membrane. The resting potential is the state when the fluid interior of the axon has an excess of negative ions and the fluid outside of the axon has positive ions. The axon’s surface is selectively permeable, it may block certain ions. The ions get through the axon through several steps. 1. Once a neuron fires, the axon will be open to positively charged sodium ions 2. The axon is then depolarized. The next part of the axon will open, leading other parts of the axon to open as well. (chain reaction) 3. The Refractory period is also known as the resting pause when the neuron pumps the positively charged sodium ions back outside of the membrane 4. In the myelin neurons, the action potential will speed up by hopping from one myelin to the other. There are two different types of signals, including the inhibitory and excitatory. The excitatory can be compared to pushing the accelerator, while the inhibitory could be compared as pushing the brake. The threshold is the required level of stimulation to trigger a neural response The action potential transmits down the axon, which branches into junctions with 100’s and 1000’s of other neurons, then to the muscles and glands. Increasing the stimulus above the threshold will not increase the action potential’s intensity. Also known as the ‘all or none’ response. Strong stimulus could trigger more neurons to fire; it will not affect the action potential’s strength or speed.
How Neurons communicate • Santiago Ramon y Cajal discovered gaps between individual nerve cells and said that the individual neurons must function as independent agents with in the nervous system. • Sir. Charles Sherrington discovered that the transmission did have interruptions by noticing that impulses took a long time to complete it’s actions. • The axon terminal of one neuron is separated from the receiving neuron by a gap , either called a synaptic gap or a cleft. • Diane Ackerman noticed that dendrites and axons do not touch • Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that extend across the synaptic gaps between the neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and binds to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, showing that it may influence whether a neuron will generate a neural impulse. • Reputake is when the neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the sending neuron. • The neurotransmitter molecule across the synaptic gap binds to the receptor sites on the receiving neuron. The neurotransmitter unlocks tiny channels at the receiving site, then allows ions to enter the receiving neuron.
How Neurotransmitters influence us • A particular neural pathway in the brain may use only 1 or 2 neurotransmitters and these neurotransmitters may have an effect on our emotions and motions and behavior. • Each pathway operates through either serotonin or dopamine • Acetylcholine (ACh) is the messenger at every junction between a motor neuron and skeletal muscle. Enables muscle action, learning and memory. Muscle contracts when ACh is released to the muscles and it can not contract if ACh is blocked from the muscles. • Candace Pert and Solomon Snyder discovered that morphine binds to receptors linked to mood and pain sensations. • That lead to the discovery of endorphins, natural opiate like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and pleasure. • Endorphins explains the ‘runners high’ How drugs and other chemicals alter neurotransmission • When artificial opiates reach the brain, the brain will stop producing it’s own opiates. Once the natural opiates are suppressed, one may feel unpleasant lingering after affects. • Agonist molecules are similar to neurotransmitters that it may mimic it’s effects. It could block the neurotransmitter’s Reputatake. • Black widow spider venom dispersed ACh to the synapses, causing violent contractions. • Antagonist blocks the ACh release from the sending neuron, it may cause paralyzation. It could occupy the receptor site, but can not stimulate the receptor. • Curare and Botulen are two poisons which are antagonists • Neurotransmitter research is leading to drugs which decrease the effects of depression, schizophrenia and other disorders • Blood brain barrier allows the brain to ‘fence out’ unwanted chemicals circulating in the blood. • L-dopa can be used to pass the blood brain barrier. The brain can convert this material to dopamine, while raw dopamine is blocked from the blood stream. The Nervous System • The nervous system is the electrochemical information network. • The Peripheral Nervous System(PNS) links the nervous system with the sense receptors, muscles and glands. • Nerves are the axons which carry the PNS information • There are three types of neurons 1. Sensory Neurons- sends information from the body’s tissues and sensory organs to the spinal cord of the central nervous system, which then process the information
2. Motor Neurons- Carries outgoing information from the Central Nervous System (CNS) to the muscles and glands 3. Interneurons- The Central Nervous system neurons, which internally communicates and intervenes between the sensory outputs and the motor neurons. The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) • Includes the somatic and autonomic nervous system • The somatic Nervous system controls the voluntary controls of the skeletal muscles. It triggers the muscles to move • The autonomic nervous system controls the glands and muscles of internal organs. It influences heartbeat, digestion and glandular activity. • The autonomic system has two parts. The Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. • The sympathetic nervous system will accelerate your heartbeat and blood sugar, slow down digestion, cool with perspiration and alerts you to any action when something alarms, enrages or challenges your body. • Lie detection measures such arousals, caused by the autonomic system • The parasympathetic nervous system conserves energy, while calming down an individual by lowering your heartbeat and by lowering your blood sugar. The Central Nervous System • The spinal cord connects the PNS to the brain • Ascending neural fibers send up sensory information while descending fibers send down motor control information. • Reflexes are a simple, automatic response to sensory stimuli. ( like the Knee Jerk Response) • A simple spinal reflex pathway contains a single motor neuron and one sensory neuron. • Reflexes work by communicating between a sensory and motor neuron, Interneurons respond by activating motor neurons. • If the spinal cord was damaged, neither pain or pleasure could be felt, there would be minimal sensations of voluntary movements below the spinal cord Brain and Neural Networks • Each Neuron connects with 1000’s of others. This connection is also known as the neural network. • Learning can strengthen the connection to produce certain results. They are found in clusters, depending on each task they perform. Endocrine System • The endocrine is the body’s slow chemical communication system. It consists of a set of glands that secretes hormones into the blood stream. • Hormones are chemical messengers, manufactured by the endocrine glands. They are produced in a tissue and later affects another. They are chemically identical to
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neurotransmitters and are very slow. The effects however outlast the effects of the effects of the neural messages. The autonomic nervous system contains adrenal glands which release epinephrine and norepinephrine. It is located on the top of the kidneys and provides us with energy by increasing the heart rate, blood pressure and sugar. The pituitary gland is located in the brain, and is controlled by the hypothalamus. It releases hormones that influences growth and also influences the release of hormones of other endocrine glands. Also known as the ‘master gland’ The response is as the following – Brain-Pituitary –other glands-hormones-Brain
The Brain • When we think with our brain, we fire millions of synapses and releases billions of neurotransmitter molecules. The tools of Discovery Clinical Observation • A lesion is when a tissue is destructed. It can be experimentally or naturally done. Scientists use this in certain regions of the brain tissue to observe the effects. • The first method of observation was observing the effects of brain disease and injuries. Scientists would then record the result of the damage to specific brain areas. This lead to the discovery that opposite parts of the brains control opposite parts of the body. (like how the left part of the brain controls the right hand) • University of Iowa has the largest brain damage registry • Harvard’s brain bank compares the brains of ‘normal’ people with the brains of people who have suffered mental disorders. Manipulating the Brain • The brain could be stimulated magnetically, electrically as well as chemically • Lesions are used to observe the effects Recording the brain’s electrical activity • Modern microelectrodes are so small that they could detect the electrical impulse of a single neuron • Electroencephalogram (EEG) amplifies the reading of waves, caused by neurons. • By repeating the stimulus, one could identify the electrical wave Neuroimaging Techniques • The Positron emission tomography (PET) shows each region of the brain consuming radioactive sugar glucose, while performing each activity. • Active neurons are similar to the radioactive form of glucose, it is injected and could be traced to the ‘hot spots’ which reveal brain activity • The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can scan the head, by placing it in a strong magnetic field which aligns spinning atoms, radio waves then disorients the atom’s movements for a short time. When the atoms return to their normal
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spin, they release signals that provide images of their concentrations, thus showing us a detailed image of the body’s soft tissues. Enlarged fluid filled regions in the brain could be found in people with psychological disorders. The fMRI reveal the brain’s functions as well as it’s structure, by revealing it’s blood flow. Daniel Langleben discovered that fMRI scans located upper brain activity due to lying within the cingulated cortex. (It was more active when some one began to lie or experience conflicting urges)
Older Brain Structures • The ratio of the brain and the body weight does not reveal intelligence levels • The brains of primitive vertebrates regulates survival functions such as breathing and resting, while the brain of lower mammals like rodents, enables emotions and greater memory. The brain of humans can process more information. The Brain Stem • Located along the spinal cord until it reaches the skull • Responsible for automatic survival functions • The medulla controls heartbeat and breathing • Pons – coordinates movements • The brain stem also connects a side of the brain with the body’s opposite side • The reticular formation is a nerve network in the brain stem which controls arousal. It extends from the spinal cord up to the thalamus. It’s job is to filter the incoming stimuli • Giuseppe Moruzzi and Horace Mouon discovered that the reticular formation was used in arousal. Did experiment were the cat never woke up from the coma Thalamus • Receives information from all the senses except from those of sight ,hearing, tasting and touching. • Located on top of the brain stem • Directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla Cerebellum • Enables nonverbal learning and memories • Judges time, emotions, recognizes sounds and textures • Coordinates voluntary movement • Older brain functions and occurs with out conscious effort The Limbic System • Hippocampus processes memory • The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus
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Amygalda influences aggression and fear Heinrick Kluver and Paul Bucy lesioned part of a monkey’s amygalda, the monkey became less fierce and became placid Aggression and fear can also be triggered in other parts of the brain, not just the Amygalda The Hypothalamus is below the thalamus and is involved in specific bodily ‘maintenance duties’, influences thirst, hunger, body temperature and sexual behavior. Monitors blood chemistry and influences other parts. Olds and Milner discovered through their experiment used on rats that the hypothalamus provides pleasurable reward Reward centers- do anything to get that stimulation In animals, the reward centers are essential for survival since they do not think about what they need to survive. Sanjiv Talwar learned to direct a rat through this process Reward Deficiency Syndrome- Explains addiction to alcohol, drugs and binge eating. It is a genetically disposed deficiency in natural brain systems for pleasures
Cerebral Cortex • Enables perception, thinking and speaking • Controls information processing center • When the cerebral cortex expands, genetic controls relax and adaptability increases. • Humans have a larger cerebral cortex for thinking and perception Structure of the Cortex • 80% of the brain’s weight is taken up by the left and right cerebellum • Filled with axon connection between Brain’s surface and it’s other regions • Cerebral Cortex contains over 20-23 billion nerve cells • Gilal cells – guide to neural connections (provides nutrients and insulates myelin, mops up ions and neurotransmitters) • The proportion of gilal and nerve cells are higher in more complex animals • Each brain hemisphere is divided into four lobes, separated by fissures (folds), the lobes include the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and the temporal lobe. • The temporal lobes are above your ears, the occipital lobes are at the back of your head, the parietal lobes are the top of the brain in back of the frontal lobe. Functions of the cortex • Otfrid Foerstred and Wilder Penfield mapped the motor cortex , according to the body’s parts and which region it controls • Jose Delgado stimulated a spot on the left cortex and discovered that the right fist would clench.
Brown University implanted 100 tiny recoding electrodes in the motor cortex of monkey. Experiment included having the monkeys moving joysticks while the researchers matched the movement with brain signals. When a monkey thought about a move, they were able toe move the joystick just as the monkey would have. They could also program a cursor to move in response to a monkey’s thinking by recording messages from the ‘planning and intention’ region of the brain. This allowed experiments regarding neural prosthetics with paralyzed patients. The first man can mentally control a TV, draw shapes on a computer screen and play video games.
Sensory Functions • In front of the parietal lobes, the sensory functions are located. • It registers, processes body touch and movement sensations. • If a region is more sensitive, it means that there is a larger sensory cortex for their regions. • Occipital lobes receives visual information • Temporal lobe processes hearing through auditory areas- active during phantom ringing and auditory hallucinations. • Association areas integrates information and associates various sensory inputs with stored memories • Frontal lobes- judge, plan and process new memories. Alters personality • Phineas Gage- frontal lobes were damaged through an accident, personality changed, became more dishonest and immoral • Parietal lobe is used for mathematical and spatial reasoning • The right temporal lobe enables the association and recognition of faces • Memory and language come from different areas of the brain. Language • Aphasia- impaired use of language, some people cannot read due to the damage to critical areas • Brocca’s area- area of the frontal lobe. Damage causes someone not to be able to speak words, yet allows them to sing familiar songs and comprehend speech. • Wernick’s area- controls language reception. Damage cuases people not to be able to talk with sense • Angular gyrus- receives visual information from visual areas, recodes it into auditory form. • Nerve fibers interconnect in the brain area. • Norman Geschwind explained how we use language through the processes below. 1. words first are registered in the visual area 2. Visual image is relayed to the angular gyrus, transforms words to auditory tone 3. Received and understood in the Wernick area 4. Sent to Brocca’s area
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5. Brocca’s area controls the motor cortex, creates pronounced word. Damages to the angular gyrus causes a person to not to be able to read. Damage to the wernick’s area disrupts understanding Damage to Brocca’s area disrupts speaking Visual scene- discerns color, depth, movement and form Feeds information to ‘higher level networks’ allowing some one to recognize faces. Brain functions can be best described as the process of specialization to integration, since it is so complicated
The Brain’s Plasticity • The brain’s ability to modify itself once damaged • Higher rate when we are younger • Most neurons can not be reprogrammed, however some can repair itself. • Once we loose a finger, the other fingers will be more sensitive. • If one part of the brain is not used like the temporal lobe is not used by a blind person, then that lobe will expand to help the other senses • If a body part was amputated, sensory fibers would terminate on adjacent areas of the sensory cortex may invade the brain tissue that’s no longer receiving sensory input • V.S. Ramachandran found that if someone stroked the face of an individual whose arm was amputated, the individual could feel sensations in the hand which was amputated as well as the face. • Master stem cells that can develop in type of brain cell has also been found in the human embryo Our Divided Brain • Philip Vogel and Joseph Bogen performed experiments in which they severed the corpus collosum, found out that people with split brain were normal • Sperry and Gazzaniga reveled that the corpus callosum links the left and right brain together. • Left cerebral hemisphere is important for language. (people are more likely to be verbal if they are left brained and more visual if they are right brained) • Each hemisphere works together in order to help us function each day. Brain Organization and Handiness • 10% of all people are born left handed • It is known that left handed people die earlier; Stanley Coren discovered this when he was researching left handed people and found that the number of people decreased after a certain age • Left-handers are ore likely to have experienced birth stress, such as prematurity or the need for assisted respiration. They also endure more headaches, have more accidents, have more knee and joint problems, use more tobacco and alcohol, and suffer more immune system problems.
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