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Short Answer

Question 1 What are glia cells? What functions do they serve? -- Glial cells are an important part of the nervous system. Their main purpose is the maintain homeostasis, and provide protection and support for neurons. They account for half the brains volume and make up many important factors within the body such as the myelin sheaths that insulate and surround axons. As part of their homeostasis maintenance, glial cells provide nutrients and oxygen, get rid of neuronal waste, and attack pathogens. They play a key role in nervous system development in embryos and some can even send signals and detect impulses like neurons. Question 2 Neuronal communication involves two mechanisms: a chemical one and an electrical one. Explain how they combine to produce electro-chemical neuronal communication. -- Neuronal communication is an electrochemical process. Sensory receptors receive an impulse that is converted into code for the brain. The brain interprets the signal and the information is sent along axons. Here, dendrites receive the stimuli and voltage gated sodium channels open. This continues until the stimulus reaches its threshold of approximately -70mV. At this point the sodium gates fully open and the sodium comes rushing in, driven by electrostatic pressure. Next, depolarization occurs and potassium channels are opened. The membrane becomes hyperpolarized, meaning the outside membrane is more positive than the inside. The sodium channels close completely and refract. Simultaneously, the potassium outside the membrane diffuses away and the neuron enters a refractory period. During this time the sodium-potassium pump redistributes ions and polarization is restored. In order for this neuronal impulse to have any effect, it must be transmitted from one neuron to the next until the signal gets to its final destination. This is achieved by traveling across synapses. The signal is sent from the presynaptic neuron of one cell to the postsynaptic neuron of the second cell through the release and use of neurotransmitters. Question 3 You are about to give your first speech in front of your speech class and are nervous about getting up in front of the class. As you anticipate getting up in front of the class you begin to feel butterflies in your stomach and a pounding in your chest. Using this example, explain how the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system work together to help your body react to this situation. -- The autonomic nervous system controls involuntary bodily functions. It connects nerves to the heart, blood vessels, glands, and smooth muscles. It is often referred to as the fight of flight response. The autonomic nervous system can be broken down into the sympathetic division, which mobilizes the bodys resources in eme rgencies, and the parasympathetic, which conserves the bodys resources in emergencies. In the scenario above, the pounding in your chest suggests your heart is responding to the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. A parasympathetic response from your heart would slow your heart rate not speed it up. The butterflies in your stomach are most likely digestions slowing down and blood being rerouted to other areas of your body. This is another example of a sympathetic response. As you begin your speech and overcome your nerves, you heart beat will slow down and the butterflies will dissipate. These are signs of the parasympathetic division because the body is relaxing and therefore conserving its resources. Question 4 Pick two different types of brain imaging techniques and describe what aspects of brain functioning they are used to explore. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method? -- Computerized tomography (CT) scan is essentially an x-ray of the brains structure. It is relatively inexpensive and therefore widely used. It works by taking multiple pictures of the brain from varied angles after which the computer assembles them into two-dimensional brain slices. This technique is used to look at abnormalities in brain structure in those with brain injuries or mental illnesses. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the other hand has similar functions to CT scans in that it too creates images of the brain. The difference is that MRIs use magnetic

fields and radio waves in addition to the computer to create its images. Also, MRIs produce three-dimensional images of the brain. Unfortunately, MRIs are pricier than the average CT scan so it is not used as frequently. Question 5 Imagine meeting four separate individuals who have each sustained injuries to different sections of the brain. Person Person Person Person A has irreversible damage to her frontal lobe B has irreversible damage to his parietal lobe C has irreversible damage to her temporal lobe D has irreversible damage to his occipital lobe

Briefly, what would be the effects of each of these injuries? -- All four lobes are part of two grander cerebral hemispheres, which are separated by the corpus callosum in the center. Person D has damage to his occipital lobe and therefore would have issues processing visual signals because the occipital lobe is home to the primary visual cortex. He would have issues identifying visual components such as color and shape. He might also be unable to identify hallucinations and there is the possibility of vision loss. Person C has damage to her temporal lobe. This is home to the primary auditory cortex so she would most likely have hearing issues. She may lose the ability to pay attention to what she hears or comprehend the language if the damage is on the left side. She may also see differences in her long-term memory recollection, and sexual behavior. Damage of this sort could lead to seizures or loss of humor. Person B has damage to his parietal lobe which is where the primary somatosensory cortex is located. He would most likely have issues converting signals relating to touch such as moving his hand when it gets too close to the fire because he would not be fully aware of himself spatially. He would also have a hard time identifying things and performing tasks that require the integration of visual data such as reading. Person As damage to her frontal lobe would cause issues with the primary motor cortex that is located in this region. This region is responsible for voluntary movement, conscious thought, as well as personality. Damage to this region could lead to impaired judgment and changes in attention span. Person A could suffer from a loss of motivation and mood swings. All in all, all four types of damage are detrimental to a person s daily function and well-being. Question 6 Summarize the functions of the brain's two hemispheres and explain their relationship. -- Brain imaging and mapping makes it possible to identify the functions and relationships of the two hemispheres within the brain. Many sensations occur in both hemispheres such as perception of sound and sight, spatiality, hunger and pain. Frequently, however, the inputs are separate. For example, both ears hear sound and send this information to both hemispheres but stimuli in the left auditory receptors register in the right hemisphere. This is further explained by split-brain research that shows that the left hemisphere communicates with the right side of the body and the right hemisphere communicates with the left side of the body. Perceptual asymmetries show differences between the two hemispheres. The left hemisphere responds faster to verbal stimuli, analytical processing and skilled movement. This includes language, speech, reading and writing. The right hemisphere responds faster to visual and spatial such as nonverbal communication. This includes reading faces, emotional responses, shape recognition, and holistic processing. Question 7 Choose a specific hormone or class of hormones and discuss the impact it has on behavior and why. -- Testosterone is a steroid hormone made by the testes in men and the ovaries and adrenal cortex in women. There are factual links between testosterone and behavior but the extent and implications are not yet fully understood. Testosterone affects many aspects of behavior including (but not limited to) aggression, sexual drive,

and energy. Research suggests that the ties between sexual behavior and testosterone stem from the release of testosterone packed semen during sex causes a decrease in testosterone levels for men and a short increase of testosterone levels in women. Ironically, scientists are faced with a conundrum similar to the chicken and the egg when it comes to hormones and behavior. Research shows behavior affects testosterone levels too. Emotion based changes in behavior seem to lower testosterone in men and increase testosterone in women. Similarly, testosterone and aggression portray similar means of delivery. Research mainly shows a positive correlation between levels of testosterone and aggression but the association cannot be fully substantiated because testosterone is made in greater quantities in males over females. Furthermore, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that higher levels of testosterone cause aggression it is merely suggested. All in all, it can be concluded that there are many factors both chemical and environmental that play a role in the complicated nature of a hormones affect on behavior. Question 8 Explain how genetic information can affect behavior. -- Genetic information plays a role in behavior in a same way it determines a persons physical attributes genes. Since the beginning of behavioral genetics there have been indications that behavior has a basis in genetics. Firstly, behavior is species specific. For example, the amount of seeds a species of bird will carry depends on the species. The number of seeds is the behavioral change that varies by species which are genetically different. Another indication that behavior is biological comes from changes in brain activity. Brain injuries prove that polite people can become aggressive and obsessive after physical damage to the brain. Finally, behavior is biological because mental illness for example depressionhas been proven to be hereditary and mental illness is frequently diagnosed through behavioral traits. Question 9 Describe the three methods used by behavioral geneticists to attempt to investigate the effects of genetics and experience on behavior. --To assess the impact of heredity, researchers use family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies. Family studies require scientists to compare blood relatives to the test subject for similarities in personality and behavior traits. For family studies to show positive evidence, similar traits should be more prominent in those closer in blood line to the test subject. Unfortunately, family studies do not produce conclusive evidence because relatives usually live in the same or similar environments that could affect the traits in question. Twin study on the other hand is similar to family studies but instead of comparing blood relatives, scientists compare fraternal and identical twins for similarities in personality and behavior. Identical twins produce more conclusive results than fraternal twins because identical twins are genetically the same, but in both cases twins usually share an environment and thus compromise the results as with family studies. Adoption studies provide results unavailable in twin and family studies because adoption studies compare behavior similarities from the child to both biological and adoptive parents. Although it is unethical to purposefully separate a child from the biological parents, this provides the most conclusive results because it is the ultimate nature vs. nurture test. If the child is similar to the adoptive parents, genetics have little to do with the behavior. If the child is similar to the biological parents, genetics prevails. All in all, behavior is influenced by both hereditary and environment. Question 10 Briefly explain the three textbook themes highlighted in this chapter. --There are three textbook themes highlighted in this chapter. The first is: heredity and environment jointly influence behavior. This chapter sheds light on genetic behavior studies that evaluate heredity versus environment. It shows that certain traits such as sarcasm and preferences are usually environmental where as intelligence and temperament are heredity. The second theme highlighted in this chapter is: behavior is determined by multiple causes. The best example of this given by the book is schizophrenia and how it can stem from structural defects in the brain, neurotransmitter activity, and/or genetic predisposition. Another example is aggression. We see in this chapter it can be caused by brain damage to certain parts of the cerebral cortex such as the frontal lobe, excess testosterone levels, and/or it can be inherited. The final theme highlighted in this chapter is: psychology is empirical. This was especially evident in the explanation of the different methods used to study genetic behavior. The reoccurring motif seemed to be that the method was not conclusively hereditary due to environmental factors.

Essay

Question 11 Choose a specific neurotransmitter or class of neurotransmitters and discuss its impact on behavior. --Dopamine is a well-studied neurotransmitter that sometimes doubles as a hormone. It is produced in many parts of the brain and is associated with rewarding stimulation in the brain. Many recreational drugs such as cocaine act to stimulate dopamine in order to induce a euphoric state. Furthermore, a hand full of behavioral disorders and terminal diseases are treated by alteration of dopamine levels within the brain. Parkinsons patients are given dopamine to control muscle movement because research suggests too little dopamine seems to be one factor causing this disease. Schizophrenic patients, on the other hand, are given a dopamine inhibitor because too much dopamine is thought to lead to schizophrenia. In this sense, the stimulation and inhibition of dopamine affects the behavior of patients in drastically different ways. Question 12 Compare and contrast the nervous system and the endocrine system. --The nervous system and the endocrine system play very specific and very crucial roles in the vitality and proper function of our bodies. First and foremost, they both use chemical messages to communicate with other cells. They differ, however, in the mode of delivery. The endocrine system uses hormone secretion and transportation through blood flow to deliver signals to its general target area. The nervous system on the other hand uses electrical signals sent via axons to a very specific region. The mode of transportation is faster in the nervous system because the signal is moving from direct cell-to-cell contact, where as in the endocrine system the hormones are transmitted via diffusion through blood flow. The two systems work together to keep the body functioning, but in two drastically different ways. The nervous system controls critical, repetitive functions such as breathing in short bursts. The endocrine system keeps the body function by releasing hormones that change the body over time. The most obvious are the human growth hormones that keep the body functional. The nervous system uses synaptic plasticity to change the quantity released in order to manipulate the postsynaptic response. If abused, this can leads to deterioration or permanent damage. The endocrine systems hormones on the other hand eventually wear off and the affected area returns to its original state. Question 13 Compare and contrast lesioning and electrical stimulation of the brain. -- People suffering from brain damage also suffer from changes in behavior and personality. The best way to help these people is by learning the function of each part of the brain. Scientists have found that trial and error is the quickest and most effective way of achieving this. However, it is unethical to damage par ts of peoples brain just for the betterment of science, so scientists use animals and alternative methods to achieve the same goals. Lesioning and electrical stimulation are both methods of exploring brain function. Leasioning is the destruction of specific parts of the brain through the use of a stereotaxic instrument that essentially burns through the section being studied. This helps researchers study function and impairment when the animal is without. A prominent advancement that has been achieved through this method is the regulation of hunger. Electrical stimulation, on the other hand, only temporarily suspends activity in a certain region of the brain. This is achieved through weak electrical stimulation. This technique is especially helpful during brain surgery to avoid essential parts of the brain. Question 14 Assume that trait X is primarily an inherited characteristic. Imagine that trait X is investigated using family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies. Briefly describe each of these three methods and indicate what information each would be expected to yield regarding trait X. --Family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies are all common methods used by behavioral geneticists to determine whether a trait is heredity. Each has its strengths and weaknesses but overall they produce similar results with slight variations. Family studies are when scientists compare the trait from the person in question to those of his blood relatives. In this case, family studies would reveal that trait X was present in the subject and most of his/her close relatives. The further away the relation is to the subject, the less frequent trait X would be

present. Unfortunately, this method of observation is not conclusive because relatives, especially those closely related to the subject, often share living quarters and thus environment as a factor questions the validity of hereditys influence. Twin studies are similar to family studies, but instead of comparing the subject to all family members, the subject is compared to his/her twin. Identical twins produce more conclusive evidence because identical twins are genetically the same, where as fraternal twins are only share half the same genes. Similar to family studies, twin studies would show that identical twins would both have trait X because of their identical inheritance, but fraternal twin would only most likely share trait X. Again, like in family studies, twins usually grow up in the same environment and therefore the credibility of the observation is questioned by environmental factors. Finally, adoption studies compare trait resemblances between the adopted child and both his/her biological parents and adoptive parents. If this method shows the child shows trait X, then the biological parents would also have trait X. The adoptive parents would not necessarily have this trait, especially if it was autosomal recessive. The one advantage to adoption studies is there is no environmental factor influencing the results. Question 15 Imagine the following scenario: Administrators at the local high school have been impressed by recent media reports of cerebral hemispheric specialization, and are considering curricular reform to achieve a better balance between "left-brained" and "right-brained" activities. You have been hired to advise them on this issue. What would your recommendation be, and why? --The first thing I would recommend would be for each teach to determine if they are left-brained or rightbrained. I would teach the teachers the difference so they are better equipped to look for signs of each. Left brainers respond to verbal stimuli and analytical processing. Right -brainers respond to nonverbal stimuli and holistic processing. Once teachers know the difference, they can determine their teaching methods. Right -brained teachers tend to assign more hands on group projects and teach through big picture group discussions. Left -brained teachers teach through lectures and outlines. Usually children who share similar hemisphere dominance with the teachers thrive. By integrating the opposite of their natural methods into a teachers regular routine, more children will be able to connect and thrive. For example, a right-brained teacher should try having students analyze the material within the group discussions before looking for the big picture. Left -brained teachers should integrate creative tools into the daily lectures and outlines. This can be as simple as adding more pictures to an outline or having a colorful PowerPoint accompany her lecture. In the end, more children will benefit from daily class and the teachers will learn about themselves in ways that will help them throughout their careers. Question 16 Imagine taking a bite of a pizza. Briefly discuss the role that each part of the brain takes in this simple act. Pons, Cerebellum, Reticular formation, Thalamus, Hypothalamus, Amygdala, Hippocampus, Parietal Lobe, Occipital Lobe, Temporal Lobe, Frontal Lobe, Prefrontal Cortex --Numerous parts of the brain go into processing a bite of pizza, without the consumers conscious knowledge. Simultaneously, the thalamus processes sensory signals associated with the pizza and sends these signals to the cerebral cortex, which contain the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, the temporal lobe, and the frontal lobe. The prefrontal cortex recalls memories of eating pizza in the past, which triggers the medullas involuntary action of salivation. The occipital lobe enables the sight of the pizza physically. The parietal lobe properly identifies the location of the pizza spatially. The medulla enables the breathing in of the air around the pizza, which stimulates arousal in the pons. The reticular formation carries stimulation related to this arousal through the brainstem. The hypothalamus process signals that let the brain know the body is hungry. The frontal lobe, which contains the prefrontal cortex, makes the decision to take a bite. The parietal lobe, which is responsible for kinesthesis and body awareness, sends signals to keep the body steady and move the muscles in the arm and hand to pick up the pizza and move it towards the mouth. The cerebellum assists the parietal lobe by coordinating muscle movement and balance. All in all, the different parts of the brain send signals to process every aspect of the pizza most take for granted.

Ponssleep and arousal Cerebellumcoordinates fine muscle movement and balance Reticular formationCarry stimulation related to sleep and arousal through brainstem ThalamusRelay center for cortex. Handles incoming and outgoing signals HypothalamusRegulation of basic biological needs; hunger, thirst, temperature control Parietal LobeSomatosensory info; kinesthesis and body awareness Occipital LobeVision Frontal LobePlanning, thinking, worrying Prefrontal Cortex part of the frontal lobe, decision making