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Ch. 3 Biological Aspects of Psychology
-Biological Aspects of Psychology (8%-10%)
.
biological psychology
study of the cells and organs of the body and the physical and chemical changes involved in behavior and mental processes
nervous system
complex combination of cells that allows you to gain information about what is going on inside and outside your body and to respond appropriately
input
received in the form of sensory signals from the world
processing
integrate the information with past experiences and decide what to do about it
output
occurs as your brain activates your muscles to act on the information
Alzheimer's disease
disease of the cells in the brain that usually occurs among older people; it causes a progressive and dramatic deterioration in reasoning and a broad range of other cognitive abilities
outer membrane of nervous system
lets substances pass in and out while blocking others
cell body of nervous system
contains a nucleus; the nucleus carries the genetic information that determines how a cell will function
mitochondria of the nervous system
structures that turn oxygen and glucose into energy
neurons
cells that are specialized to rapidly respond to signals and quickly send signals of their own
glial cells
"glue"; hold neurons together and help neurons communicate by directing their growth, keeping their chemical environment stable, secreting chemicals to help restore damage and even responding to signals from neurons
axons
fibers that carry signals AWAY from the cell body, out to where communication occurs with other neurons
dendrites-can be very short or several feet long; each neuron generally has one axon leaving the cell body, but has many branches
dendrites
fibers that RECEIVE signals from the axons of other neurons and carry those signals to the cell body
-neuron can have many dendrites; dendrites usually have many branches as well and purpose is to DETECT
synapse
minute gap between neurons
selectively permeable
cell membrane; lets some molecules pass through, while excludes others
ions
molecules that carry either a positive or negative electrochemical charge
polarized
the membrane is considered this when the inside of a cell is slightly more negative than the outside
electrochemical potential
drives positively charged molecules toward the inside of a cell where it is negative because the positive charge is attracted to the opposite
depolarize
when the area inside the membrane becomes less negative
action potential
abrupt change in the potential of an axon and its "contagious" nature is referred to as its self-propagating property; can also occur in dendrites
fired
when an action potential shoots down an axon
all or none communication
when the cell either fires at full strength or not at all
myelin
fatty substance that wraps around some axons and SPEEDS action potentials
refractory period
the short rest between firing periods
neurotransmitters
chemicals that transfer information at the synapse between the neurons
vesicles
numerous little "bags" that store the neurotransmitters at the tips of the axons
receptors
at the membrane of the postsynaptic cell (the next cell after neurotransmitters release to the synapse), it is the protein that neurotransmitters attach to; fits or binds to its own receptor like a puzzle piece; each neurotransmitter can bind to different receptors, but receptors only takes one known type
postsynaptic potential
change in the membrane potential of the dendrite or cell body of the postsynaptic cell; can make cell more or less likely to fire
excitatory postsynaptic potential
EPSP; depolarizing postsynaptic potential that can lead to the neuron to FIRE an action potential
hyperpolarized
when positively charged ions flow out of the neuron or negatively charged ions flow in; the neuron becomes more polarized and LESS LIKELY that the neuron will fire an action potential
inhibitory postsynaptic potential
IPSP; the term for a hyperpolarizing postsynaptic potential
neural networks
the organization of neurons in the brain and spinal cord
sensory systems
the groups of neurons in the nervous system that provide INPUT about the environment; vision, smell, hearing, taste and touch
motor systems
the OUTPUT system; parts of the nervous system that influence muscles and other organs to respond to the environment
peripheral nervous system
PNS, first division of the nervous system; includes all of the nervous that is not housed in bone, carries out all SENSORY and MOTOR functions
central nervous system
CNS; second division of the nervous system; the part encased in bone; includes the BRAIN (inside the skull) and the SPINAL CORD (inside the backbone/spinal column). It is the "central executive" of the body, information is usually sent to the CNS to be processed and acted on
somatic nervous system
PNS; transmits information from the senses to the CNS and carries signals from the CNS to the muscles that MOVE the skeleton; involved in every move you make
autonomic nervous system
PNS; carries messages back and forth between the CNS and the heart, lungs and other organs and glands; messages increase or decrease the activity of the organs and glands to meet varying demands placed on the body; suggests independent or "autonomous" operation because activities usually OUTSIDE OF CONSCIOUS CONTROL
sympathetic nervous system
division of the ANS; mobilizes the body for action in the face of stress, responses are known as the "FIGHT OR FLIGHT" response
parasympathetic nervous system
division of the ANS; REGULAYES the body's functions to conserve energy

-two divisions are OPPOSTITES
parallel distributed processing
input simultaneously activates several paths in the network, so that information is processed at various places at the same time; CNS
nuclei
CNS; collections of neuronal cell bodies
fibers tracts or pathways
CNS; axons that travel together in bundles
spinal cord
CNS; RECEIVES signals from peripheral senses, including pain and touch from the fingertips, and RELAYS those signals to the brain through fibers within the cord; neurons in the spinal cord also carry signals downward, from the brain to the muscles.
reflexes
simple behaviors without instructions from the brain; response to incoming signals is directly "reflected" back out
afferent
sensory neurons in the spinal cord, "coming toward" APPROACH
efferent
motor neurons, "going away" EXIT
brain
3 major subdivisions: hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain
hindbrain
incoming signals first reach here, continuation of the spinal cord;
medulla
hindbrain; controls blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and other vital AUTONOMIC functions
reticular formation
"netlike", threading throughout the hindbrain and into the midbrain that is a collection of cells not arranged in any well-defined nucleus. It is important for ALTERING the activity of the rest of the brain and if fibers are disconnected then a permanent coma will occur
locus coeruleus
hindbrain; "blue spot", small nucleus within the reticular formation; involved in directing ATTENTION and abnormalities in it have been linked to depression
cerebellum
also part of the hindbrain; allows eyes to track moving targets, storehouse for rehearsed movements; controls finely coordinated MOVEMENTS and language and symbolic thought
midbrain
above the hindbrain; certain types of autonomic behavior that integrate simple movements with sensory input are controlled here such as moving your head as your eyes are looking in the opposite at the same time
substantia nigra
"black substance", small vital nucleus in the midbrain
striatum
"striped appearance", in the forebrain; ^^^these two connections are necessary for smooth INITIATION of movement
forebrain
responsible for the most complex aspects of behavior and mental life; contains the structures known as diencephalon and cerebrum and the latter is covered by the cerebral cortex
thalamus
in the forebrain, part of the diencephalon, RELAYS PAIN signals from the spinal cord as well as signals from the eyes and most other sense organs to the upper levels of the brain; plays an important role in PROCESSING and making sense out of this information
hypothalamus
in the forebrain, part of the diencephalon, "under", involved in REGULATING hunger, thirst, and sex drives; has many connections to the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system, as well to other parts of the brain.
suprachiasmatic nuclei
in the forebrain, part of the hypothalamus, keeps an 24 hour CLOCK that determines your biological rhythms
cerebrum
largest part of forebrain
amygdala
in the forebrain, structure within cerebrum that in important for memory and emotion; associates features of stimuli from two different SENSES and is involved in fear and other EMOTIONS.
hippocampus
in the forebrain, structure within cerebrum that in important for MEMORY and emotion; damage to this part can result in an inability to form new memories,
limbic system
parts include hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus and the septum; plays an important role in REGULATING memory and emotion;
dementia
deterioration of cognitive capabilities often associated with aging; major cause of Alzheimer's disease
cerebral cortex
forebrain, outermost part of the cerebrum and has right and left halves that are similar in appearance
cerebral hemispheres
halves of the brain, the outer part is the cerebral cortex that has a surface area or 1-2 square feet
cerebral cortex
associated with the analysis of information from all the SENSES, control of VOLUNTARY movements, higher order THOUGHT and other complex processes
gyri
RIDGES of the brain
sulci or fissures
VALLEYS of the brain
four areas of the cortex
FRONTAL, PARIETAL, OCCIPITAL and TEMPORAL
sensory cortex
lies in the PARIETAL, OCCIPITAL and TEMPORAL lobes
visual cortex
receives visual information and is located in the OCCIPITAL lobe
auditory cortex
receives auditory information and is located in the TEMPORAL lobe
somatosensory cortex
information from the SKIN about TOUCH, PAIN and TEMPERATURE is received here and is located in the PARIETAL lobe
homunculus
pattern of the "little man" that determinates where the information is located in the brain when upside down
motor cortex
in the FRONTAL lobe, initiates VOLUNTARY movements in specific parts of the body
association cortex
part of the cerebral cortex that is NOT involved in either receiving specific sensory information or initiating movement; perform complex tasks such as associating words with images
aphasia
creates DIFFICULTY in understanding or producing SPEECH and can involve all functions of the cerebral cortex
broca's area
Paul Broca described the difficulties associated with damage to the association cortex in the FRONTAL lobe near the MOTOR areas that control facial muscles; when damage to this area is done, the mental organization of speech suffers
Wernicke's area
Carl Wernicke described this area that is located in the TEMPORAL lobe near an area of the cortex that receives information from the ears and eyes. It is involved in the INTERPRETATION of both speech and written words; damage to this area can leave fluency intact but disrupt the ability to understand meaning of works or speak comprehensibly
divided brain, but unified
the LEFT hemisphere receives information from and controls movements of the RIGHT side of the body, whereas the RIGHT hemisphere receives input from and controls the LEFT side of the body
Roger Sperry
studied SPLIT BRAIN patients which are people who had undergone a radical surgical procedure in an attempt to control severe epilepsy; resulted in severing the corpus callosum; he concluded that each separate hemisphere when severed had a mind own its own
corpus callosum
massive bundle of more than a million fibers that CONNECTS the two HEMISPHERES
lateralized
a task that is performed MOREefficiently by one hemisphere than another
synaptic plasticity
property of the brain that is the ability to STRENGHTHEN neural connections at synapses as well as to ESTABLISH new synapses; provides the basis for the capacity to learn from experiences and form new memories. This occurs throughout the whole nervous system and the brains is limited when repairing damage
Parkinson's disease
disorder characterized by tremors, rigidity of the arms and legs, difficulty in initiating movements and poor balance; most common in elderly, treated by drugs that enable neurons to make more dopamine or that stimulate dopamine receptors
neurotrophic factors
naturally occurring proteins called GROWTH factors which promote the survival of neurons
epidermal growth factor
a growth factor that causes some brain cells to divide and produce new neurons and glial cells
neurotransmitter system
group of neurons that communicates using the SAME neurotransmitter
acetylcholine
neurotransmitter; used by neurons in both PERIPHERAL and CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEMS. In PNS, cholinergic neurons control the contraction of MUSCLES by releasing acetylcholine onto muscle tissues. Also used by the neurons of the parasympathetic nervous system to SLOW the heartbeat and ACTIVATE the gastrointestinal system. In the brain, cholinergic neurons plentiful in striatum where they occur in circuits that are important for movement.
-axons of neurons make up pathways in limbic system
-drugs that interfere with neurotransmitter prevents the formation of new memories
-Alzheimer's disease- loss of cholinergic neurons in forebrain
-HIPPOCAMPUS AND CEREBRUM MEMORY AREAS
norepinephrine
called "adrenergic" because they are also called NONADRENALINES; occurs in both PNS and CNS, contributes to AROUSAL. It is used by the SYMPATHETIC nervous system to ACTIVATE you and PREPARE you for action. About 1/2 of the transmitters in brain is in the cells in the locus coeruleus which is near the reticular formation in the hindbrain. It is involved in WAKEFULNESS and SLEEP, in LEARNING and regulation of MOOD
serotonin
most use is along the midline of the HINDBRAIN; region is the RAPHE NUCLEI. Serotonergic axons send branches throughout the forebrain and affects SLEEP and MOOD. Can get one of the substances from which it is made, TRYPTOPHAN, directly from food (from high carbs). A part of AGGRESSION and IMPULSE CONTROL. Low serotonin levels= depression, self-directed aggression and impulsivity more likely
-HYPOCAMPUS, HYPOTHALAMUS AND CEREBRAL CORTEX
dopamine
used in the SUBSTANTIA NIGRA and STRIATUM that is important for MOVEMENT; malfunctions in this system causing movement disorders such as Parkinson's. Other dopamine systems SENDS axons from the midbrain to the forebrain including the cerebral cortex. Some of these neurons important in experience of REWARD, or PLEASURE which is vital in motivating and shaping BEHAVIOR. Cocaine's rewarding feeling is due to dopamine; malfunctioning of other dopaminergic neurons that go to cortex may be partly responsible for schizophrenia
schizophrenia
psychological disorder in which perceptions, emotional expression and THOUGHT are severely DISTORTED
GABA
REDUCES the likelihood that postsynaptic neurons will FIRE an action potential, it is the major INHIBITORY neurotransmitter in the CNS. Malfunctioning of the gaba system has been implicated in severe anxiety and Huntington's disease; gaba systems most likely contribute to epilepsy because drugs that block gaba receptors causes seizures
Huntington's disease
inherited and incurable disorder in which the victim is plagued by uncontrollable