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Chapter 2
Neuroscience and Behavior
Biological Psychology
branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior
neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologist, or biopsychologists
a nerve cell the basic building block of the nervous system
bushy, branching extensions of a neuron-- receive messages and conduct impulses toward
the cell body
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers-- messages are sent to other
neurons or to muscles or glands
Myelin Sheath
a layer of fatty cells encasing the fibers of many neurons
Neural Communication
Action Potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon
generated by the movement of positively charges atoms in and out of channels in the
axon’s membrane
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse
junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the
receiving neuron tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap
chemical messengers that travel the synaptic gaps between neurons
when released by the sending neuron, neuro-transmitters travel across the synapse and
bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron--influencing whether it will generate a
neural impulse
a neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contraction. Has role in learning and memory
natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters; linked to pain control and to pleasure
The Nervous System
Neurons communicating with other neurons form body’s primary system-- nervous system.
body’s speedy, electrochemical communication system; consists of all the nerve cells of the
peripheral and central nervous systems
Major divisions of the nervous system
Central Nervous System (CNS)
the brain and spinal cord
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
links the central nervous system with the body’s sense receptors, muscles, and glands.
sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of
the body
neural “cables” containing many axons part of the peripheral nervous system
connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs
Sensory neurons-- send information from the body’s tissues and sensory organs inward to the
brain and spinal cord, which process the information.
Motor neurons carry outgoing information from the CNS to muscles and glands, body’s
Interneurons in the CNS communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs
and the motor outputs.
Somatic Nervous System-- the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the
body’s skeletal muscles enables voluntary control of our skeletal muscles.
Autonomic Nervous System--the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the
glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart)
a dual self-regulating system--influences the glands and muscles of internal organs.
Sympathetic Nervous System
division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in
stressful situations
Parasympathetic Nervous System
division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy
The sympathetic nervous system arouses; the parasympathetic nervous system calms.
simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus
The Brain
oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters
the skull responsible for automatic survival functions
base of the brainstem controls heartbeat and breathing
Reticular Formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal
the brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem
it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the
cerebellum and medulla
Receives information from all the senses except smell and sends it to the higher brain regions
that deal with seeing, hearing, tasting, and touching
the “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem; coordinates movement output and
balance and helps process sensory information.
It enables one type of nonverbal learning and memory and helps us judge time, modulate our
emotions, and discriminate sounds and textures.
Methods used to explore functioning and structures of the brain:
Lesion tissue destruction
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Provides an electrical recording of the brain that is produced by the firing of the neurons.
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain’s
surface; waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes
while the brain performs a given task
With the use of radioactive water into the bloodstream, the PET scan can identify active
areas of the brain and examine the brain at work.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated
images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures
within the brain
fMRI - A powerful magnetic field is utilized in order to show structure and functioning of the
The Brain
Limbic System
a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral
includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus.
two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are
linked to emotion
neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus; directs several maintenance activities
body temperature
Cerebral Cortex
the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres
the body’s ultimate control and information processing center
Frontal Lobes--just behind the forehead, involved in speaking, muscle movements, and
planning and making judgments.
Parietal Lobes at the top of head and toward the rear, receive sensory input for touch and
body position.
Occipital Lobes at the back of the head, include visual areas. which receive visual
information from the opposite visual field
Temporal Lobes , just above the ears, include auditory areas
include the auditory areas
Each lobe performs many functions and interacts with other areas of the cortex.
Motor Cortex
area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements
Sensory Cortex
area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body sensations
Association Areas
More intelligent animals have increased “uncommitted” or association areas of the cortex
Specialization and Integration
hemisphere’s special functions--called hemispheric specialization or lateralization
Brain activity when hearing, seeing, and speaking words
Brain Reorganization
the brain’s capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage
(especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain
Research indicates that some neural tissue can reorganize in response to damage. When one
brain area is damaged, others may in time take over some of its function
Divided Brain
Corpus Callosum
large band of neural fibers; connects the two brain hemispheres; carries messages
between the hemispheres
The information highway from the eye to the brain
Split Brain
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting
fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them