Exam 3 Study Guide – Biological Psychology
central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) the major part of the nervous system that includes the brain and motor/sensory nerves connected to the PNS by the spinal cord. peripheral nervous system The PNS is a collection of nerves that does not include the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Consists of two subcategories:
∙ Somatic the voluntary part of the PNS that allows for the control and movement of the skeletal muscles and other voluntary functions.
∙ autonomic [sympathetic (“flight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”)] the autonomic nervous system holds reign over the involuntary nervous functions (breathing, heart rate, hormone release; expends energy). The autonomic nervous system consists of two other subcategories called the sympathetic (stimulating responses related to fightorflight response; alertness and wakefulness is primed) and parasympathetic (responses and nervous system function is slowed; conserves energy).
lobes of the brain: frontal parietal, temporal, occipital (know general function of each) Parts of the cerebrum that have their own specific functions. Frontal problemsolving, decisionmaking, home of the motor cortex. Parietal sensations of touch, temperature, pain. Occipital home of the visual cortex. Temporal Memory, speech perception. motor cortex Generates signals responsible for voluntary movements. somatosensory cortex Receives data about sensations in skin, muscles, and joints. mirror neurons Neurons which fire both when performing an action and when observing another performing the action. Found in premotor and motor cortex, and other areas. Controversial links to imitation, speech, and empathy.
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cortical homunculus Part of the somatosensory cortex that is a visual representation of the amount of cortex devoted to a particular region of the body.
corpus callosum, lateralization The corpus callosum is a large band of neural fibers that connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Lateralization is a cognitive function that relies more on one side of the brain than the other. The phenomenon was demonstrated using studies of patients who had splitbrain surgery (partial or complete severing of corpus callosum) to reduce severity of epileptic seizures. limbic system: thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala. The limbic system is a more primitive region that was developed before the cerebrum appeared in humans. Consists of the: thalamus “switchboard between subcortical areas and the cerebral cortex; hypothalamus synthesizes hormones which stimulate pituitary gland; hippocampus required for the formation of conscious memories; amygdala emotional aspects of experience and memory. We also discuss several other topics like Who adopted the greek alphabet?
prefrontal lobotomy surgical procedure developed and practiced in the 1930’s1950’s when they became interested in the prefrontal damage that was produced in tamer monkeys. Applied to patients with serious mental illness. Developer got the Nobel Prize in 1949; Portuguese physician, Antonio Egas Moniz.
transorbital lobotomy In the 1940s, a medical doctor by the name of Walter Freeman developed 10min “transorbital lobotomy” done with an icepick. It was crude and casual, and he ended up performing over 2500 of the procedures.
Capgras syndrome Afflicted patients recognize friends or relatives, or pets, but insist they are impostors. May relate to faulty connections between areas of the cortex where faces are recognized, and the amygdala.
midbrain, cerebellum, pons, medulla oblongata The most primitive region of the brain that evolved in very early vertebrates. Responsible for basic survival functions. Midbrain (top of the brainstem) involved in relaying information in vision and hearing. Cerebellum important in balance and motor coordination. Pons Relays signals from the forebrain to the cerebellum. Medulla oblongata helps regulate breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. We also discuss several other topics like What is the conjunctive normal form?
schizophrenia (definition, brain abnormalities, neurotransmitter hypothesis) Contrary to popular belief, it is not a “split personality.” There is an official “dissociative personality disorder” (used to be “multiple”) but exceedingly rate, IF it really exists. It is an “umbrella” diagnosis not a good situation ideally, clear categorization for effective, well tailored treatment, not there yet. The most common symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Brain abnormalities could be the cause, but it is unknown. It does appear that the ventricles (cavities in the brain where cerebrospinal fluid is produced) may be enlarged; likely shrinkage in hippocampus, amygdala. Neurotransmitter hypotheses: Dopamine hypothesisexcess activity at the DA synapses. Has evidence from drug abuse. Essentially, it is brought upon by an increase and prolonging on DA activity. The problems with the hypothesis: various antipsychotics have different effects on receptors, individual response varies. Receptor blockers do not treat all symptoms, and not all variants helped by blocking DA receptors. The glutamate hypothesis proposes that there is an understimulation at glutamate receptors. Glutamate inhibits dopamine, vice versa. PCP can inactivate glutamate receptors. Either or both DA and glutamate hypotheses could be correct—not mutually exclusive. If you want to learn more check out How do you make fusion proteins?
segmentation of the nervous system Earthworms give evidence of an early segmentation of vertebrate nervous systems and how it is spread throughout vertebrate bodies. vertebrate brains – structure and size All vertebrate brains have similar comparable structures since they all diverged from each other from a common ancestor. The brains, however, grow in size as the vertebrate becomes more complex. The organization and functionality of the structures are all very similar among vertebrates, but the different areas vary dramatically. Evolution of bigger brain size includes the following changes: disproportionate increase in cerebral cortex, more folding, increased surface area; 2. Disproportionate increase in prefrontal cortex size.
prefrontal cortex The evolution of the prefrontal cortex gave several obvious advantages to mammals and humans specifically: 1. Cognition/attention; 2. Working memory; 3. Flexibility/creativity.
models for primate intelligence Evolutionary explanation of intelligence: cognitive mapping hypothesis seeking widely dispersed resources favored increased cognitive ability (Milton). Extractive foraging hypothesis seeking hidden food resources, such as insects or roots, increased cognitive ability. Social intelligence hypothesis (Machiavellian hypothesis) living in groups promoted increased cognitive ability. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the musical example used for theme and variation?
Family Hominidae family which includes humans and immediate human ancestors. Dates back 78 million years from the origins of Africa. Adaptations for bipedal locomotion as well as reduced canine size. Significant brain size increase and tool use only after 2.5 million years ago. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the difference between arthritis and rheumatism?
Lovejoy hypothesis for bipedality Pairbonding hypothesis proposed by C. Owen Lovejoy that links the advent of bipedality with carrying foods for provisioning. Canines reduced due to a trend towards monogamy (a mating system where provisioning often occurs).
brain size and “g” Has both genetic and environmental components. Brain size between species may be related to general cognitive ability (“g”) or success in specific tasks. Linkage of brain size with “g” in humans controversial. Claims of relationships between brain size and spatial abilities or working memory. These are the costs of a large brain. hypotheses for human brain evolution There is evidence that there is a threefold increase in brain size over the last 2.5 million years (since the Austalopithecus). Changes in cognitive abilities, and/or possible reasons for it, tracked through changes in material culture (e.g. tools).
Habituation decreased response to repeated stimulus (may refer to a reduction in atual behavior and/or neuron activity).
classical conditioning phenomenon discovered and developed by Pavlov in which he got dogs to salivate to an associate response. The dogs salivated when he gave them a meat powder, and he eventually got them to salivate when he introduced a tuning fork (conditioned stimulus) with the powder.
operant conditioning an emitted behavior becomes more or less likely to reoccur depending on the consequences of the behavior (reinforcement: reward, punishment). Many brain areas involved; the neurotransmitter dopamine especially important in “positive reinforcement.”
William James generally known throughout the scientific community as the “father of psychology.” He did extensive work on memory and developed what was primary and secondary memory.
modal model of memory a memory model that had a huge influence on memory research. Developed by Atkinson and Shriffin. Basic synopsis of the model is that sensory input is gone through the sensory memory where it is soon stored in shortterm memory. If the input is rehearsed, it goes into longterm memory. If not, it is soon forgotten.
components of working memory Baddeley and Hitch developed this system in the 1970s. It temporarily holds and manipulates information when we perform cognitive
tasks. Phonological loop holds auditory and verbal information. Visuospatial sketchpad holds spatial and visual information. Central executive coordinates selective or divided attention within/between information types, pulls info from longterm memory. categories of longterm memory Declarative (conscious) is further divided into episodic (personal events) and semantic (facts, knowledge). Implicit (not conscious) is divided into repetition priming (reexposure to the same stimulus allows faster recognition) and procedural memory (memory for skills).
synaptic consolidation and systems consolidation This concept describes how new memories are transformed from a fragile, easily disrupted state, to one resistant to disruption. Synaptic consolidation occurs rapidly (longterm potentiation increase in signal transmission between pairs of neurons from being activated synchronously). Systems consolidation involves more global restructuring of circuits within the brain. retrieval cues a stimulus that helps in the recall of other information like sights, sounds, and smells.
encoding specificity when a material is perceived in a particular state of mind, it is encoded in a particular way. It depends on the context at the time, and at recall, there is an advantage in having the same information available as that during encoding. It all depends on environment, state, and mood.
universal grammar hypothesis Roger Bacon suggested that there is a humanonly, genetically based “language organ” in the brain and that language arose in humans sometime in the last 100,000 years. All natural languages are expected to share certain features—this is universal grammar.
Piraha language Studied by Daniel Everett. There is no grammatical recursion, no words for numbers or colors, little talk of the past or future. There are very interesting implications for the language regarding how we process the world through the formation of language.
“sensitive” or “critical period” Individuals underexposed to language at an early age have language impairments later on.
Exaptation a character that arises for one purpose but is later coopted for another. S.J. Gould argued that language is largely a byproduct of a larger brain, or one rewired for nonlanguage related to cognitive function. Others find this unlikely, as there are derived anatomical traits associated with speech.
descent of the larynx adult human larynx located lower than in chimps and most other mammals (and human infants). Allows humans to produce rapid changes in emitted sounds. Descended larynx may have evolved in humans before true language. Reasons for its evolution must be important—increases choking hazard in humans. Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas Broca’s area is traditionally linked with language production, but now known to be related to language perception as well. Wernicke’s area traditionally linked with language perception, but now known to be important in the formulation of what will be spoken.
arcuate fasciculus A bundle of nerve fibers called that connects Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, creating a “language loop.”
KuypersJurgens hypothesis proposes that humans above other mammals have direct corticomotor connections, which allow for greater manipulation and formation of sounds necessary for language.
classic and modern language origins theories CLASSICAL: Gestural origins hypothesis a “sign language stage” preceded speech. “Bowwow” theory earliest language involved imitations of natural sounds (such as a dog barking or goat bleating). “Poohpooh” theory earliest language involved emotional cries. “Babbleluck” theory selective reinforcement of random babbling words leads to standardized vocalizations. “Yoheho” theory first language was composed of rhythmic sounds made during strenuous group efforts. “Singsong” theory first language was musical protolanguage. “Dingdong” theory humans innately associate certain sounds with certain objects or actions. “Conventionalist” theory In the distant past, humans decided to establish language by assigning certain vocal signs to their referents. MODERN: Combination theories emphasize multiple aspects of the classical ideas. Emphasize early evolution of protolanguage, and late evolution of syntax. Kin selection for information, followed by reciprocal altruism between nonkin.