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HU / Engineering / PSYC 050 / What is the ability of the brain to adapt structure and function to da

What is the ability of the brain to adapt structure and function to da

What is the ability of the brain to adapt structure and function to da


School: Howard University
Department: Engineering
Course: Intro to Psychology
Professor: Kelli hill
Term: Spring 2018
Tags: Intro to Psychology and Brain and Behavior
Cost: 25
Name: Psyc 050, Week 2 Notes
Description: These notes contain material from the lectures and textbook.
Uploaded: 02/04/2018
5 Pages 189 Views 1 Unlocks


What is the limbic system and what is its function?

PSYC 050


Dr. Kravitz

Week 3: Brain and Behaviour

✓ The entire nervous system is made of neurons

✓ There are 5 main parts of the neuron

i. cell body- central area that performs neurons basic activities;  translate received message

ii. dendrite- smaller passageways for transmission receive messages;  serves as input part of neuron

iii. axon- a fiber that carries transmission toward of neurons; send  message. Covered by myelin sheath produced by glial cells; deterioration leads to Multiple Sclerosis

iv. Axon terminal\terminal button- to dendrite-if another cell. Contains  little areas called terminal button does not touch the dendrite but  has a synaptic gap. In terminal button are giant vesicles containing  neurotransmitters substances about 70 discovered

What are the 7 major neurotransmitters?

v. synapse- slave to be crossed between axon terminal and dendrite We also discuss several other topics like How do you know if its polar or nonpolar?

✓ The 3 main types of neurons:

i. Interneurons- also called connector/ relay neurons for  communication between sensory and motor neurons

ii. Sensory neurons- neurons in the senses, they detect stimuli and carry information from sensory receptors to the brain

iii. Motor neurons- go to muscles carry info from brain to muscles/  brain stem to muscles and glands


There are 600 synapses at the terminal button of one neuron at birth as we  grow that number increases up to 35,000

✓ All-or-None response  

What is the function of brain stem?

• Neurons are either firing of not firing  

• When neuron is at rest\not firing is called resting potential • When the electrical charge reaches a threshold, neuron begins to  fire. This is called action potential If you want to learn more check out What is the difference between an ai and an rda for a nutrient?

• Refractory period, waiting time before next firing not get control • RESTING POTENTIAL ACTION POTENTIAL REFRACTORY  PERIOD

✓ Major Structure of The Nervous System

A. Central Nervous System:

I. Brain

II. Spinal cord

B. Peripheral Nervous System:  

I. Somatic/ Voluntary Nervous System: connects CNS to parts  of the body under our control spreads throughout body

II. Autonomic/ Involuntary Nervous System: connects CNS to  parts of the body, centered around where organs are. It is  divided into:

i. SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM - for turning up;  involved in fight/ flight: a physiological response in period of  stress

ii. PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM - for turning down for maintaining body processes

for regulating body temperature at 98.6 Fahrenheit in process  called homeostasis

Overall, nervous system works by

Input Process Output


• Neurotransmitters We also discuss several other topics like What are the two kinds of electric charges?

o are chemical messengers that are contained in synaptic vesicles o they fit into receptors by Lock and key hypothesis

o when not accepted by the receptors of the next neuron undergo  reuptake

o Some important neurotransmitters and their effects

a) Endorphins- reduces pain, increases pleasure (runners high). b) Dopamine- influences brain's reward system and movement,  implicated in schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, ADHD,

dopamine, Alzheimer's disease

c) Serotonin- involved with sleep cycle, possibly mood and  appetite. Selective Serotonin Release Inhibitors (SSRIs) are  antagonists used to decrease the amount of serotonin that is  released

d) Epinephrine also known as adrenaline- involved in fight/ flight  speeds up heart rate, organs speeding up. Activate body's

natural stress responses. Further increased by caffeine\ Don't forget about the age old question of What refers to the middle of an interval in a grouped frequency distribution?


e) Histamine- influences immune system

f) Acetylcholine- helps muscles movement

g) Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)- helps to control anxiety


Antagonists- negatively affect activity of neurotransmitter e.g. blue  light inhibits serotonin

Agonists- have the same impact as neurotransmitters e.g. nicotine,  speeds up heart rate

✓ The Brain

• made up of 100 billion interneurons.  

• Human brains are larger on top and in front than in other animals. This  is due to evolution

• Localization: the idea that certain areas of the brain are responsible for  certain actions

✓ Parts of the brain

A. Cerebrum/ Forebrain

• front upper part of the brain; responsible for distinctly human  abilities- talking, reasoning, etc.

• Cerebral cortex- outer layer of cerebrum for sensory processing • 2 hemispheres: connected by a bundle of neurons called corpus  callosum If you want to learn more check out How are impressions different from ideas?

o Left hemisphere: language, thinking, memory Don't forget about the age old question of What do you call the step by step process of a reaction?

o Right hemisphere: spatial recognition, facial recognition,  music


In split brain surgeries, there is severance of corpus callosum to treat  severe epileptic conditions

• Parts of the cerebrum

a) Frontal Lobe

• Located just behind the forehead  

• Prefrontal region makes up 29% of cerebral cortex in  

humans- for executive control of tasks  

• Contains the motor cortex which is involved in voluntary  movement  

• Broca's area- upper left area, for language production.  

Broca’s aphasia aka expressive aphasia results in difficulty in  producing speech

• Responsible for higher order functioning e.g. Speaking, critical  thinking, distinguishes us from other primates

b) Parietal Lobe

• Located in top and back of the head.

• Responsible for touch and perception sensation  

• Contains the somatosensory cortex

c) Temporal Lobe

• Lower middle of brain

• hearing\ what we see

• Wernicke's area is for understanding and recognizing speech. • Wernicke’s Aphasia aka receptive aphasia occurs when there  is damage to this area  

• communicates with parietal lobe

d) Occipital Lobe

• Located in the back of the brain

• vision

B. Brain stem

• connects and supports the brain and spinal cord to ensure  messages from the brain reach the spinal cord

• responsible for essential functions of life: breathing, beating of the  heart as well as bodily functions such as swallowing, sneezing,  vomiting

• contains the reticular activating system involved in sleeping,  waking, alertness, attention

• contains pons and medulla

C. Cerebellum

• involved in balance and coordination 

• occupies 10% of space in brain but contains half the total number  of neurons

D. Limbic system:  

• Involved with Basal ganglia in movement

• near the center of the brain.  

• Surrounds the thalamus: the brain’s main sensory processing  center 

• consists of

a) Hypothalamus:  

• regulates bodily functions by influencing the pituitary gland • Also has significant effect on autonomic nervous system • Helps maintain homeostasis 

b) Amygdala: connected to emotions especially fear

c) Hippocampus:  

• involved in spatial and long-term memory 

• damage to the hippocampus results in amnesia

• 2 types of amnesia

o Retrograde amnesia- inability to recall long term memories o Anterograde amnesia- inability to form new memories.  

NOTE: the amygdala is close to the hippocampus that explains why we  remember tragic events.

stress can damage hippocampus

✓ Brain Plasticity

• the ability of the brain to adapt structure and function to damage or  experience.  

• There are 3 types of brain plasticity:

i. Plasticity after brain damage

ii. Plasticity after life experience

iii. Plasticity after psychotherapy

NOTE: One factor that affects plasticity is age Stem cells can be generated  during plasticity neurogenesis: manufacture of neurons that didn't exist  before.

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