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Biological Basis of Psychology

by: Brianda Hickey

Biological Basis of Psychology APSY.UE.0002

Marketplace > NYU School of Medicine > Psychlogy > APSY.UE.0002 > Biological Basis of Psychology
Brianda Hickey
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Lecture Notes: Monday, February 1, 2016
Adina Schick,
Class Notes





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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Brianda Hickey on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to APSY.UE.0002 at NYU School of Medicine taught by Adina Schick, in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 64 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY AND ITS PRINCIPLES in Psychlogy at NYU School of Medicine.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
Biological Basis of Psychology The Nervous System There are two main categories of cells in the nervous system 1. Glia: Provide nourishment and oxygen to neurons Until recently, seen as simply providing what Neurons needed for their work. Not thought of as important 2. Neurons Basic building block of the nervous system Neurons Individual cells in the nervous system that receive, integrate, and transmit information Cell body: Soma Branching Fibers Dendrites (Listeners) Extensions that receive messages and conduct impulses towards the cell body Axon Fibers (Speakers) Pass on the information from Neurons to others Project several feet from each Neurons Often encased in Myelin Sheath Axon ends in Terminal Buttons Myelin Sheath Fatty tissue that insulates Axon Insulate critical- allows Axon to transmit messages/signals at a much faster rate If deteriorates, Axons no longer communicate effectively ex. Seroses Synapse A tiny fluid-filled space between neurons through which neurotransmitter travel Where Dendrites and Axons meet to share information (Talk and Listen) Axons and Dendrites never actually touch, the Synaptic Cleft serves as a gap into which neurotransmitters are Action Potential refers to a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon When a neuron fires, channels in its cell membrane open, briefly allowing positively charged sodium ions to rush in. For an instant, the neurons’s charge is less negative creating "action potential" Brief shift in a Neuron’s electrical charge as it travels along an Axon Stimulates the release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft Neurons generate electricity from Chemical Changes This process involves the change of ions, electrically charged atoms Resting Potential The fluid interior of resting axon has an excess of negatively charged ions, whereas the fluid outside the axon has more positively charged ions Positive outside - Negative inside Nothing is being triggered, nothing is being sent Neurotransmitters Chemicals that transmit information from one neuron to another There are dozens of different neurotransmitters, each play a slightly different role Acteylocholine (ACh): one of the best understood neurotransmitters Plays a critical role in learning and memory inadequate amount in certain parts of the brain as been seen as a results in Alsigmers Messenger between motor neurons & skeletal muscles causes our muscles to contract Paralysis may occur from a block of ACh Botox treatment blocks ACh receptors between motor neurons and voluntary muscles in the face - muscles are being paralyzed Endorphins Brain's naturally occurring opiates Have been linked to pleasure and control Particularly control of pain Acupuncture plays around where endorphins are released to Some people become happy after running, a “high,” is caused by the release of endorphins Dopamine Not enough: Parkinson’s disease Drugs for Parkinson’s try to stimulate more Dopamine side effect: schizophrenic symptoms Excessive amount: Schizophrenic disorders Drugs trigger an excessive amount of Dopamine to be produced and result in addiction disorders GABA Anxiety Disorders Glutamate Anxiety Disorders Norepinephrine Depressive Disorder Serotonin Depressive Disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders The Nervous System The Nervous System is the body’s electrochemical communication Network Central Nervous System - brain and spinal cord Peripheral Nervous System - sensory receptors, muscles, and glands Peripheral Nervous System Comprised of two components 1. Somatic Nervous System Enables voluntary control of our skeletal muscles 2. Autonomic Nervous System Controls Glands and muscles of internal organs Controls Two other systems - work in unison to keep us at a steady internal rate Sympathetic Nervous System: in control of exciting us, raising heart rate etc. Parasympathetic Nervous System: Conserves energy as it calms you by decreasing your heart beat, hastening digestion, decreasing blood pressure. The Central Nervous System The spinal cord connects the peripheral nervous system to the brain The brain enables us to think act and feel communicates with the rest of the body thought the nervous system, as well as the endocrine system The Endocrine system is a set of glands that secrete chemical messengers - called hormones - into the bloodstream Nervous System Endocrine System Produces Neurotransmitters - very accurate and fast. very precise in Hormones - Takes very long time to getting to their spot get to target, less accurate Tend to outlaw the effect of neural messages feelings of being upset outlasts our understanding of what upsets us The most influential Endocrine Gland is the pituitary gland it releases a lot of hormones (growth hormone, oxytocin, Controls the release of cortozol If not working properly, and hormones are not released into the body - individual not able to control their anger, trust, fear etc. Can randomly start producing milk The Brain For Centuries, there was no way to explore the living brain CT scan (Computerized Tomogrpahy Scan): examines aspects of brain structure MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces a high - resolution of th e brain structure fMRI (Functional MRI) bevels both the structure and functioning of the brain PET Scans (Positron Emission Tomography Scan): Maps brain activity The Brain Stem - Where the spinal cord connects to the brain Sections of the Brain The Hindbrain Includes two structure found in the lower part of the brainstem Medulla Attached to the spinal cord In charge of unconscious but essential functions Pons Coordinate movements Regulate sleep and arousal Hindbrain includes the Cerebellum Meaning - “little brain” - looks like a miniature version of the brain critical to the coordination of voluntary movement and equilibrium damage to the cerebellum disrupts fine motor skills The Midbrain Concerned with sensory processes and controls manly important functions Visual and auditory system and eye movement origin of an important system of dopamine - releasing axons Running through the hindbrain nd the midbrain is the reticular formation A finger-shaped network of neurons that extends from the spinal cord to the thalamus Contributes to the modulation of muscle reflexes, breathing, and the perception of pain best known for its role in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness The Forebrain The largest and most complex region of the brain Encompasses a variety of structures, including the Thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system, and cerebrum Thalamus All sensory information except small, pass through Sensory Switchboard Hypothalamus Regulates basic biological drives -Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding, and Mating Directs several “maintenance” activities Helps govern the endocrine system Limbic System Loosely connected network of structures involved in emotion, motivation, memory, and other aspects of behavior Includes part of the thalamus and hypothalamus, as well as the: Hippocampus: Plays a role int memory processing Amygdala: Linked to emotion Cerebrum Largest and most complex part of the human brain Includes areas responsible for most complex mental activities The Cerebrum Divided into right and left halves called cerebral hemispheres Covered by the cerebral cortex ultimate processing network - GIANT amount of nerve cells and glia cells There are 9 times Glia cells than nerve cells Einstein had a much larger number of Glia cells than the average human, but had same about of nerve cells as the average human - suggesting Glia cells are very important The two hemispheres descend to a structure called corpus callous Each hemisphere is divided into four Lobes Occipital Lobe - Key to vision Parietal Lobe - Key to touch Temporal Lobe - Key to hearing Frontal Lobe - Controls executive functions, including the ability to recognize the future consequence to current action. allows us to override and suppress socially unacceptable functions. Each hemisphere’s primary sensory and motor connections are the opposite side of the body RIGHT hemisphere controls the LEFT side of the body LEFT hemisphere controls the RIGHT side of the body Split Brain Research Clinical evidence has shown that the brain’s hemisphere serve different functions This hemispheric specialization is apparent after brain damage In 1961, researchers attempted to stop epileptic seizures by severing the corpus callosum Seizures were essentially eliminated Personality and intellect were hardly impacted The ability to name and describe objects depended on the side of the visual field in which an image appeared Hemispheric Dominance Left Hemisphere Verbal processing Reading, writing, mathematical reasoning Right Hemisphere Non-verbal processing Visual-spatial & musical tasks, perception


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