New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Chapter 3: Biological Foundations of Behavior

by: Rebecca Bergmann

Chapter 3: Biological Foundations of Behavior Psychology 0010

Marketplace > University of Pittsburgh > Psychology (PSYC) > Psychology 0010 > Chapter 3 Biological Foundations of Behavior
Rebecca Bergmann
View Full Document for 0 Karma

View Full Document


Unlock These Notes for FREE

Enter your email below and we will instantly email you these Notes for Intro to Psychology

(Limited time offer)

Unlock Notes

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Unlock FREE Class Notes

Enter your email below to receive Intro to Psychology notes

Everyone needs better class notes. Enter your email and we will send you notes for this class for free.

Unlock FREE notes

About this Document

These notes will be on our next exam!
Intro to Psychology
Travis Alvarez
Class Notes
Biological Psychology, behavior, Biological, Psychology, Intro to Psychology, Foundations




Popular in Intro to Psychology

Popular in Psychology (PSYC)

This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Bergmann on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psychology 0010 at University of Pittsburgh taught by Travis Alvarez in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Intro to Psychology in Psychology (PSYC) at University of Pittsburgh.


Reviews for Chapter 3: Biological Foundations of Behavior


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 09/22/16
1) ​The Nervous System​: the body’s electrochemical communication circuitry  ● neuroscience​: the study of the nervous system  ● neuroscientists​: the people who study neuroscience characteristics of the nervous system  ● complexity ­ there are billions of nerve cells in the brain (seeing, breathing, reading, learning  all at once)  ● integration​: brain takes all of this information and puts it together into a coherent whole  ○  each nerve cell communicates with 10,000 other nerve cells on average  ● adaptability:​  nerve cells are constantly changing   ○ plasticity:​  the brain’s special capability to change   ○ the brain can be changed by experience  ● electrochemical transmission  ● neuron​: nerve cell  ● brain and nervous system ­ informational processing system        Pathways in the Nervous System  ● nervous system pathways are made up of afferent nerves, efferent nerves, and neural  networks  ● afferent nerves (sensory)​: nerves that carry information about the external environment to  the brain and the spinal chord via sensory receptors  ○ also carries information about internal conditions (ex. hunger)  ● efferent nerves (motor)​: nerves that carry information out of the brain and spinal chord to  other areas of the body       Divisions of the Nervous System  ● Central Nervous System (CNS)​: brain and spinal chord  ○ 99% of all nerve cells  ● Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)​: networks of nerves that connects the brain and spinal  chord to other parts of the body  ● The PNS has two major divisions:  ○ Somatic nervous system​: consists of sensory nerves, whose functions is to convey  information from the skin and muscles to the CNS about the conditions such as pain,  temp, and the motor neurons which tells the muscles what to do  ○ Autonomic nervous system​: the body system that takes messages to and from the  body’s internal organs, monitoring processes like digestion, breathing, heart rate, etc.  ○      The Autonomic nervous system has two major divisions:  ■ Sympathetic nervous system​: arouses the body to mobilize it for action ­  stress, “fight or flight"  ■ Parasympathetic nervous system​: calms the body, “rests and digests"                 2) Neurons  ● nerve cells, chemicals, electrical impulses work together   ○ transmit information at 330mph  ● there are two types of cells in the nervous system: neurons and glial cells  ○ neurons handle information­processing function  ■ mirror neurons​: activated when we perform activity, watch others do the  same thing  ■ respond to both doing and seeing, this is different from regular neurons  ○ glial cells (glia)​: provides support, nutritional benefits and other functions to keep  neurons healthy  ● specialized cell structure ­ most neurons are created early in life, but shape, size, and  connections can change  ○ cell body​: part of the neuron that contains the nucleus, which directs the manufacture  of substances that the neuron needs for growth and maintenance  ● dendrites​: branching fibers that project from a neuron ­ receives info and orients it towards  the cell body  ● axon​: the part of the neuron that carries information away from the cell body towards other  cells  ● myelin sheath​: a layer of fat cells that encases and insulates most axons  ○ without this, neurons are not good electrical conductors  ○ MS is a disease that results from problems with myelin    The Neural Impulse  ● How does a neuron generate electricity?  ● a neuron creates electrical signals by moving positive and negative ions back and forth  through its outer membrane  ○ this membrane is semi­permeable  ○ ion channels are present in membrane  ● when the neuron is resting:  ○ on the inside of the cell membrane there is a slight negative charge  ○ on the outside of the cell membrane there is a slight positive charge  ○ this cell is polarized because of these charges  ○ resting potential​: the state, negative charge of an inactive neuron  ● an active neuron is depolarized  ● action potential​: the brief wave of positive electrical charge that sweeps down the axon  ○ this lasts for 1/1000 of a second  ● all­or­nothing principle​: the principle that once the electrical impulse receives a certain level  of intensity (the threshold) it fires and moves all the way down the axon without losing any  intensity  ○ analogy: a lit fuse            Synapses and Neurotransmitters  ● synaptic transmission  ● synapses​: tiny spaces between the neurons  ○ the synaptic gap between the axon of one neuron and the dendrite of another neuron  ○ before an impulse can cross the gap, it must be converted to a chemical signal  ● axons branch out into fibers, and at the end of the fibers there are tiny synaptic vesicles  (sacs)  ○ within these sacs, there are chemicals called neurotransmitters  ○ neurotransmitters​: chemical substances that are stored in very tiny sacs and are  involved in transmitting information across a synaptic gap to the next neuron  ● Neurochemical Messengers  ○ many types of neurotransmitters ­ inhibitory, excitatory, or both  ● Agonists mimic neurotransmitters  ● Antagonists block receptors on dendrites, which inhibits neurotransmitters from binding    Drugs and neurotransmitters  ● most drugs that influence behavior do so by interfering with neurotransmitters  ● mimic, block, or increase effects of neurotransmitters  ● GABA:​  major inhibitory neurotransmitter  ○ anxiety = low GABA levels  ●  Glutamate:​  major excitatory/facilitator neurotransmitter  ○ learning and memory  ○ involved in many psychological disorders  ●  Dopamine  ○ voluntary movement  ○ reward anticipation  ○ stimulant drugs: activate dopamine receptors  ■ cocaine: blocks reuptake  ○ parkinson’s disease = low dopamine  ○ schizophrenia = high dopamine    ● Serotonin  ○ dreaming, attention, learning  ○ depression/anxiety and anger  ○ aggression = low serotonin levels  ○ ecstasy = high serotonin levels  ● Acetylcholine  ○ muscle actions, learning, memory  ○ black widow venom has high acetylcholine levels  ○ botox (botulin) = low acetylcholine levels  ○ alzheimer’s disease = low acetylcholine levels  ● Epinephrine (adrenaline)  ○ energize, arouse  ○ tends not to affect mental states  ● Norepinephrine  ○ increases mental arousal, alertness  ○ increase physical arousal  ■ ADHD = low norepinephrine levels  ■ stress and mania = high norepinephrine levels  ■ depression = low norepinephrine levels    Neural Networks​: networks of nerve cells that integrate sensory input and motor output    3) Structures of the brain and their functions  ● How do researchers study the brain and nervous system?  ● Brain lesioning​: an abnormal disruption in the tissue of the brain resulting from injury or  disease  ● Electrical Recording  ● EEG​ Electroencephalograph: records brains electrical activity  ○ can determine brain damage, epilepsy, etc.  ○ prefrontal asymmetry: more left than right prefrontal activity  ■ people with this condition rate themselves higher on a well­being scale  Brain imaging  ● CAT​ (computerized axal tomography) scan: 3D image of the head obtained from x­rays  ● PET​ (positron emission tomography) scan: based on metabolic changes in brain related to  activity  ● MRI​ (magnetic resonance imaging) scan: creates a magnetic field around a persons body  and uses radio waves to construct images of the persons tissues and biochemical activities    The brain can be divided into 3 main parts: the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain  ● Forebrain​: located at the front of the skull, it contains the “limbic system”, which contains the  thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, cerebrum cortex,  ○ Thalamus​: relay station for a lot of sensory information, sorts information and sends  off to integration   ○ Cerebrum​: includes most of limbic system and basal ganglia  ○ Cerebral Cortex​: contains neocortex as well as the four major lobes: occipital, frontal,  temporal, parietal  ■ 75% of the cortex is association cortex: not sensory or motor, but  connections in between  ■ occipital:​  vision  ■ f​rontal​: intelligence, voluntary muscles, personality  ■ motor cortex: voluntary movements, point­to­point mapping  ■ temporal:​  hearing, language processing, memory  ■ parietal​: spatial location, motor control, attention  ■ somatosensory cortex​: body sensations and touch  ● Hindbrain​: located at the skulls rear. the lowest portion of the brain, consists of medulla,  cerebellum, and pons  ○ Brain stem​: the stem­like brain area that includes much of the hindbrain (excluding  the cerebellum) and the midbrain; it connects with the spinal chord at its power end  and then extends upward to encase the ventricular formation in the midbrain  ● Midbrain​: located between the hindbrain and forebrain, an area in which many nerves, fiber  systems ascend and descend to connect the higher and lower portions of the brain; in  particular the midbrain relays info between the brain and the eyes and ears   ○ Reticular Formation​: a system in the midbrain comprising a diffuse collection of  neurons involved in stereotyped patterns of behavior such as walking, sleeping, and  turning to a sudden noise    Hemispheric specialization  ● Left hemisphere​: verbal processing, speech, grammar   ● Right hemisphere​: spatial perception, visual recognition, emotion  ● Lateralization of the brain hemispheres  ○ contralateral vs ipsilateral  ○ contra​: left side brain=right side body movement (and vice versa)  ○ ipsi​: left side body ­ left side brain (and vice versa)    Neuroplasticity​: experience­based change   ● adapt new functions  ● recognize existing functions  ● the brain can change the neuro­pathways based on experience  ● neurogenesis:​  new cells  ● aborization​: new dendrites  ● synaptogenesis:​  new synapses   


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

0 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Anthony Lee UC Santa Barbara

"I bought an awesome study guide, which helped me get an A in my Math 34B class this quarter!"

Jim McGreen Ohio University

"Knowing I can count on the Elite Notetaker in my class allows me to focus on what the professor is saying instead of just scribbling notes the whole time and falling behind."


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.