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Biological Psychology. ….explaining human behavior through biology. Remember from class our list of the “biological events” that might be involved in (i.e., might help explain) human behavior?. Genetic make-up—the genetic inheritance we receive from our biological parents

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biological psychology

Biological Psychology

….explaining human behavior through biology

slide2
Remember from class our list of the “biological events” that might beinvolved in (i.e., might help explain) human behavior?
  • Genetic make-up—the genetic inheritance we receive from our biological parents
  • Nervous system functioning
  • Hormones—endocrine system
  • Brain structure & function—the size and shape of different brain areas & how these different areas “work”
slide3

First, let’s review the function of the nervous system…one of the two communication systems within the body

the nervous system is made up of
The nervous system is made up of …
  • Central nervous system (CNS)—the brain & the spinal cord
  • Peripheral nervous system (PNS)—everything else. The PNS can be broken down into two sub-parts
    • Skeletal, somatic nervous system—skeletal muscles for voluntary movement
    • Autonomic nervous system—non-skeletal muscles found in organs, typically operate without voluntary control
the cns pns work together in executing behavior

The CNS & PNS work together in executing behavior…

e.g., information from our senses (PNS) are sent to the brain (e.g., the “sound” of a teacher asking a question in class) and our brain (CNS) sends messages to tell our skeletal muscles (PNS) what to do (e.g., raise your hand because you have something to say!)

slide8

As another example, consider the way that the spinal cord and the PNS work together in the spinal reflex arc by reviewing Fig. 3.7 on p. 48 of your textbook.

neurons
Neurons…
  • …allow for communication within the body.
  • There are networks of neurons throughout the body—somewhere in the vicinity of 100 billion neurons throughout the body
  • No two neurons are exactly alike in size or shape. They range in length from a millimeter to several feet.
neurons11
Neurons
  • No two neurons are alike….
  • ..but all have the same basic parts:
    • Soma (cell body) –contains cell nucleus
    • Dendrites—receive information from other neurons
    • Axon—transmits info from dendrites to other neurons
    • Terminal buttons—at the end of the axon—their job is to transmit info to the dendrites or cell body of next neuron
neurons make sure you can label the different parts on the neuron on the next slide

Neurons—Make sure you can label the different parts on the neuron on the next slide

(You can use your book if you need help--& ask in class if you need more help!)

communication within neurons is electrical
Communication within neurons is electrical
  • Communication within neurons happens through the process of conduction
  • An electrical signal is sent down the length of the axon. This electrical signal is called an “action potential”
  • Some axons are myelinated (i.e., covered with a fatty tissue called the myelin sheath)—myelinated axons allow for quicker transmission of the electrical impulse.
communication between neurons is chemical
Communication between neurons is chemical
  • When the electrical impulse reaches the terminal buttons, they release chemicals called neurotransmitters into the synapse.
  • These neurotransmitters connect with receptor sites (located mostly on the dendrites, but also some on the soma) of nearby neurons. The neurotransmitters “fit in” to these receptor sites like locks into keys
communication between neurons is chemical16
Communication between neurons is chemical
  • In this “lock & key” fashion, neurotransmitters unlock tiny channels at the receiving sites on nearby neurons, and electrically charged atoms enter the receiving neuron.
  • These electrically charged atoms—through altering the electrical charge of the receiving neuron—either excite or inhibit its readiness to fire an electrical impulse down it’s axon
communication within neurons is electrical17
Communication within neurons is electrical
  • Neurons fire when their electrical charge reaches what is called the threshold of excitation.
  • When this threshold is reached, they send an electrical charge or impulse down their axons. This electrical impulse is called (as I mentioned earlier) “an action potential.”
communication between neurons is chemical and within neurons is electrical
Communication between neurons is chemical and within neurons is electrical…
  • Through binding with receptor cells, neurotransmitters alter the likelihood of the receiving neurons reaching the threshold of excitation, thus they are either inhibitory (make the firing of the receiving neuron LESS likely) or excitatory (make the firing of the receiving neuron MORE likely).
neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters…
  • …are chemicals that are released into the synapse by neurons.
  • These neurotransmitters are “taken back up” into the terminal buttons of neurons through the process of reuptake
neurotransmitters20
Neurotransmitters…
  • ..and the balance of neurotransmitters in the body have been implicated in a number of conditions that are very interesting to psychologists, such as depression or schizophrenia (a mental disorder in which an individual loses touch with reality and e.g., may hear voices or see things that aren’t there—called hallucinations)
psychotropic drugs
Psychotropic drugs
  • (drugs used to treat psychological conditions)
  • …work through altering neurotransmitter balances in the body
psychotropic drugs22
Psychotropic drugs
  • Agonists mimic the neurotransmitter by binding to the receptor sites just as the neurotransmitters do and having the same effect on the receiving neuron. Agonists are used when it is believed that there is not enough neurotransmitter
  • Antagonists BLOCK the neurotransmitter by binding to the receptor sites without affecting the receiving neuron in the same way. Because they “fill” the receptor sites, the neurotransmitters can’t bind to the neuron. Antagonists are used when it is believed that there is TOO much of the neurotransmitter in the body.
psychotropic drugs23
Psychotropic drugs
  • When there is TOO LITTLE neurotransmitter in the body, drugs may also help by blocking reuptake and thus increasing the amount of neurotransmitter that remains in the synapse
  • Prozac is an example of this sort of drug. Prozac falls in a class of drugs called SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and by inhibiting reuptake of serotonin, they increase the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain.
the two communication systems for your body are
The two communication systems for your body are:
  • The nervous system (which we’ve just been discussing) AND
  • The endocrine system—Read the section in your textbook on the endocrine system on pp. 48-49 of your textbook
the brain26

Your textbook reviews the lower-level brainstructures on pp. 52-57 of your textbook and the techniques that psychologists & other scientists use to study the brain on pages 54-55.

You should be make sure you ask if you have any questions about this information!

THE BRAIN
the brain27
THE BRAIN
  • The cerebral cortex is a higher-level brainstructure…it’s responsible for higher-level cognitive processes
  • The cerebral cortex covers the two hemispheres of the brain with wrinkled folds (sort of like a cauliflower)….these “wrinkles” increase the entire surface area of the cortex.
  • The cerebral cortex consists of 30 billion nerve cells and around 300 trillion synaptic connections!
the cerebral cortex
The cerebral cortex
  • For convenience sake, each hemisphere of the brain is often subdivided into four different lobes—or four different geographic regions. Review the four different lobes by using Fig. 4.8 on p. 58 of your textbook.
  • The cerebral cortex provides many functions for the body—some of these functions have been “localized” (i.e., the particular part of the cortex that carries the functions out have been identified) but it is important to realize that multiple areas of the brain work together for most complex human behaviors.
functions of the cerebral cortex
Functions of the cerebral cortex
  • Motor functions—the motor cortex is located at the rear of the frontal lobe.
  • Sensory functions—the sensory cortex is located in the front of the parietal lobe (right behind the motor cortex)
  • You can see the amount of space “allotted to” the different parts of the body by referring to Fig 4.9 on p. 59 of your textbook
  • Note that each hemisphere of the brain controls and receives info from the OPPOSITE side of the body. So the command for moving your left arm originates from the motor cortex in your right hemisphere.
functions of the cerebral cortex30
Functions of the cerebral cortex
  • Sensory functions (continued)
    • Information from the optic nerve is sent to the visual cortex located in the occipital lobe
    • Information from the sensory organs in our ears are sent to the auditory cortex located in the temporal lobes
functions of the cerebral cortex31
Functions of the cerebral cortex
  • Associational functions—
    • Our brain does lots of organizing and interpretation of information. This organization and interpretation is accomplished by association areas in the brain
    • Association areas are believed to make up ¾ of the area of the brain
    • Association areas of the brain used for planning ahead are believed to be located in the frontal lobes of the brain
functions of the cerebral cortex32
Functions of the cerebral cortex
  • Motor functions
  • Sensory functions
  • Associational functions
  • Language functions—Two important brain areas for language are:
    • Wernicke’s area—located in the left temporal lobe—important for our understanding of language
    • Broca’s area—located in the left frontal lobe—important for spoken language
functions of the cerebral cortex33
Functions of the cerebral cortex
  • As noted by your author: “Complex human abilities… result from the intricate coordination of many brain areas.” p. 61
  • Review the different brain areas involved in language through re-reading pp. 61-62 of your textbook and examining closely Figures 4.13 and 4.14 on p. 62
a mnemonic memory device that you can use to remember some of the locations of these functions
A mnemonic (memory) device that you can use to remember some of the locations of these functions…
  • Frontal: forethought—thinking & planning ahead (associational areas)
  • Occipital: observing –vision (visual cortex)
  • Temporal: twanging –sound (auditory cortex)
  • Parietal: prickling—sensation (sensory cortex)
to be prepared for class on friday you should
To be prepared for class on Friday, you should:
  • Take the Jenzabar quiz
  • Record the questions you have about the material in this powerpoint, reading assignments in the book, or Jenzabar quiz…. and bring them to class!
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