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Welcome to the APPL601, Biological Bases of Behavior!. Your Host for the Semester. Jim McConkey MS/PMAC Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins Specialties in neuroscience, medical imaging and computer-guided surgery JMcConkey@UBalt.edu. Tonight. Details about the course

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Welcome to the APPL601, Biological Bases of Behavior!

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Welcome to the APPL601, Biological Bases of Behavior!

Your Host for the Semester

  • Jim McConkey

    • MS/PMAC Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins

      • Specialties in neuroscience, medical imaging and computer-guided surgery

    • JMcConkey@UBalt.edu


  • Details about the course

  • What are we studying?

  • Organization of the nervous system

  • Anatomy of the nervous system

Development of Psychology

  • Ideopathic model

    • Spirits, demons, etc. cause pathologies.

  • Mental model

    • Cognitive defects or faulty thinking cause psychopathologies.

  • Medical (biological) model

    • Psychopathologies are biologically driven.

    • They can be treated with drugs.

  • Integrated model

    • The real world is somewhere in between.

Biological Bases of Behavior aka Biopsychologyaka Physiological Psychology

  • The study of behavior and other psychological phenomena in terms of the development, functioning, and pathologies of the nervous system.

Biological Psychology

  • How are behaviors controlled by the brain?

  • What parts of the brain control which behaviors?

  • How much control do humans have?

  • How do psychoactive drugs work?













Methods of Biopsychology

  • Historical techniques: dissection, staining

  • Surgical methods

  • Electrical stimulation and measurement

  • Pharmacological methods

  • Genetic engineering

  • Neuropsychological tests

  • Non-invasive imaging techniques

Introduction to the Nervous System

Introduction to the Nervous System

  • Nervous System

    • A system of nerves.

      • Cells specialized for the translation and processing of information.

      • Produce electrical and chemical activity.

      • Connects and coordinates all parts of the body.

    • A collection of specialized subsystems.

Divisions of the Nervous System

  • Central Nervous System

    • Brain

    • Spinal Cord

  • Peripheral Nervous System

    • Everything else

Divisions of the Peripheral NS

  • Somatic

    • Receives sensory input from periphery

    • Conscious control of peripheral muscles

  • Autonomic

    • Receives unconscious sensory input from organs

    • Unconscious control of movement and organs

Divisions of the Autonomic NS

  • Parasympathetic

    • Mostly inhibitory

    • Controls “housekeeping” functions

  • Sympathetic

    • Mostly excitatory

    • Controls “fight or flight” responses

Anatomy of the PNS

  • Autonomic nerves

    • Parasympathetic nerves leave the spinal cord at the cervical and sacral levels.

    • Sympathetic nerves leave the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.

  • Somatic nerves

    • Enter and leave the spinal cord at every vertebra.

    • Sensory nerves have bodies in the dorsal root ganglia and ascend in the dorsal horns.

    • Motor nerves descend in the ventral horns.

Recap of NS Organization

Nervous System

Central NS

Peripheral NS

Somatic NS

Autonomic NS



Organization of Nerves

  • Nerves are organized in a tree-like fashion

    • Solitary neurons in the outermost periphery, protected by an endoneurium.

    • Solitary neurons gather in small bundles called fascicles, bound by a perineurium.

    • Fascicles gather with blood vessels in larger bundles, bound by an epineurium.

Organization of Nerves

  • Endoneurium wraps each neuron w/myelin.

  • Perineurium wraps several neurons into a fascicle.

  • Epineurium wraps a bundle of fascicles plus blood vessels.

Organization of Nerves

  • Collections of neurons, grouped by function

    • CNS: tracts

    • PNS: nerves

  • Neuron cell bodies tend to clump together:

    • CNS: nuclei (nucleus)

    • PNS: ganglia (ganglion)

Protection of the CNS

  • The CNS is very important and very sensitive and is therefore well protected by:

    • Thick bones

    • 3 layers of meninges

    • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

    • Blood-Brain Barrier

    • Circle of Willis – redundant blood supply

Protection of the CNS

  • Skull

    • Thick, hard bone

    • Over 1 cm thick in places

    • Totally surrounds and protects the brain

Protection of the CNS

  • Meninges

    • Thick, fibrous layers

      • Dura mater

        • Periosteal

        • Meningeal

      • Arachnoid mater

      • Pia mater

Protection of the CNS

  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

    • Mostly water

    • Shock absorber

    • Produced in choroid plexus

Protection of the CNS

  • Blood-Brain Barrier

    • Tight junctions

      • pass O2, CO2, OH

    • Carrier-mediated transport of

      • glucose, AAs, ions

    • Blocks

      • large molecules

      • many drugs and toxins

Organization of the CNS

  • The lower the brain level, the more primitive the more instinctive, and the less brain control.

  • Pure reflexes occur in the spinal cord with no intervention from the brain.

  • The older/lower parts of the brain have 2 layers of neurons. The newer parts of the brain (neocortex) have 6 layers.

Organization of the CNS

  • Myelencephalon

    • Medulla oblongata (or just medulla)

      • Contains nuclei which are part of the reticular formation and control:

        • Arousal and attention

        • Heart rate

        • Respiration rate

        • Cardiovascular smooth muscle tone

        • Skeletal muscle tone

Organization of the CNS

  • Metencephalon

    • Pons (=“bridge”)

      • Part of reticular formation responsible for sleep and arousal

      • Relay nuclei between cortex and cerebellum

    • Cerebellum

      • Primarily responsible for coordinated movements

      • Receives all sensory input except olfactory

      • Connected to pons via cerebellar peduncles

Organization of the CNS

  • Mesencephalon

    • Tectum (=“roof”)

      • Inferior (auditory) and Superior (visual) colliculi

      • Responsible for audiovisual reactions

    • Tegmentum (=“covering”)

      • Contains nuclei of the reticular formation

      • Controls eye movements

      • Red Nucleus – sends motor info from cortex and cerebelum to spinal cord

      • Substantia Nigra – communicates with caudate and basal ganglia

Organization of the CNS

  • Diencephalon (“2 brains”)

    • Surrounds the 3rd ventricle

    • Thalamus

      • Two lobes

      • Major sensory transfer station

      • Many sensory nuclei

    • Hypothalamus (=“beneath thalamus”)

      • Autonomic control center, four F’s

      • Hormonal control, direct and thru pituitary

Organization of the CNS

  • Telencephalon

    • Cerebral cortex

      • Two cerebral hemispheres

      • Lateral ventricles (two)

      • Corpus callosum/anterior commisure

      • Limbic cortex

        • Involved in motivation and emotion

      • Basal ganglia

        • Caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen

        • Involved in planned movement

Organization of the CNS

  • Cerebral hemispheres

    • Lateralization, specialization per side

    • Left

      • Verbal abilities

      • Analysis and serial behaviors

    • Right

      • Spatial abilities

      • Synthesis

      • Music, arts, emotions

Anatomical Directions

Superior (top)

Dorsal = back

Ventral = front

Caudal = tail

Rostral = head

Lateral = side

Medial = center





Inferior (bottom)

Anatomical Terminology

  • Brain topography terminology

    • A gyrus (gyri) is a bump

    • A sulcus (sulci) is a shallow groove

    • A fissure (fissures) is a deep groove






Anatomy of the Cortex

  • Major anatomical landmarks

    • Longitudinal Fissure separates hemispheres

    • Central Sulcus

    • Lateral (Sylvian) Fissure

    • Parieto-Occipital Sulcus (internal)

Anatomy of the Cortex

  • Major lobes of the cortex

  • Demarcated by fissures and sulci

    • Frontal lobe - anterior to central sulcus

      • Thinking, planning, executive function

    • Parietal lobe - posterior to the central sulcus

      • Association area

    • Temporal lobe - inferior to the lateral fissure

      • Auditory function

    • Occipital lobe - posterior of cortex

      • Vision

Anatomy of the Cortex

Anatomy of the Cortex

White Matter – has myelin sheath.

Gray Matter – no myelin. Cell bodies are here.

Cranial Nerves - 12 pairs

Spinal Pathways

  • Spinal cord has two gray matter horns which contain cell bodies. The two sides are connected by the gray commissure, and are surrounded by white matter, which carries tracts.

  • Dorsal horns receive sensory afferents.

    • Afferent somas external in dorsal root ganglia

  • Ventral horns carries somatic motor efferents.

    • Efferent somas in ventral horns

Sensory Pathway


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