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Origins of Biopsychology. Introduction Course Overview History of Behavioral Neuroscience Course Goals. Biopsychology. Seeks to describe the physiological mechanisms of the body that mediate our movement and mental activity.

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Origins of biopsychology
Origins of Biopsychology

  • Introduction

  • Course Overview

  • History of Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Course Goals


  • Seeks to describe the physiological mechanisms of the body that mediate our movement and mental activity.

  • “Mental activity” includes a vast array of things including feeling, thinking, consciousness, communication, learning, and memory.

  • A.k.a. psychobiology or behavioral neuroscience

Topics to be covered


The Neuron

Brain Structures


Sensation (vision, etc…)


Eating and Drinking

Learning and Memory

Language and Communication

Psychological Disorders

Emotions (if extra time at the end)

Topics to be Covered

Two sides to the mind body question
Two Sides to the Mind-Body Question

  • Dualism: The belief that the mind and body (or the mind and the brain) are separate entities.

    • Often assumes the existence of a non-material soul or spirit

    • Most popular view throughout history

    • May be “wired” to view ourselves this way

  • Monism: The belief that the mind and body (or the mind and the brain) are one.

    • Mind and brain are almost synonymous

    • The mind is a product of the brain

    • Most common view among biopsychologists

Iii history of behavioral neuroscience
III. History of Behavioral Neuroscience

  • Aristotle (384-322 BC)

    • dualist

  • Hippocrates (460-370 BC)

    • monist

  • Descartes (17th Century)

    • modified dualist

  • Galvani (17th Century)

    • frog muscles contract with electricity

Iii history of behavioral neuroscience continued
III. History of Behavioral Neuroscience (Continued)

  • Muller (19th Century):

    • doctrine of specific nerve energies

    • advocate of experimentation

  • Flourens (19th Century)

    • experimental ablation

  • Broca (19th Century)

    • aphasia

  • Fritsch and Hitzig (19th Century)

    • stimulation of dog cortex produces body movement

  • Darwin and Wallace (19th Century)

    • theory of evolution and common descent

Lateralization of function versus localization of function
Lateralization of Function versus Localization of Function

  • Localization of Function: The tendency for a function to be located in a particular area of the brain (i.e., a great deal of advanced visual processing occurs in the occipital lobe).

  • Lateralization of Function: The tendency for a function to be primarily located on one side of the brain (i.e., Broca’s area is typically in the left frontal lobe).

Cells of the nervous system
Cells of the Nervous System

  • Introduction

  • Neurons

  • Ways of Classifying Neurons

  • Nervous System Support Cells

  • Communication Within a Neuron

  • Communication Between Neurons

  • Major Neurotransmitters

How long would it take to count to 100 billion
How Long Would it Take to Count to 100 Billion?

  • 60 seconds per minute × 60 minutes per hour × 24 hours/day × 365.25 days/year = 31,557,600 seconds per year

  • 100,000,000,000 ÷ 31,557,600 =

    3168.8 years!

Structures of the nervous system
Structures of the Nervous System

  • Divisions of the Nervous System

  • Orienting within the Brain

  • The Developing Brain

  • The Adult Brain

  • Brain Plasticity

Anatomy directions see figure 3 2 page 65
Anatomy Directions(See figure 3.2, Page 65)

Anterior/Rostral Posterior/Caudal

towards the head or front towards the rear or behind

Ventral (Inferior) Dorsal (Superior)

towards the belly (below) towards the back (above)

Medial Lateral

close to the neuraxis away from the neuraxis

Ipsilateral Contralateral

on the same side on the opposite side

Convolutions of the cortex
Convolutions of the Cortex

  • Bump or ridge = gyrus (plural is gyri)

  • Groove = sulcus (plural is sulci)

  • Big groove = fissure

Receptors at the synapse
Receptors at the Synapse

  • Receptor: Protein molecule embedded in a membrane that has a binding site for one or more neurotransmitters

    • The binding site is like a key slot

    • Neurotransmitter is like the key

Ionotropic receptor
Ionotropic Receptor

  • Receptor contains an ion channel (or door) that opens or closes when neurotransmitter (NT) attaches to its binding site

  • Example: door to your house (ionotropic receptor) has a key slot (binding site on the receptor) that opens when you put in and turn the key (neurotransmitter)

Metabotropic receptor
Metabotropic Receptor

  • Receptor doesn’t contain an ion channel

  • When Neurotransmitter attaches to binding site, a G-protein changes

  • Altered G-protein can affect near by ion channels or activate “second messengers”

  • Second messengers: 1) affect near by ion channels and/or 2) activate DNA to perform other cellular functions

Metabotropic receptor example
Metabotropic Receptor Example

  • Putting a key (neurotransmitter) into a key slot (binding site on the receptor) causes a near by elevator to turn on and open it’s doors (G-protein or second messenger opens near by ion channel) and sends a message that the elevator is operating to a control center elsewhere in the building (G-protein affects other cellular processes)


  • Introduction

  • Principles of Psychopharmacology

  • Sites of Action


  • The study of how drugs effect the nervous system and behavior.

  • Drugs have…

    • effects: changes in behavior and/or physiology

    • sites of action: place in the body where the drug interacts with the cells, causing some kind of change


  • Pharmacokinetics: The study of how drugs are…

    • absorbed

    • distributed within the body

    • metabolized (used) and

    • excreted (gotten rid of)

Factors influencing drug effects
Factors Influencing Drug Effects

  • Route of administration

    • Ingested vs. smoked vs. injected (Figure 4.1)

  • Solubility

    • Water soluble molecules can’t cross the BBB

    • Lipid (or fat) soluble molecules can cross BBB

    • Heroin more soluble in fat than morphine

    • Given equal initial doses, more heroin gets to the brain than morphine


  • Drug that facilitates or enhances the effect of a neurotransmitter

    • Nicotine is an ACh agonist

    • Cocaine and amphetamines are dopamine agonists


  • Drug that counter-acts the effect of a neurotransmitter

    • 1st schizophrenia meds dopamine antagonists

    • Botulinum toxin (botulism) is an ACh antagonist


  • Refers to how with repeated use of a drug, it takes more of it to achieve the same effect.

    • Receptors on postsynaptic membrane may disappear in response to repeated cocaine use (cellular tolerance)

    • With repeated consumption, more enzymes are present in liver and blood to break down alcohol, thus less gets to cells (metabolic tolerance)

Tolerance effects
Tolerance Effects

  • 100 milligrams of morphine typically causes profound sedation and even death in first time users

  • Users with morphine tolerance have been known to consume 4000 milligrams (40 times more) without adverse effects

  • Amphetamine users can consume up to 100 times initial dose with tolerance


  • Symptoms opposite to those of a drug that occur when someone stops taking a drug that they have been using repeatedly.

  • For example, if drug makes you happy and euphoric, withdrawal symptoms may make you depressed and down


  • Refers to how with repeated use of a drug, it takes less of it to achieve the same effect.

  • Less common than tolerance

  • Thought to occur in response to occasional or infrequent use

Would it help or hinder the effect of a neurotransmitter if you
Would it help or hinder the effect of a neurotransmitter if you…

  • Added more of the material needed to make the neurotransmitter?

  • Interfered with the process of creating NT?

  • Prevented the NT from being stored in the vesicles?

  • Tricked the vesicles into releasing NT (without an action potential)?

  • Prevented calcium from triggering the release of NT from the vesicles?

Would it help or hinder the effect of a neurotransmitter if you1
Would it help or hinder the effect of a neurotransmitter if you…

  • Artificially activated a binding site of a receptor?

  • Blocked the binding site of a receptor?

  • Artificially activated an autoreceptor?

  • Blocked an autoreceptor so that it couldn’t detect neurotransmitter?

  • Prevented reuptake from happening?

  • Prevented the destruction of ACh?

Vision you…

  • Introduction

  • Nature of Light

  • Anatomy of the Visual System

  • Coding of Visual Information in the Retina

  • Analysis of Visual Information

Sleep and biological rhythms
Sleep and Biological Rhythms you…

  • Introduction

  • Measuring Sleep

  • Stages of Wakefulness and Sleep

  • Why Do We Sleep?

  • Physiological Mechanisms of Sleep

  • Biological Clocks

  • Sleep Disorders

Neural control of slow wave sleep
Neural Control of Slow-Wave Sleep you…

  • Ventrolateral preoptic area (basal forebrain, in front of the hypothalamus)

  • Destruction produces insomnia, coma, & death

  • Injection of adenosine into the basal forebrain produces sleep

Neural control of rem sleep
Neural Control of REM Sleep you…

  • Peribrachial Area (in dorsolateral pons)

  • Medial Pontine Reticular Formation (MPRF)

    • Remember reticular formation also involved in alertness

  • Damage to either area eliminates REM sleep

Reproductive behavior
Reproductive Behavior you…

  • Sexual Development

  • Hormonal Control of Sexual Behavior

  • Neural Control of Sexual Behavior

Gametes you…

  • Almost all cells of the human body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 Total) in their nuclei

  • Gametes (sperm and ova) have 23 individual chromosomes in their nuclei (23 Total)

Organizational effects
Organizational Effects you…

  • Hormone effect that directly changes tissue differentiation and/or development

  • Causes changes in structures of the organism

  • Organizational effects occur early in development

  • Not reversible

Activational effects
Activational Effects you…

  • Effect of a hormone on the fully developed (or mature) organism

  • Act on pre existing structures, causing some type of change

  • Activational effects often depend on prior organizational effects

  • Examples: changes to boys and girls with puberty, ovulation in women

Ingestive behavior
Ingestive Behavior you…

  • Physiological Regulatory Mechanisms

  • Drinking and Thirst

  • Eating and Metabolism

  • Signals that Start a Meal

  • Signals that Stop a Meal

  • Brain Areas Involved in Eating

Learning memory
Learning & Memory you…

  • Nature of Learning

  • Learning and Synaptic Plasticity

  • Perceptual Learning

  • Stimulus-Response Learning

  • Relational Learning

Definitions of learning
Definitions of Learning you…

  • Psych 100:

    • A relatively long lasting change in behavior or potential behavior that is due to experience.

  • This Class:

    • The process by which experience changes our nervous system and ultimately our behavior.

The hebb rule
The Hebb Rule you…

  • A synapse will be strengthened (more easily activated and/or produce larger depolarizations) if…

    • a synapse is repeatedly active when…

    • the post-synaptic neuron is firing.

Long term potentiation ltp
Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) you…

  • Defined: A long-term increase in the excitability of a neuron to a particular synaptic input caused by repeated high-frequency activation of that input.

  • Though found to occur in numerous brain areas, LTP was initially demonstrated in the hippocampal formation

  • Useful information: The entorhinal cortex is the gateway to the hippocampus

Origins of biopsychology

A you…











Spatial-Memory Task

(parietal lobe more


Object-Memory Task

(inferior temporal lobe

more active)

Opiates you…

  • Examples: morphine, heroin, codeine, methadone

  • Effect (site of action)

    • Analgesia (periaquaductal gray matter)

    • Hypothermia (preoptic area)

    • Sedation (reticular formation)

    • Reinforcement (mesolimbic system and nucleus accumbens)

Addictive behaviors and classical conditioning
Addictive Behaviors and Classical Conditioning you…

Drug (UCS) Compensatory response (UCR)

Drug paraphernalia Compensatory & environment (CS) response (CR)

Many fatal drug overdoses occur when the person uses in a non-familiar environment. Why?

Alcohol the nmda receptor
Alcohol & the NMDA Receptor you…

  • Alcohol is an indirect antagonist of the NMDA receptor

  • Alcohol impairs LTP

  • Other NMDA antagonist drugs…

    • produce sedative effects

    • produce anxiety reducing effects

    • stimulate the release of DA in the nucleus accumbens

Alcohol the gaba a receptor
Alcohol & the GABA you…A Receptor

  • Indirect agonist for the GABAA receptor

  • With alcohol, more inhibitory potentials are created and thus more neurons are hyperpolarized

  • Drug Ro-15-4513 blocks this binding site for alcohol on the GABAA receptor

  • Impairment of GABAA receptors in the cerebellum disrupts balance and coordination

Integrating schizophrenia theories
Integrating Schizophrenia Theories you…

  • PFC is underactive (hypofrontality), perhaps because of abnormal brain development, negative symptoms produced

  • PFC fails to excite DA neurons in the midbrain

  • Underactive DA neurons in the midbrain create further underactity in the PFC; more negative symptoms are produced

  • PFC fails to inhibit the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, making this area overactive; positive symptoms are produced