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Chapter 2. Biological Foundations of Behavior. Module 2.1. Neurons: The Body’s Wiring Its EVOLUTION!. What is our advantage?. What puts us at a major advantage over other animals which puts us at the top of the food chain?. Our Brain!. It’s Evolution Baby!.

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chapter 2

Chapter 2

Biological Foundations of Behavior

module 2 1

Module 2.1

Neurons: The Body’s Wiring


what is our advantage
What is our advantage?
  • What puts us at a major advantage over other animals which puts us at the top of the food chain?
it s evolution baby
It’s Evolution Baby!
  • The human brain is a product of generations of adaptive mutations and adaptations.
  • Homo sapiens-100,000 years old (is this old?)

What the heck is natural selection?

the original chuck d charles darwin
The original Chuck D: Charles Darwin
  • Evolve: To develop gradually.
  • Gradual change in the structure of an animal or plant as a result of natural selection.
  • NS= process by which inherited traits that lead to a selective advantage increase the likelihood of reproduction.
the adaptive human
The Adaptive Human
  • Brain size correlates with intelligence? T or F
  • Bigger brain=Smarter?
cephalisation index
Cephalisation Index
  • Ratio of brain weight to body weight.


K=Cephalisation Index

E=Brain weight in grams

P=Body weight in kilograms

Real Smart: Humans: .89

Dolphins: .64


Real Dumb: Sheep: .10

Rabbit: .05

  • The basic building block of the nervous system
    • Cells
    • Transmit information via an electro-chemical process.
chapter 210

Chapter 2

Biological Foundations of Behavior

cells in the nervous system
Cells in the Nervous System
  • Three types of neurons
    • Sensory neurons (or “afferent neurons”)
    • Motor neurons (or “efferent neurons”)
    • Interneurons (or “associative neurons”)
  • Glial cells (the glue!)
    • Account for 90% of cells in adult human brain
    • Help hold neurons together
    • Provide supports for the nervous system
cells in the nervous system13
Cells in the Nervous System
  • Sensory Neurons:
    • Afferent nerves
    • Information about the outside world to the brain.
    • Sensory organs to brain.
    • 5 senses
    • “That stinks!”
cells in the nervous system14
Cells in the Nervous System
  • Motor Neurons
    • Efferent Nerves
    • Sends message from the brain to the muscles and glands to cause response/behavior or to regulate bodily processes.
cells in the nervous system15
Cells in the Nervous System
  • Interneuron
    • Most common neuron in the NS
    • Connect neurons to neurons
    • Connect sensory to motor, motor to sensory
    • More on this later……I promise
how do they talk
How do they talk?
  • Electro-Chemical process
    • Sodium (Na+) and Potassium (K+)
    • A cell at rest – 70 (mV).
    • Cell begins to let positive ions into the cell, changing the polarity to + (40 mV)
    • This is an action potential (firing or ‘spiking’)
    • All-or-none Principle:
      • Must have a full voltage of + 40 mv to fire.
      • Won’t half fire or semi fire.
what s next
What’s next?
  • Neurotransmission!
    • When the neuron fires, the axon’s terminal buttons release molecules of NT’s into synaptic gap.
    • They bind to Receptor sites on the dendrites of other neurons.
    • 2 possible outcomes:
      • Excitatory
      • Inhibitory
module 2 2

Module 2.2

The Nervous System: Your Body’s Information Superhighway

spinal cord
Spinal Cord
  • Column of nerves extending from brain
    • Protected by the spine
    • Transmits information between the brain and the peripheral nervous system
  • Controls some spinal reflexes
    • Allows quick responses to particular types of stimuli (evolution)
  • CNS regulates everything in the body.
peripheral nervous system
Peripheral Nervous System
  • Connects the CNS with other body parts
  • Divided into 2 parts:
    • Somatic Nervous System: Transmits messages between CNS and the sensory organs, glands, and muscles (moves ya around)
    • Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): Controls internal bodily processes
    • BP, Heart Rate, Etc…not aware but may be affected by conscious things (stress, anger)
divisions of the ans
Divisions of the ANS
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
    • Speeds up bodily processes
    • Draws energy from stored reserves
    • Activation often accompanied by strong emotions
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System
    • Fosters bodily processes that replenish energy stores
    • Helps conserve energy by slowing down other bodily processes
module 2 3

Module 2.3

The Brain: Your Crowning Glory

brain facts
Brain Facts
  • Average number of neurons in the brain = 100 billion
  • The average brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • 77% of a human brain is dedicated to the cerebral cortex.
  • 31% is dedicated to a rat’s.
hindbrain kickin it old school
HindbrainKickin’ it old school!
  • Lowest, oldest part of the brain
  • Includes the:
    • Medulla (heart beat etc.)
    • Pons (time for bed…wake up!)
    • Cerebellum (don’t trip… don’t forget to breathe)
  • Contains nerve pathways that connect the hindbrain with the forebrain
  • Midbrain structures perform important roles
    • e.g., control of automatic movements of the eye muscles
  • Reticular formation plays key role in regulating states of attention, alertness, and arousal.
major structures of the forebrain
Major Structures of the Forebrain
  • Thalamus
    • Relays sensory information to appropriate parts of the cerebral cortex
    • Receives input from the basal ganglia
  • Hypothalamus
    • Regulates many vital bodily functions as well as emotional states, aggressive behavior, and response to stress
    • (The 3 F’s)
the limbic system
The Limbic System
  • Group of interconnected structures:
    • Amygdala: Helps regulate states of emotional arousal
    • Hippocampus: Plays important role in the formation of memories
    • Why can’t you remember when you were born?
    • Parts of the thalamus
    • Parts of the hypothalamus
the cerebral cortex
The Cerebral Cortex
  • Thin, outer layer of the largest part of the forebrain which is called the cerebrum
  • Cerebrum consists of the right and left cerebral hemispheres.
    • Hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum
module 2 4

Module 2.4

Methods of Studying the Brain

  • Postmortem studies
  • Animal Studies
  • Electrical Recordings
  • Static Imaging Techniques
  • Metabolic Imaging
recording and imaging techniques
Recording and Imaging Techniques
  • EEG (electroencephalograph)
  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • fMRI (functional MRI)
experimental methods
Experimental Methods
  • Lesioning
  • Electrical recording
  • Electrical stimulation
static magnetic resonance imaging
Static: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Strong magnetic field passed through the skull
  • Uses the detection of radio frequency signals produced by displaced radio waves in a magnetic field
  • Creates a detailed anatomical image of the brain
metabolic positron emission tomography pet
Metabolic: Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Radioactive material is injected or inhaled
  • Participant is then scanned to produce an image of the brain’s activity
metabolic fmri
Metabolic: fMRI
  • fMRI imaging takes a series of images of the brain in quick succession and then statistically analyzes the images for differences among them
  • Brain areas with more blood flow have been shown to have better visibility on fMRI images BOLD
  • Better visibility is correlated with brain activation
module 2 5

Module 2.5

The Divided Brain:

Specialization of Function

lateralization of brain functions
Lateralization of Brain Functions
  • Refers to division of functions between right and left hemispheres
    • Left hemisphere dominant for language abilities, logical reasoning, and problem solving
    • Right hemisphere dominant in nonverbal processing
  • People are not “left-brained” or “right-brained.”
broca s and wernicke s area
Broca’s and Wernicke’s Area
  • Broca’s Aphasia:
    • Me: How are you today?
    • BA: Ah ah ah ah ah ah ga ga ga ga ga ga ga ga gmmmmmmmpppfffffffffff…good thanks
  • Wernicke’s Aphasia:
    • Me: How are you today?
    • WA: Kangaroos can box you know!
split brain research
Split-Brain Research
  • Severing corpus callosum as treatment for severe epilepsy
  • Split-brain patients retain intellect and personality
  • But differences in perception, language evident in special testing circumstances
brain damage and psychological functioning
Brain Damage and Psychological Functioning
  • Case of Phineas Gage: Prefrontal cortex damage
  • Plasticity: Ability of the brain to adapt and reorganize itself following trauma or surgical alteration
what happened to gage
What happened to Gage?
  • “indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires “
  • Gage's case is cited as among the first evidence suggesting that damage to the frontal lobes could alter aspects of personality and affect socially appropriate interaction
module 2 7

Module 2.7

Genes and Behavior: A Case of Nature and Nurture

genetic influences on behavior
Genetic Influences on Behavior
  • Nature-nurture problem
  • Genotype: An organism’s genetic code
  • Phenotype: The observable physical and behavioral characteristics of the organism
  • Genetic and environmental influences interact in complex ways to shape our personality.
kinship studies
Kinship Studies
  • Familial association studies
  • Twin studies
    • Identical (MZ) vs. fraternal (DZ) twins
    • Concordance rates
  • Adoptee studies