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Neuroscience and Behavior Chapter 2. Mastering Brain Structure Learn brain structures and basic functions. Nervous System. Central Nervous System (CNS). Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The Nervous System. Activity – Mastering Brain Structure.

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neuroscience and behavior chapter 2

Neuroscience and BehaviorChapter 2

Mastering Brain Structure

Learn brain structures and basic functions

nervous system
Nervous System









activity mastering brain structure
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Think about the activity of each brain structure as we drive a car.
  • Some structures may be more active under certain driving conditions, while others may be active regardless of conditions.
brain structures
Brain Structures
  • Cerebellum
  • Medulla
  • Pons
  • Reticular formation
  • Thalamus
  • Hypothalamus
  • Amygdala
  • Hippocampus
  • Corpus collosum --- continued next slide
brain structures1
Brain Structures
  • Frontal lobe
    • Motor cortex
    • Prefrontal cortex
  • Parietal lobe
    • Somatosensory cortex
  • Occipital lobe
    • Visual cortex
  • Temoporal lobe
    • Auditory cortex --- continued on next slide
brain structures2
Brain Structures
  • Broca’s area
  • Wernicke’s area
the brain older brain structures
The Brain: Older Brain Structures

The Brainstemisthe oldest part of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells and enters the skull. It is responsible for automatic survival functions.


The Medulla [muh-DUL-uh] is the base of the brainstem that controls heartbeat and breathing.


The Thalamus [THAL-uh-muss] is the brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem. It directs messages to the sensory areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.



Reticular Formationisa nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.


The “little brain” attached to the rear of the brainstem. It helps coordinate voluntary movements and balance.

the peripheral nervous system consists of
The peripheral nervous system consists of:
  • A. association areas.
  • B. the spinal cord.
  • C. the reticular formation.
  • D. sensory and motor neurons.

After suffering an accidental brain injury, Kira has difficulty walking in a smooth and coordinated manner. It is most probable that she has suffered damage to her:

  • A. amygdala.
  • B. angular gyrus.
  • C. cerebellum.
  • D. corpus callosum.
which region of the brain appears to have the oldest evolutionary history
Which region of the brain appears to have the oldest evolutionary history?
  • A. frontal lobes
  • B. limbic system
  • C. brainstem
  • D. corpus callosum
the limbic system
The Limbic System

The Limbic Systemisa doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebrum, associated with emotions such as fear, aggression and drives for food and sex. It includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus.


The Amygdala [ah-MIG-dah-la] consists of two lima bean-sized neural clusters linked to the emotions of fear and anger.


The Hypothalamus lies below (hypo) the thalamus. It directs several maintenance activities like eating, drinking, body temperature, and control of emotions. It helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland.

structure of the cortex
Structure of the Cortex

Each brain hemisphere is divided into four lobes that are separated by prominent fissures. These lobes are the frontal lobe (forehead), parietal lobe (top to rear head), occipital lobe (back head) and temporal lobe (side of head).

frontal lobe and parietal lobe functions of the cortex
Frontal lobe and Parietal Lobe: Functions of the Cortex

Frontal: Motor Cortex is the area at the rear of the frontal lobes that control voluntary movements.

Parietal Lobe: Sensory Cortex (somatasensory) receives information from skin surface and sense organs.

occipital lobe visual function
Occipital Lobe: Visual Function

The functional MRI scan shows the visual cortex is active as the subject looks at faces.

Courtesy of V.P. Clark, K. Keill, J. Ma. Maisog, S. Courtney, L.G.

Ungerleider, and J.V. Haxby,

National Institute of Mental Health

temporal lobe auditory function
Temporal Lobe: Auditory Function

The functional MRI scan shows the auditory cortex is active in patients who hallucinate.


Aphasiais an impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca’s area (impaired speaking) or to Wernicke’s area (impaired understanding).

specialization integration
Specialization & Integration

Brain activity when hearing, seeing, and speaking words

Due to an automobile accident, Jenny suffered damage to her cerebral cortex in Broca's area. Jenny is most likely to experience:
  • A. auditory hallucinations.
  • B. aphasia.
  • C. memory loss.
  • D. paralysis of her left limbs.
activity mastering brain structure1
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • The following are sample responses for each brain structure:
    • Cerebellum: Coordinates left and right hand movements on the steering wheel.
    • Medulla: Regulates breathing and heart rate while we concentrate on driving.
    • Pons: Assists in the coordination of driving motions and in alertness.
activity mastering brain structure2
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Reticular formation: Regulates our alertness or drowsiness as we drive. Ask students what actions they take to keep alert at the wheel (e.g., open windows, play music, drink caffeinated beverages).
  • Thalamus: Relays visual and auditory cues to areas of the cerebrum.
  • Hypothalamus: Makes us aware when we are too hot or too cold (to adjust the temperature controls), or too hungry, thirsty, or in need of a restroom stop.
activity mastering brain structure3
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Amygdala:  May be active during “road rage” (e.g., when another driver behaves recklessly).
  • Hippocampus: Contributes to the formation of memories of road hazards for future trips.
  • Corpus callosum: Shares sensory and motor driving information from both hemispheres.
activity mastering brain structure4
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Frontal lobe
    • Motor cortex: Initiates driving actions (e.g., moves the right foot to the gas or brake pedals). Ask students to trace the pathway from the motor cortex to the right foot.
    • Broca’s area: Initiates conversations with passengers.
    • Prefrontal cortex: Helps us in planning our routes (e.g., if we notice a hazard or detour).
activity mastering brain structure5
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Frontal lobe
    • Parietal lobe: Helps us determine if our car may fit into a parking space (right parietal lobe).
    • Somatosensory cortex: Registers the pressure of the right foot on the gas pedal or brake. Ask students to trace the pathway from the right foot to the somatosensory cortex.
activity mastering brain structure6
Activity – Mastering Brain Structure
  • Occipital lobe
    • Visual cortex:  Processes the visual road signals (e.g., stop lights, speed limit signs).
  • Temporal lobe
    • Auditory cortex:  Processes the sounds of other vehicles (e.g., sirens, horns, passing vehicles).
    • Wernicke’s area:  Processes speech sounds from passengers, other drivers, police officers.