PSY101 - Chapter 2: The Biology of the Mind Flashcards Preview

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Biological Psychology

to study the link between biological activity and psychological events.


Sensory and Motor Neurons

Sensory: carry messages from the body's tissues and sensory organs inward to the brain and spinal cord for processing.
Motor: carry messages from the brain and out to the body's tissues.


Neuron Structure

Dendrite: hairy message receiver around cell body.
Cell Body: cell's life-support center.
Axon: passes messages away from cell body to other neurons/muscles/glands.
Myelin Sheath: covers axon of some neurons and helps speed neural impulses.
Terminal Branches of Axon: form junctions with other cells.


Neural Communication

When a neural impulse reaches the terminal of an axon, it triggers the release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic gap.


Somatic Nervous System

Allows voluntary control of skeletal muscles.


Autonomic Nervous System

Controls our glands and the muscles of our internal organs.
1. Sympathetic System: expands energy-accelerates heart rate, raises blood pressure, etc.
2. Parasympathetic System: conserves energy-decelerates heart rate, lowers blood pressure, etc.


Nervous System

Brain and Spinal Cord
Methods of discovery:
1. Clinical Observation
2. Lesions and Transections
3. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (induces temporary lesions w/ magnetic field.
4. Neuroimaging Techniques
- Electroencephalogram provides amplified takings of waves of electrical activity in the brain.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) detects changes in blood oxygenation in different brain regions.


Major Brain Structures

1. Brainstem
2. Thalamus
3. Cerebellum
4. Limbic System



Medulla: base, controls involuntary functions such as heartbeat and breathing.
Reticular Formation: filters incoming stimuli (from the spinal cord) and relays info to other areas of the brain.



Receives info from all the senses (except smell) and routes it to higher brain regions - eyes to cortical areas for vision.



Attached to the rear of the brainstem, helps coordinate voluntary movements and balance, plays a role in learning motor skills.


Limbic System

Hippocampus: involved in acquisition of memories.
Amygdala: regulates fear and aggression.
Hypothalamus: regulates fighting, fleeing, feeding, and reproduction.


Cerebral Cortex

2/3 of total mass, 2mm deep layer, convoluted.
Divided into four lobes separated by prominent fissures:
1. Occipital Lobes: vision, visual cortex (damage disrupts consciousness.
2. Temporal Lobes: hearing, understanding language, storing autobiographical memories; contains auditory cortex.
-Wernicke's area; between left temporal and parietal lobes; associated with processing of words we hear or language inputs.
3. Parietal Lobes: touch/pain/temperature; contains somatosensory cortex.
4. Frontal Lobes: motor function/language/memory/executive functions.
-Broca's area usually in left frontal lobe; production of language/language outputs.(connected to Wernicke's area by a bundle of nerve fibers called the arcuate fascicuclus).


Association Areas

Found in all four lobes, responsible for integrating info, linking sensory inputs with stored memories.


Corpus Callosum

band of axon fibers connects the two hemispheres and carries messages between them. Splitting it severs connection between the two hemispheres, leaving the person with 'two minds' that can actively and simultaneously control the body with separate commands.


Right Hemisphere

1. Excels in making inferences
2. helps modulate our speech to make meaning clear.
3. Helps orchestrate our sense of self.


Left Hemisphere

adept at making quick literal interpretations of language.