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Flashcards in Psychology And The Brain Deck (37):

What makes the human brain similar to and/or different to that of animals?

• Human brain has skills and capabilities that other animals do not have
• Example: we are able to use language to a much higher degree than other animals

• Gyri and Sulci in our cerebral cortex has shown the human brain has increased in size with evolution

• However, Animals rely on smell so their olfactory bulb is larger


Describe the broad structure of the brain

• With evolution the surface area of our brain has increased in size

• this is seen in the convulsions (gyri and sulci) in our cerebral cortex compared to other animals

• Two hemispheres communicate with each other through a bridge called the Corpus Callosum

• Explain the brain e.g lobes

• the cerebellum is involved in the execution of motor actions
• the brain stem contains networks of connections from the spinal cord


Identify some areas of the brain and their functions

1) Frontal lobe: contains areas involved in movement, attention and memory

2) Parietal lobe: somatosensory Cortex is located here

3) Temporal lobe: auditory cortex is here as well as areas involved in speech production

4) Occipital love: posterior in the brain and contains the visual cortex


Compare and contrast EEG and MEG as techniques for studying the brain

• EEG: directly measures electrical brain activity through the scalp. Attaching electrodes to the surface of the head and measuring current to record electrical currents

• MEG: measures tiny magnetic fields created by neural activity in the brain

MEG allows recordings of nearly the same brain activity as EEG but with better spatial resolution as well as excellent temporal


Compare and contrast MRI and fMRI as techniques for studying the brain

• MRI: uses strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce an image of the brain based on hydrogen ions in the body

• fMRI: uses MRI scanners to measure task related changes in blood flow.

• both have excellent spatial resolution. However, fMRI Has poor temporal resolution as it cannot track brain activity as it happens


Assess ECoG as a technique for studying the brain

• ECoG: involves placement of small electrodes on the surface of the brain

Gives direct recordings of brain activity with high spatial and temporal resolution

However, it is very dangerous for patients as a brain infection can be deadly. It is only carried out on people who have been given medical clearance for reasons such as tumours


How has Cellular Neurophysiology helped as a technique for studying the brain?

• The study of animals have provided knowledge about how the brain works. Staining examples of brain tissue to identify fine-grained neuroanatomy under microscope


Describe the structure of a neutron

Ramon y Cajal: first scientist to suggest the brain was made up of special cells called neurons

Neurons have:
- cell body with nucleus containing genetic material


Outline and describe the 5 neurotransmitter categories

1) Acetylcholine:
- neurotransmitter at the neuromuscular junctions e.g the motor system

2) Monoamines:
- Synthesised from a single amino acid
- present in the brainstem including dopamine

3) Amino acid neurotransmitters
- molecules are sub components of proteins

4) Neuropeptides
- include endorphins
- involved in meditating the systems involved in both pain and pleasure

5) Soluble Gases
- diffuse through cell membranes
- include CO2 and nitric oxide


Explain Synaptic communication

• Neurotransmitter binds with receptors and causes either:
- excitation: more depolarisation more AP
- inhibition: hyperpolarisation preventing more AP

• inhibition: this will cause negatively charged ions to enter the cell and cause the menbrane to be negatively charged


How do drugs work in the brain?

• Many drugs act to alter neurotransmitter activity

• Agonists increase activity
• Antagonists decrease activity

• Some drugs interfere with mopping up of neurotransmitters

• Direct actions bind to the neurotransmitter binding site. Whereas, indirect actions bind elsewhere


Give an example of drugs and their action

Example: Benzodiazepines

• A GABA agonist
• Binds to GABA receptors
• Increases the binding of GABA to the receptor, increasing inhibition


What are hormones?

A chemical signal that is released into the bloodstream by an endocrine gland is which targets cells and other organs.


Explain the endocrine system

Secretes hormones through different glands

1) Pineal gland: secretes hormone called melatonin which regulates our daily biological cycles e.g sleep

2) Hypothalamus: hormones released are important in regulating sleep

3) Ovaries/Testes: secretes sex hormones

4) Adrenal Gland: Important for our initial stress response involved in fight/flight response


Explain the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)

• Autonomic responses facilitate the fast mobilisation of energy required to respond to a stressful stimulus eg increase in heart rate

• Subdivided into two systems and work in opposition to each other

- PNS: internal processes of our hormones

- SNS: involved in responding to stress

• For instance, if we experience some debris in our eyes, the SNS will stimulate our tear glands to help wash our eyes. However, the PNS will cause the tear glands to be inhibited


Explain the stress response

• A physiological reaction caused by the perception of aversive situations

• First phase: ANS (very fast)
- Facilitate fast mobilisation of energy required to respond to a stressful stimulus
-fast responses through the spinal column cause increased heart rate
- adrenal medulla secretes stress hormones
- this then leads to the fight/flight response

• Second phase: Hormonal slow and sustained
- hormones have to be transported around the bloodstream hence why it’s slow
- Pituitary gland releases ACTH
- Adrenal Cortex secretes various stress hormones e.g cortisol
- stress hormones travel in blood stream to relevant organs
- this then leads to the fight/flight response


What is DNA and how does it work?

It is our genetic code packed away into chromosomes in the nucleus of our cells

1) DNA transcribed into mRNA by special enzymes releases from nucleus. A gene is an area of DNA that codes for RNA
2) RNA is translated into proteins in ribosomes

• Proteins affect the way cells work as slight differences in protein structure can alter behaviour


What is heritability and give some examples

The proportion of the entire variation in a group of individuals that is accounted for by genetic variation

Is a population estimate not for any one individual


Give some methods for studying genetic inheritance in reference to Family Studies

Case histories and genetic data collected or members of the family and control samples

Allows comparisons of genetic overlap versus similarity.

Hopper et al:


Give some methods for studying genetic inheritance in reference to Twin Studies

Mz twins are identical and share 100% genetic material

Dz twins are fraternal and share 50% of their segregating genes


Give some methods for studying genetic inheritance in reference to Adoption Studies

Compares twin pairs raised together with twins separated at birth where environmental factors are removed


Define phenotype and genotype

- physical characteristics that result from the interaction of its genotype and environment

- genetic makeup of an individual/organism


Outline the key stages in brain development and their relative timing

1) early embryonic Life - 250,000 neurons/minute added

2) growth at 2 years after birth result into 80% of adult size

3) Almost all structure of brain is present at birth



Outline the mechanisms by which the stages of brain development occur

0) Neurulation: 2-3weeks
- 2wks gestation, ectoderm folds in on itself
- 3 wks gestation, develops into neuralplate forming neural groove
- neural tube contains stem cells and forms the basis of the brain and spinal cord

1) Neurogenesis: prenatal
- within the neural tube, via mitosis
- stem cells divide until the appropriate number of progenitor cells is achieved (radial glia)
- they then differentiate into neurons
- (table of symmetrical and asymmetrical division)

2) Neuronal Migration: prenatal
- young neurons travel with similar cells along scaffolding of the radial glia towards outer layers

3) Cellular differentiation: prenatal
- Progenitor👉🏾radial glia - neurons, glia, astocytes👉🏾neurons

4) Synaptogenesis : prenatal
- forming chemical connections
- neurotransmitter release site in the presynaptic neuron

5) Apoptosis
- controlled process caused by a chemical signal that activates a genetic mechanism inside the cell

6) Synaptic Reorganisation
- usually occurs postnatally at 6yrs old
- if you don’t use certain connections they get taken away


Explain the key stages of neurodevelopment

1) Neurogenesis (mitosis)
- first the stem cells divide until the appropriate number of progenitor cells is achieved
- They differentiate into neurons which migrate to their final positions

2) Neural Migration:
- young neurons travel with similar cells along scaffolding the radial glia towards outer layers

3) Cellular Differentiation
- progenitor cells 👉🏾 radial glia : neuron, glia, astrocytes 👉🏾 neurons


How are hormones secreted?

Through the endocrine system


Give examples of different kinds of developmental disorders

Disorders which are passed on from parents to children

Fragile X Syndrome:
- most common inherited form of intellectual disability
- most males and 1/3 females have mild to moderate intellectual disability
- delayed speech and language development by age 2.
- widespread reductions in grey and white matter in the frontal and temporal lobe


Give examples of different kinds of developmental disorders

Genetic disorders that are not inherited are genetic differences that have arisen spontaneously but not present in the parents genetic material

Down Syndrome:
- chromosomal condition that occurs when there are three copies of chromosome 21
- characteristic facial appearance

Williams Syndrome:
- occurs because of a deletion of material on chromosome 7
- problems with visual spatial processing


Give examples of different kinds of developmental disorders

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome:
- environmental cause referring to alcohol intake during the mother’s pregnancy
- distinctive facial feature L’s, low height and weight
- severity depends on timing in pregnancy, volume of alcohol as well as individual differences


Give examples of different kinds of developmental disorders

Interaction between environment and genetic risk

Autism Spectrum Disorder:
• environmental risk factors:
- maternal diabetes
- paternal age

• genetic factors
- twin studies show that ASD is highly heritable within each symptom group

- neuronal Migration errors (ectopias)
- differences in white matter structure

Neural basis of reading
• left inferior frontal gyrus
- semantic processing


Discuss closed-head injuries in relation to Brian damage

• Caused by vehicle accidents and sports injuries.
• 2 main mechanisms
- direct strike to the head
- sudden acceleration/deceleration damaging white matter traits

• Initial blow results into a counterblow which strikes the brain inside of the skull
• brain swells and bruises
•Immediate symptoms: headache, nausea
•LT Symptoms: memory problems


Discuss Tumours in relation to Brain Damage.

• Affects brain function in 2 ways:
- Infiltration: replace normal tissue with cancerous growth
- Compression: pushing and displacing normal brain tissue

Symptoms of tumour:
• diagnosed by brain imaging eg MRI


Discuss brains damage in relation to CTE

CTE is characterised by
- mood disorders
- behaviour changes
- later result into dementia or Parkinson’s

CTE: in sport
- some sports carry high risk for concussion
- example: football players who head the ball a lot
- new guidelines for coaches are strict about when a player should be removed from the game


Discuss Cerebrovascular accidents and toxicity in relation to Brain Damage.

- blood supply to part of brain is interrupted

Types of stoke include:
- haemorrhagic stroke caused by leaking blood vessel
- ischaemic stroke: caused by blocked artery

Risk factors include:
- high blood pressure


Describe what is neurodegeneration and provide two examples of neurodegenerative disorders and mechanisms

Hereditary and sporadic conditions which are characterised by progressive Nervous System dysfunction

- fundamentally all involve the loss of cells for example through apoptosis

Alzheimer’s Disease:
- symptoms include: memory loss, aphasia
- there’s no cure, life expectancy is usually 5-10yrs after diagnosis
- Brain changes: loss of cortex with effects on executive functions, movement

Parkinson’s Disease:
- caused by a loss of dopaminergic neurons called the basal ganglia
- cell death accompanied by accumulation of alpha-synuclein in the neurons


Explain synaptic transmission


Describe the sequence of events involved in the propagation of action potentials

- at rest neuron has membrane potential of -70mV
- the inside of the cell is more negative because the pump pumps out 3sodium ions for every 2potassium ions
- sodium flows back if the cell is electrically stimulated above threshold making membrane potential positive
- potassium channels open slower as membrane potential returns to -70mV
- the sweep up and down along the neuron is called AP
- myelin insulates neuron as AP jumps between the gaps travelling faster along the neuron