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The Nervous System has 2 main parts – the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal.

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Presentation on theme: "The Nervous System has 2 main parts – the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal."— Presentation transcript:

1 The role of the Central Nervous System and Neurotransmitters in human behaviour.

2 The Nervous System has 2 main parts – the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System. The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain is within the skull and the spinal cord is within the vertebrae.


4 Parts of the brain and spinal cord Remember to check out the brain tutorial on I Learn


6 Neurotransmitters Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that act between the neurones in the brain. This allows the brain to process thoughts and memories. The nervous system contains neurones and glia – glial cells carry out repairs and remove waste products from the brain. Neurones receive and transmit messages, passing them from cell to cell.

7 How Synapses work You need to be able to explain how messages are passed via neurotransmitters


9 Neurotransmitters continued:
RECEPTORS can be thought of as locks – if a certain chemical (neurotransmitter) fits like a key, then the message is passed on: if it does not then the message is blocked. Manufactured drugs work in this way – they mimic neurotransmitters, more or less fit certain receptors, are received like neurotransmitters and the message from them ‘works’. Some drugs block the message – they fit the receptor, so the natural neurotransmitter cannot pass the message on because the receptor is not available.

10 Place the following in the correct order see worksheet
The axon terminal of one neurone reaches to the dendrites of another. The synaptic gap or cleft sits between two neurones. At one end, a neurone has dendrites which surround the nucleus. On one side, at the dendrites, there are receptors of a certain shape, prepared to receive the neurotransmitter from another neurone. From the nucleus, there is a long extension called an axon, which reaches to an axon terminal. If the neurotransmitter fits the receptor the message is passed on; if it does not, the message is blocked. Between the terminal and the dendrites, there is a gap called a synapse.

11 Genes

12 A GENE contains a set of instructions and is a carrier of information.
Each individual human has a genotype – this is the genetic composition Each person has a phenotype which is what the individual becomes when their genes interact with each other and the environment. A gene consists of a long strand of DNA A chromosome is a double chain of DNA

13 Some genes always lead to certain characteristics; these are known as dominant genes – to produce a characteristic, dominant genes need to be on only one pair of chromosomes. Some genes need more than one copy to produce a characteristic; these are known as recessive genes – if a recessive gene is present on only one of the pair of chromosomes, the characteristic will not appear. However, they can be passed on and may appear in a future generation. Characteristics can be aspects of appearance, personality or behaviour.


15 Examples of the effects of genes on humans
Some diseases and characteristics are sex linked – they are controlled by the sex genes. E.g. most colour blind people are men If one parent contributes two copies of chromosome 21, then the child has three copies and the consequence is Down’s Syndrome. Human chromosome 4 has a marker known as G8 – if a parent and child both have Huntingdon’s Disease, then in 98% of cases they both have the same form of G8 marker – suggesting that the gene for Huntingdon’s travels with the G8 marker

16 Huntingdon’s Disease

17 Environmental triggers on genes
Sometimes genes do not influence physical characteristics unless the ‘right’ environmental conditions occur. Find out about PKU (phenylketonuria) – what is it? How can the damage from this condition be reduced?

18 PKU

19 The Nature – Nurture Debate
What do psychologists mean when they talk about the nature – nurture debate? Write down some characteristics that you have which you believe are caused by nature. Write down some characteristics that you have which you believe are caused by nurture. Which characteristics may be caused due to an interaction between nature and nurture?


21 Biological explanations for gender development – we will….
Consider how biological psychologists might explain sex & gender Examine chromosomal influences on sex/gender development Examine hormonal influences on sex/gender development

22 Sex chromosomes Genetic blueprint for a person is organised into 23 pairs of chromosomes 22 pairs are both X shaped. the 23rd depends on whether the person is female or male XX – female XY - male

23 Sex chromosomes

24 Chromosomes & hormones
Everything develops as a female unless instructed otherwise The Y chromosome contains instructions for the body to produce androgens (male sex hormones) These cause the embryo to develop along the ‘male path’

25 Sexual development At about 6 weeks gestation the GONADS or sex organs begin to develop but there is no difference between developing sex organs of males and females at this stage. Later, the gonads begin develop differently What does the gene in the Y chromosome called SRY do?


27 Which protein hormone is released at about 6 weeks into foetal development?
What does this hormone do? What are the undeveloped sex organs of both men and women called? What is the name of the first hormone to be released by the testes and what does it do?

28 Abnormal sex differentiation and development
Problems with sex differentiation can occur at any time during development. Problems can arise at fertilisation – e.g. boys with XXY chromosomes develop Klinefelter’e syndrome and girls with XO chromosomes have Turner’s syndrome. Incorrect Mullerian or Wolffian duct development can also cause problems – the foetus might not respond to androgens, in which case the foetus will have neither male nor female internal duct structures and lack of the Mullerian (female) inhibiting substance but with androgen secretion can lead to a foetus having both male and female duct structures.

29 Klinefelter’s syndrome
Physical differences (stature, limbs) Underdeveloped genitalia Gynaecomastia in some cases Poor language abilities, learning difficulties ‘Shy and passive’ temperament

30 Klinefelter’s syndrome

31 Klinefelter’s syndrome

32 Turner’s syndrome

33 Turner’s syndrome Physical differences (neck, stature)
Underdeveloped ovaries, lack of menstruation at puberty Poor spatial and mathematical abilities Poor social adjustment

34 Turner’s syndrome

35 Hormones and Gender Development
Like neurotransmitters, hormones carry messages However, the messages are passed much more slowly because hormones travel in the bloodstream They affect numerous processes such as growth, development, mood and metabolism

36 They are produced by endocrine glands, which are groups of cells and include the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands They are also produced by males in the testes and females in the ovaries The female hormones are oestrogen and progesterone The male hormones are androgens such as testosterone Collectively these are called reproductive organs These dictate gender differences and cause the male and female brains to develop differently

37 The Male Brain

38 The Female Brain

39 Hormone differences can affect health and lifestyle throughout a person’s life.
For example – more females develop pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and they also tend to suffer more from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. On the other hand, more men than women are likely to develop alcoholism and to abuse drugs. Find out about ANDROGENITAL SYNDROME – Cause? Symptoms?


41 Brain Lateralisation What is meant by the term brain lateralisation?
What are the 2 parts of the brain known as? What connects the 2 parts of the brain? It is claimed that the left and right sides of the brain are concerned with different things – what are these? What evidence is there for brain lateralisation? You will need evidence from studies here e.g.Pfeiffer




45 Test your Brain Sex You can do this by logging on to the following link and completing the test – it will take about twenty minutes. Please do this and print out your findings – bring to class after half term

46 Evaluation of biological explanations for gender development
The Case of David Reimer The results of biological explanations are based on tests that can be repeated e.g. injecting rats with additional testosterone or using MRI scanning in humans to detect blood flow. The results are replicable and can be shown to be reliable

47 Different research methods are used and tend to come up with similar results e.g. sex differences in brain lateralisation. There is a problem with generalisability because many findings come from animal studies; there are important differences in the human brain, so such findings may not be relevant to humans and may not be credible. Biological aspects are difficult to study without reference to the environment; for example male and female children are reinforced for different behaviour; this may mean that they use different strategies to do tasks rather than that they have different brain structures (SLT)

48 Pseudo hermaphrodites – e. g
Pseudo hermaphrodites – e.g. Daphne Went – this evidence refutes the genetic explanation of gender development. How? Androgenital syndrome and Androgen sensitivity syndrome support the argument that pre natal exposure to certain hormones determines gender development – hormone exposure can override genetic sex. There is an argument that gender is a result of interaction between biology and environment. From the moment a child is conceived, it is subject to influence from the environment.


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