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Brain Structure and Function. “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t” -Emerson Pugh, The.

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Presentation on theme: "Brain Structure and Function. “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t” -Emerson Pugh, The."— Presentation transcript:

1 Brain Structure and Function

2 “If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t” -Emerson Pugh, The Biological Origin of Human Values (1977)

3 Phineas Gage September 13 th, 1848 Phineas 25 years old Rutland & Burlington Railroad, Cavendish, VT Paving the way for new RR tracks “Tamping Iron” –1.25in x 3ft


5 Accident –Quick Recovery Months later: “No longer Gage” –Before: capable, efficient, best foreman, well-balanced mind –After: extravagant, anti-social, liar, grossly profane Stint with P.T Barnum Died 12 years later Watch Clip Phineas Gage

6 Evolution of the Brain Reptilian  Paleomammalian  Neomammalian

7 The Brain Brainstem –responsible for automatic survival functions Medulla –controls heartbeat and breathing

8 BRAINSTEM  Heart rate and breathing CEREBELLUM  Coordination and balance Parts of the Brain amygdala pituitary hippocampus THALAMUS  Relays messages

9 Reticular Formation Widespread connections Arousal of the brain as a whole Reticular activating system (RAS) Maintains consciousness and alertness Functions in sleep and arousal from sleep

10 The Cerebellum –helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance

11 The Limbic System Hypothalamus, pituitary, amygdala, and hippocampus all deal with basic drives, emotions, and memory Hippocampus  Memory processing Amygdala  Aggression (fight) and fear (flight) Hypothalamus  Hunger, thirst, body temperature, pleasure; regulates pituitary gland (hormones)

12 The Limbic System  Hypothalamus  neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus; directs several maintenance activities  eating  drinking  body temperature  helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland  linked to emotion  (show video)

13 The Limbic System Show self stimulation clip

14 The Limbic System Amygdala –two almond- shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion and fear

15 Charles Whitman August 1 st, 1966

16 The Brain Thalamus –the brain’s sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem –it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla

17 The Cerebral Cortex Cerebral Cortex –the body’s ultimate control and information processing center

18 The lobes of the cerebral hemispheres

19 Planning, decision making speech Sensory Auditory Vision

20 The Cerebral Cortex Frontal Lobes –involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments –the “executive” Parietal Lobes –include the sensory cortex

21 The Cerebral Cortex Occipital Lobes –include the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field Temporal Lobes –include the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear

22 The Cerebral Cortex Frontal (Forehead to top)  Motor Cortex Parietal (Top to rear)  Sensory Cortex Occipital (Back)  Visual Cortex Temporal (Above ears)  Auditory Cortex

23 Motor/Sensory Cortex Contralateral Homunculus Unequal representation


25 Sensory Areas – Sensory Homunculus Figure 13.10

26 The Cerebral Cortex  Aphasia  impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca’s area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke’s area (impairing understanding) –see clips  Broca’s Area  an area of the left frontal lobe that directs the muscle movements involved in speech  Wernicke’s Area  an area of the left temporal lobe involved in language comprehension and expression

27 Language Areas Broca  Expression Wernicke  Comprehension and reception Aphasias LEFT HEMISPHERE

28 Paul Broca [1800s] Suggested localization

29 Techniques to examine functions of the brain 1. Remove part of the brain & see what effect it has on behavior 2. Examine humans who have suffered brain damage

30 3. Stimulate the brain 4. Record brain activity


32 Brain Lateralization

33 Our Divided Brains Corpus collosum – large bundle of neural fibers (myelinated axons, or white matter) connecting the two hemispheres

34 Hemispheric Specialization LEFT Symbolic thinking (Language) Detail Literal meaning RIGHT Spatial perception Overall picture Context, metaphor

35 Contra-lateral division of labor Right hemisphere controls left side of body and visual field Left hemisphere controls right side of body and visual field

36 Split Brain Patients Epileptic patients had corpus callosum cut to reduce seizures in the brain Lives largely unaffected, seizures reduced Affected abilities related to naming objects in the left visual field

37 Brain Plasticity

38 The ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences Persistent functional changes in the brain represent new knowledge Age dependent component Brain injuries

39 Environmental influences on neuroplasticity Impoverished environment Enriched environment

40 Sensation and Perception

41 Sensation The process by which the central nervous system receives input from the environment via sensory neurons Bottom up processing

42 Perception The process by which the brain interprets and organizes sensory information Top-down processing

43 The psychophysics of sensation Absolute threshold  the minimum stimulation needed to detect a stimulus with 50% accuracy Subliminal stimulation  below the absolute threshold for conscious awareness –May affect behavior without conscious awareness Sensory adaptation/habituation  diminished sensitivity to an unchanging stimulus

44 The five major senses Vision – electromagnetic –Occipital lobe Hearing – mechanical –Temporal lobe Touch – mechanical –Sensory cortex Taste – chemical –Gustatory insular cortex Smell – chemical –Olfactory bulb –Orbitofrontal cortex –Vomeronasal organ?

45 The sixth sense Vestibular  balance and motion –Inner ear Proprioceptive  relative position of body parts –Parietal lobe Temperature  heat –Thermoreceptors throughout the body, sensory cortex Nociception  pain –Nociceptors throughout the body, sensory cortex And the seventh…and eighth…and ninth…

46 Thresholds of the five major senses

47 The Retina The retina at the back of the eye is actually part of the brain! Rods – brightness Cones – color

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