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The brain and spinal cord The brain is the location of most information processing. The spinal cord is the main pathway to and from the brain.
The sensory and motor nerves that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body Peripheral means “outer region” somatic and autonomic The system is subdivided into the somatic and autonomic nervous systems.
controls the body’s skeletal muscles The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body’s skeletal muscles (remember “soma”= body) Contains the motor nerves needed for the voluntary muscles
controls the glands and muscles of the internal organs The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and muscles of the internal organs Monitors the autonomic functions Controls breathing, blood pressure, and digestive processes Divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems
arouses the body The part of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body to deal with perceived threats and stress
The part of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body Brings the body back down to a relaxed state
How Do We Study The Brain?
Electrodes are placed on the scalp that amplify recordings of the waves of electrical activity across the brain’s surface
A series of X-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of the brain
A visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) A technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer- generated images that allow us to see structures within the brain
Accidents Case study analysis of victims of suffer from a brain injury, resulting in variations in normal behavior IE. Phineas Gage
Lesions Lesioning is the removal or destruction of part of the brain. IE. Lobotomy
THE BRAIN AND ITS FUNCTIONS
I. The Hindbrain
The hindbrain is the oldest and innermost region of the brain
The functions of the hindbrain are mostly done outside of our awareness, and occur without any conscious effort.
The functions of the hindbrain control basic biological functions that keep the human body alive.
There are three brain areas associated with the Hindbrain: Medulla Cerebellum Pons
The point at which the spinal cord enters the skull is called the MEDULLA The MEDULLA controls heartbeat and breathing, blood pressure, and attention
Extending from the rear of the brainstem is the CEREBELLUM The CEREBELLUM coordinates voluntary movements and balance (along with the BASIL GANGLIA)
The PONS is responsible for helping to regulate breathing, to help with sleep and wake cycles, and controls facial expressions
II. The Midbrain The Midbrain is located between the hindbrain and the forebrain This area is responsible for coordinating simple muscle movements with changes in sensory information
The major area of the Midbrain is the RETICULAR FORMATION The RETICULAR FORMATION extends from the spine to the thalamus, and is responsible for arousal/wakefulness and attentiveness
The MIDBRAIN is also responsible for behaviors associated with hearing and sight Pupil dilation and eyeball movement
III. The Forebrain Areas of the forebrain control thought and reason. There are five main regions of the forebrain to study: Thalamus Hypothalamus Amygdala Hippocampus The Cerebral Cortex
On top of the hindbrain is the THALAMUS The THALAMUS receives sensory input from all of the senses except smell, and routes it to the proper area of the brain for processing The THALAMUS also helps to control the electrical currents in the brain
The HYPOTHALAMUS is responsible for several maintenance activities, including eating, drinking, body temperature, and sexual arousal
The HYPOTHALAMUS also relays communication between the brain and the endocrine system, via the pituitary gland, and then monitors the hormones released into the bloodstream
The HIPPOCAMPUS is essential to memory processing
The AMYGDALA is tied to emotions, especially those of aggression, rage, and fear
Collectively, the thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and the amygdala are known as the Limbic System as well
The CEREBRAL CORTEX is the intricate, wrinkled covering of the brain (FISSURES) (actually a bump is a gyrus and a groove is a sulcus – but that’s a bit too much info…) In addition to interneurons, it contains GLIAL CELLS, which guide neural connections, provide nutrients to myelin, and mop up neurotransmitters
The Cerebral Cortex is split into two halves, or Hemispheres: Right Hemisphere Left Hemisphere
The two hemispheres of the brain are connected by the CORPUS CALLOSUM
Each hemisphere of the brain has different functions. This is called hemispheric specialization.
The Cerebral Cortex is split into four LOBES, with half of each one on the left, and half of each one on the right: The FRONTAL LOBE The PARIETAL LOBE The OCCIPITAL LOBE The TEMPORAL LOBE
The Frontal Lobes are the portions of the cortex lying just behind the forehead Mostly involved in abstract thought, speaking, muscle movements, making plans, and judgments
In the left frontal lobe specifically, there is an association area responsible for language processing called Broca’s Area
Broca’s Area controls language expression and the muscle’s involved with producing speech
Along the top of both front lobes runs the motor cortex
The motor cortex receives messages from the rest of the brain and then sends messages back to the muscles of the body in order to control voluntary movements.
The Parietal Lobes are the portion of the cortex lying at the top of the head includes the sensory (or somato-sensory) cortex
The parietal lobes play important roles in integrating sensory touch information, and in the handling and manipulation of objects.
The sensory cortex registers and processes touch sensations.
Click the homunculus to understand the homunculus!
The Temporal Lobes are the portions of the cerebral cortex roughly located above the ears audio processing comprehension, naming, verbal memory and other language functions.
In the left temporal lobe specifically, there is an association area responsible for language processing called Wernike’s Area
Wernicke’s Area interprets both written and spoken language.
The Occipital Lobes are located at the back of the head The occipital lobe is responsible for processing visual information.
Module 8: The Brain
The ability of the brain tissue to take on new functions Greatest in childhood Important if parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed Go to the next slide to see a video about brain plasticity! (may take a few seconds to load – be patient – click only once to load the video – then wait!