Ch 2: The biological perspective


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Nervous system
Network of cells that carries information to and from all parts of the body
branch of life sciences that deal with the stx and functioning of the brain and the neurons, nerves, and nervous tissues that form the nervous system
Biological psychology/ behavioral neuroscience
branch of neuroscience that focuses on the biological bases of psychological processes, behavior, and learning, and its is the primary area associated with the biological perspective in psychology
Parts of neurons
1. Dendrites (“tree-like”): receive messages
2. Soma (“body”): keeps the cell alive and functioning.
3. Axon (“axis”): fiber attached to soma that carries the message out
4. Myelin Sheath: an insulating and protective sheath that speeds up the neural message traveling down the axon
5. Axon terminal: communicate with other nerve cells
Glial cells
other primary cells on which neurons develop and get held in place, get nutrients to neurons, clean up remains of dead neurons, etc
include oligodendrocytes and schwann cells which generate myelin
Acetylcholine: Excitatory or inhibitory. Arousal, attention, memory, muscle contractions. Paralysis <-> Convulsions
Dopamine: Excitatory or inhibitory; control of movement and sensation of pleasure Parkinson’s <-> schizophrenia
Serotonin: Ecitatory or inhibitory; Sleep, mood, anxiety, and appetite
Glutamate: Major excitatory; learning and memory and development nervous system and synaptic plasticity
GABA: Major inhibtory; sleep and inhibition of movement.
Endorphin: inhibitory; pain relief
Norepinephrine: Mainly excitatory; arousal and mood
Nervous System Parts
Central Nervous System
Spinal Cord

Peripheral Nervous System
Parasympathetic (saves energy): going back to normal
Sympathetic (expends energy): under stress
Sensory (afferent): senses –> CNS
Motor (efferent): CNS –> muscles/glands

Ability to constantly change both the stx and function of many cells of the brain in response to experience and even trauma
endocrine gland definition
have no ducts and secrete their chemicals directly into the bloodstream
How Psychologists study the brain
Lesioning studies (purposefully damage brain)
Braining Stimulation: electrical stimulation of the brain.
Mapping structure: Computed Tomography (CT), MRI, DTI
Mapping Function: examining function of the brain
Medulla: heartbeat, breathing, swallowing
Pons: sends messages b/c cerebellum and cortex
Reticular Formation: Arousal and attention
Cerebellum: Balance and maintains muscle coordination
Thalamus: relays info from sensory organs to cerebral cortex
Hypothalamus: Fear, thirst, sexual drive, and aggression
Hippocampus: Learning, memory, ability to compare sensory information to expectations
Amygdala: influences motivation, emotional control, fear response, and interpretations of nonverbal emotional expressions
Cingulate cortex: involves emotional and cognitive processing
Association Areas
Broca’s area: L frontal lobe. correct speech production
Wernicke’s area: L temporal lobe. understanding the meaning of words

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