Physiology Psychology describes
or evaluates mechanisms for
Behavior in its simplest
definition is movement. These
movements are muscular
contractions which are
recognizably different, yet
performed publicly which makes
it easy to study behavior between
A species physiology must be
compatible to its place in nature
to secure survival. .
What are some of these
Identity problem- does ?
Continuity problem – what is
the relation between humans
Religious view- human are
different kinds of entities
Scientific-human are part of the
Mind and Body Problem
Important Psychological Issue
The mind and body problem deals with three important
Idealism suggest mental monism or the absence of
the physical world. If one believes this he/she is
more likely to behave introvertly.
Materialism is the idea that there is no mental.
Those who believe this view behave extrovertly.
Epiphenominalism suggest that the mind is a side
effect of the brain and the mind holds no power.
Techniques of Studying the Brain
Lesion or Abrasion
severing, or destroying a
part of the brain. How
does it effect behavior?
Used on animals-Not on
humans except after the fact
After WWI many men who
had suffered brain injuries
extensively used- electric
Stimulation to certain parts of
brain have been shown to
cause: aggression, submission,
and extreme sexual pleasure.
Science Fiction has already
explored some concerns of
using stimulation to reward or
Techniques for Studying the Brain
Chemical Stimulation- A
cannula, small tube, is inserted
into the brain and crystalline
forms of neurotransmitters are
Recording Technique- Measures
the activity of neurons.
Recorder is inserted into axon.
Electrode stimulates cell’s
Biochemical Technique- used to
map out various
Example- How levels of
transmitters is linked to
depression. Drug therapy can
alter these levels.
Imaging Technique- New-Uses
forms of energy and computers
to create detailed pictures of
the brain. Example-MRI
(magnetism), CAT Scan (X-
rays), and PET Scan
The Basic Unit of the Nervous System
Estimated 10-12 billion or
Large number of neurons=
more complex nervous system.
One Neuron can connect to as
many as 75 more neurons.
Pyramidal neuron located in
Three Types of Neurons:
Afferent or Sensory- run from
sense organs to central nervous
Efferent or motor- run from the
central nervous system to the
Interneurons or multipolar-
Found within the brain and are
multiply connected to other
Parts of the Neuron
Dendrites- All of the fibrous
extensions of the cell body
except the axon. They give the
Neuron its characteristic shape.
Cell Body- The part of the
neuron containing the nucleus,
cell membrane and contributing
organelles ( endoplasmic
reticular, Golgi apparatus, and
Axon- Conducts information
from the neuron cell body to the
synaptic terminals to trigger
synaptic transmission. Axons also
transport chemical substances
from the cell body to the synaptic
Myelin- A fatty sheath of
insulation that covers larger
axons. Not all neurons have
Synapse- Points of functional
contact between axon terminals
and other cells.
Within the Neuron
Depolarization- An electrical
-70 mill volts
When the neuron is resting, not
conducting nerve impulses, it is
The cell is invaded by Na ions
and the expulsion of K ions.
The electric charge is gone.
A chemical process
When depolarization reaches
the terminal buttons,
neurotransmitters are released
into the synapse.
Either excite or inhibit the
Receiving neuron- postsynaptic
Parts of the Brain:
Frontal Lobe (Forebrain)
Four Types of Messengers:
1. Neurotransmitters: released by terminal buttons of neurons
and detected by receptors in the membrane of another cell a short
2. Neuromodulators: released in large amounts from the
terminal buttons, but diffused throughout part of the brain,
affecting many neurons
3. Hormones: produced by endocrine glands, released into
extracellular fluid - stimulate cell receptors on membrane surface
or deep within nuclei of cells, including neurons
4. Pheromones: chemicals released into the environment through
sweat, urine, or secretions of special glands. Most receptors in nose
of other animals, but may also be detected in skin or other organs
Location- In the anterior most part of the brain (under
Determines our consciousness of our environment.
Determines how we initiate and respond to our environment.
Daily decisions in our daily lives.
Controls emotional responses and expressive language.
Assigns meanings to the words we use.
Involves word association.
Controls memory for habits and motor activities.
Emotional control center.
Location- Near the back and top of the head (Near the
back and top of the head)
Contains the location for visual attention.
Contains the location for touch perception.
Controls goal directed voluntary movements.
Controls the manipulation of objects.
Integrates different senses to allow for understanding a single
If not functioning correctly epileptic behavior can occur.
Illustration of the Occipital Lobe
Link: Traumatic Brain Injury Research
Location- Located in the most posterior (Back of the
Center of the visual perception center.
Contains the primary visual cortex.
Receives projections from the lateral geniculate nucleus of the
Numerous visual functions.
Location- at the side of the head and above the ears
Auditory sensation and perception
Organization and categorization of verbal material
Long term memory
Personality and sexual behavior
Organization of sensory input
The brain has two temporal lobes, one on each side of the brain
The two are interchangeable, so if one is damaged, the other is
usually able to takeover the other's duties
Biological Foundations of Psychology
Divisions of the Brain
The Brain Stem
(Medulla oblongata, the Midbrain, and the Pons.)
Last part of the brain before reaching the spinal cord.
Continuation of the spinal cord
Many cranial nerves enter and leave the brain through the Medulla.
Centers for cough, gag, swallow, and vomit.
Illustration of the Medulla
The Midbrain is located in the anterior most continuation of the
brain stem that still maintains the tubular structure of the spinal
cord (at the top of the brainstem)
The top portion contains important nuclei for visual and
It is here that these pathways cross so that each half of the brain
controls the opposite side of the body
Deep within the brain stem is the reticular formation within
which lies the basic life support systems
The bottom portion contains nuclei for the cranial nerves that
control eye movement and the lower portion of the brain
The Substania Nigra is found here. It is a large red nucleus
involved in movement
The Pons (meaning "bridge") lies above the medulla, and is so
named because many axons cross sides within this region of the
Assists in Controlling Autonomic Functions
Relays Sensory Information Between the Cerebrum and
Features of the pons are: a) basis pontis, b) middle cerebellar
peduncle, and c) the superior cerebellar peduncle
All are linked to the cerebellum which sits on the posterior side of
the pons. Damage to any of the structures would result in impaired
coordination of movement and/or posture
Two peach-size mounds of folded tissue at the base of the brain
Overlies the pons
The cerebellum ("little brain") has convolutions similar to those
of cerebral cortex, only the folds are much smaller. Like the
cerebrum, the cerebellum has an outer cortex, an inner white
matter, and deep nuclei below the white matter
New skills are learned by trial and error and then coded into the
Coordinates movement of muscles and joints by synthesizing
data from the brain stem, the spinal cord, and another brain areas
such as cerebral cortex
The cerebellum fine tunes our motor activity or movement
The Thalamus is shaped like two footballs; each is located deep
in the hemispheres of the forebrain
A large mass of gray matter deeply situated in the forebrain.
There is one on either side of the midline
It relays to the cerebral cortex information received from diverse
brain regions. Sort of a requisite 'last pit stop' for information
going to cortex
Axons from every sensory system (except olfaction) synapse
here as the last relay site before the information reaches the
Information from all sensory receptors except smell is processed
in the thalamus before being sent to the cerebral cortex
The hypothalamus is a midline, structure, shaped like a funnel
below the thalamus
It connects to the pituitary gland
The hypothalamus has many regulating functions
The autonomic nervous system, emotions and behavior, body
temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep-waking cycles
Controls the release of hormones under its control: growth,
prolactin, thyroid, corticotropin, and gonadotropins
Regulation of sex hormones, blood pressure, body temperature,
water balance, respiration, and food intake, while it also plays a
role in regulating complex moods, such as anger, placidity, and
The Hippocampus is tucked out of sight on the medial side of the
Its shape resembles that of a 'seahorse'
Stores and processes memories
Helps find memories
The hippocampus helps to encode memories, and then helps to
find them when you want to remember something
Main relay station that determines whether a new memory should
go into long-term storage or be deleted after its short-term
usefulness is over
Location- The basal ganglia surrounds the thalamus and is
enclosed by the cerebral cortex and cerebral white matter.
The name includes: caudate, putamen, nucleus accumbens, globus
pallidus, substantia nigra, subthalamic nucleus
Controls voluntary movements and establishing postures.
Controls voluntary limb movement, eye movement, and cognition.
Lesions in specific nuclei tend to produce characteristic deficits. One
well-known disorder is Parkinson's disease, which is the slow and
steady loss of dopaminergic neurons in synapses.
The study of physiology has made possible for
better understanding of human behavior and
function, as well as, the function and behavior of
other species we share our world with.