Chapter 1:Origins of Behavioral Neuroscience Learning Objectives: 1.Describe the behavior of people with split brains and explain what study of this phenomenon contributes to our understanding of self-awareness 2.Describe the goals of scientific research 3.Describe the biological roots of behavioral neuroscience 4.Describe the role of natural selection in the evolution of behavioral traits 5.Describe the evolution of the human species 6.Discuss the value of research on animals and ethical issues concerning their care
The Brain"If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldnt.” -- Lyall WatsonThe Colbert Report, Febuary 8, 2007 ◦ Stephen Colbert: “How does the brain work? Five words or less.” ◦ Steven Pinker: “Brain cells fire in patterns.”
Behavioral NeuroscienceUnderstanding consciousness through physiological processesConsciousness ◦ Awareness of one’s own thoughts, perceptions, memories and feelings ◦ Ability to communicate this awareness Necessary?
Split BrainCorpus Callosum ◦ Large bundle of fibers that connects contra- lateral brain regionsSplit brain operation ◦ Surgically severing the corpus callosum
Split BrainCerebral hemispheres operate independently after the split brain operation
Nature of Behavioral NeuroscienceCombination of the experimental methods of psychology and physiology used to address questions of interest to all psychologists.
Goals of ResearchIdentify explanations for behavior ◦ Generalization ◦ Reduction
Roots of Behavioral NeuroscienceModel ◦ Mathematical or physical analogy for a physiological processDescartes’ Theory: fluid movementLuigi Galvani: electrical stimulationJohannes Müller: experimental techniques ◦ Doctrine of specific nerve energies
Roots of Behavioral NeuroscienceDoctrine of specific nerve energies: ◦ Sensory information must be specified by the particular nerve fibers that are active because all nerve fibers carry and electrical impulse.Experimental Ablation ◦ Function of a part of the brain is inferred by observing changes and deficits in after that part of the brain is damaged
Natural Selection and EvolutionNatural selection ◦ Not survival of the fittest ◦ Inherited traits provide a selective advantage and therefore become more prevalent Selective advantage: increase an organism’s likelihood to live and reproduceMutation ◦ Change in genetic information which can be passed on to offspring ◦ Results in genetic variability
FunctionalismFunctionalism ◦ The principle that the best way to understand a biological phenomenon (a behavior or a physiological process) is to try to understand its useful functions for the organism.Does this characteristic provide a selective advantage?
Evolution of Large BrainsNeoteny: slowing of the process of maturation, allowing more time for growthBrain continues to grow after birth ◦ Full size not reached until late adolescence
Research with AnimalsUsing one species to benefit another ◦ Must be humane and worthwhileStrictly regulated ◦ Review boards ◦ Ethical StandardsTreating research animals poorly, is bad science