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Biological Bases
of Behavior
The Biology Behind the
Psychology
• “Everything Psychological is ultimately
Biological.”
– What does this say to you?
Neurons: building blocks
of the Nervous System
Neural Communication
• Action potential: a neural impulse
• Threshold: minimum intensity needed to fire impulse
• Neuron firings are all-or-none responses
• Synapse: gap between neurons (also called a synaptic gap
or cleft)
• Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers that bind to
receptor sites on receiving neuron
• Reuptake: sending neuron reabsorbs excess
neurotransmitters
Types of Neurons
• Sensory Neurons (afferent) ~ 2 million
– Sends messages from sense organs  brain
• Motor Neurons (efferent) ~ 2-3 million
– Sends messages from brain  muscles, organs, glands
• Interneurons ~ Billions & Billions
– Relay messages between sensory & motor neurons
• Glial cells – “The forgotten cell”
– Glue cells which help connections, insulate, and clean up
Influence of
Neurotransmitters
• Each neurotransmitter has a specific effect on behavior & emotions
• Acetylcholine: muscle action, learning, memory
• Dopamine: movement, learning, attention, emotion
• Serotonin: mood, hunger, sleep, arousal
• Norepinephrine: alertness, arousal
• GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid): inhibitory neurotransmitter
• Glutamate: excitatory neurotransmitter, memory
• Find a condition or disease associated with the blockage or increase
in one of these neurotransmitters.
Drugs &
Neurotransmitters
• Endorphins: natural “opiates” released in response
to pain or vigorous exercise
• Why not flood the brain with artificial opiates??
– Brain will stop producing natural ones
– Withdrawal symptoms
• Drugs affect communication at the synapse
– Agonist Molecule: excites, mimics neurotransmitter
– Antagonist Molecule: inhibits, blocks neurotransmitter
Neuron FAQ’s
• 100 Billion neurons in the human body
–It would take you 3,171 years to count all the
neurons (1 per second)
• 4-100 Microns wide (1 micron=1/1000th of a
millimeter)
• Your neurons are for life! You will have less and
less as you get older
Central Nervous
System
Brain & Spinal
Cord
Peripheral
Nervous System
Somatic
(Skeletal)
Autonomic
(Internal Organs)
Sympathetic
(Arousing)
Parasympathetic
(Calming)
(Links CNS with
muscles, glands,
sense receptors)
The Nervous System
• Nerves: neural cables
containing many axon
Neuron to
neuron
communication
Endocrine System
• Slower than nervous system
• Uses hormones (another chemical messenger) to
communicate
• Flow from tissues through bloodstream to other
tissues
• Adrenal glands: above kidneys; secrete hormones
to arouse body during stress
• Pituitary glands: controlled by hypothalamus,
regulates growth and controls endocrine glands
The Brain
How does our brain produce behavior and
mental processes?
Studying the Brain
• Electroencephalogram (EEG)
– Measures brains electrical waves by attaching
electrodes to the scalp
• Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan)
– Injection of radioactive glucose (brain sugar) to
detect where fuel goes under different situations
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
– Magnet aligns spinning atoms of brain to show
tissue and brain anatomy
• Functioning MRI (fMRI)
– Shows brain function & bloodflow
Functions of the brain
• It receives information from, and controls the activities
of trunk and limbs mainly through its connections with
the spinal cord.
• It receives the information from, and controls the
activities of head and neck structures though cranial
nerves
• It assimilates experiences, a requisite to higher mental
processes such as memory, learning and intelligence
• It is also responsible for one’s personality, thoughts and
aspirations.
Right vs. Left Brain
• We only use 10% of our brain
• Your brain does not grow new cells
• Some people are right-brained,
others left-brained
• Brain damage cannot be repaired

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What is Digital Literacy? A guest blog from Andy McLaughlin, University of Ab...
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1. Biology_&_Behavior.ppt

  • 2. The Biology Behind the Psychology • “Everything Psychological is ultimately Biological.” – What does this say to you?
  • 3. Neurons: building blocks of the Nervous System
  • 4. Neural Communication • Action potential: a neural impulse • Threshold: minimum intensity needed to fire impulse • Neuron firings are all-or-none responses • Synapse: gap between neurons (also called a synaptic gap or cleft) • Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers that bind to receptor sites on receiving neuron • Reuptake: sending neuron reabsorbs excess neurotransmitters
  • 5. Types of Neurons • Sensory Neurons (afferent) ~ 2 million – Sends messages from sense organs  brain • Motor Neurons (efferent) ~ 2-3 million – Sends messages from brain  muscles, organs, glands • Interneurons ~ Billions & Billions – Relay messages between sensory & motor neurons • Glial cells – “The forgotten cell” – Glue cells which help connections, insulate, and clean up
  • 6. Influence of Neurotransmitters • Each neurotransmitter has a specific effect on behavior & emotions • Acetylcholine: muscle action, learning, memory • Dopamine: movement, learning, attention, emotion • Serotonin: mood, hunger, sleep, arousal • Norepinephrine: alertness, arousal • GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid): inhibitory neurotransmitter • Glutamate: excitatory neurotransmitter, memory • Find a condition or disease associated with the blockage or increase in one of these neurotransmitters.
  • 7. Drugs & Neurotransmitters • Endorphins: natural “opiates” released in response to pain or vigorous exercise • Why not flood the brain with artificial opiates?? – Brain will stop producing natural ones – Withdrawal symptoms • Drugs affect communication at the synapse – Agonist Molecule: excites, mimics neurotransmitter – Antagonist Molecule: inhibits, blocks neurotransmitter
  • 8. Neuron FAQ’s • 100 Billion neurons in the human body –It would take you 3,171 years to count all the neurons (1 per second) • 4-100 Microns wide (1 micron=1/1000th of a millimeter) • Your neurons are for life! You will have less and less as you get older
  • 9. Central Nervous System Brain & Spinal Cord Peripheral Nervous System Somatic (Skeletal) Autonomic (Internal Organs) Sympathetic (Arousing) Parasympathetic (Calming) (Links CNS with muscles, glands, sense receptors) The Nervous System • Nerves: neural cables containing many axon Neuron to neuron communication
  • 10. Endocrine System • Slower than nervous system • Uses hormones (another chemical messenger) to communicate • Flow from tissues through bloodstream to other tissues • Adrenal glands: above kidneys; secrete hormones to arouse body during stress • Pituitary glands: controlled by hypothalamus, regulates growth and controls endocrine glands
  • 11. The Brain How does our brain produce behavior and mental processes?
  • 12. Studying the Brain • Electroencephalogram (EEG) – Measures brains electrical waves by attaching electrodes to the scalp • Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan) – Injection of radioactive glucose (brain sugar) to detect where fuel goes under different situations • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – Magnet aligns spinning atoms of brain to show tissue and brain anatomy • Functioning MRI (fMRI) – Shows brain function & bloodflow
  • 13. Functions of the brain • It receives information from, and controls the activities of trunk and limbs mainly through its connections with the spinal cord. • It receives the information from, and controls the activities of head and neck structures though cranial nerves • It assimilates experiences, a requisite to higher mental processes such as memory, learning and intelligence • It is also responsible for one’s personality, thoughts and aspirations.
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  • 15. Right vs. Left Brain
  • 16. • We only use 10% of our brain • Your brain does not grow new cells • Some people are right-brained, others left-brained • Brain damage cannot be repaired