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44 terms

Brain functions and terms

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Brain
Part of the CNS that analyses, organises and interprets informations. Weights about 1.5kg and is made of billions of neurons
Cerebral Cortex
The convoluted outer layer of the brain's cerebral hemisphere's. Approximately 2-5mm thick that is involved with information-processing activities
Cerebral Hemispheres
The two almost symmetrical hemispheres of the brain that are separated by the longitudinal fissure but connected by the corpus callosum
Longitudinal Fissure
Deep groove running from the front to the back of the brain, separating the two different hemispheres
Corpus Callosum
A mass of nerve fibers which connects the two cerebral hemispheres, enabling the exchange of information and coordination of their activities
Frontal Lobe
Largest and longest lobe in each hemisphere. Located in the upper forward half. Association areas are involved with planning, problem-solving, personality, decision making, controlling emotions and speech production
Primary Motor Cortex
A strip of neural tissue at the rear of the frontal lobe that is specifically involved in controlling voluntary bodily movements through its control of skeletal muscles
Broca's Area
A specialized area of the left frontal lobe that controls muscles involved in the production of speech and supplies this information to appropriate motor cortex areas
Parietal Lobe
Located in the upper back half of the brain. Receives and processes sensory information from the body and skin senses as well as other sensory areas in the brain. Association areas are invovled with spatial reasoning and sensing the position of the body in space.
Primary Somatosensory Cortex
A strip of neural tissue in each parietal lobe that receives and processes sensory information from the skin and body, enabling perception of bodily sensations (touch, pressure, temperature etc.)
Occipital Lobe
Located in the rear most area. Primarily involved in receiving and processing visual information
Primary Visual Cortex
Receives and processes information from the two eyes.
Information from the left visual field is sent to the right half of each eye then processed in the right primary visual cortex
Temporal Lobe
Located in the lower, central area of the brain around the ear. Primarily involved with hearing, but the association area plays an important role in memory and speech comprehension
Primary Auditory Cortex
Receives and processes sounds from each ear
Wernicke's Area
A specialised area in the left temporal lobe which is involved with comprehending the sounds of human speech
Hemispheric Specialisation
The dominance/greater control of certain functions by each of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain
Left Hemispheric Specialisations
Verbal functions (reading, writing and speaking); analytical fucntions; logical reasoning; controlling voluntary movement on the right side of the body; processing sensations recieved from the right side of the body
Right Hemispheric Specialisations
Spatial and visual thinking; appreciation of music and art; creativity; recognising emotions; controlling voluntary movement on the left side of the body; processing sensations recieved from the left side of the body
Brain Stem
An area in the lowest part of the brain where the spinal cord enters the skull
Reticular Formation
Part of the RAS in the brain that runs through the centre of the brain stem and upward therough the midbrain to the forebrain; involved in sleep and arousal
Reticular Activating system
A network of neurons that extends in many different directions from the reticular formation to different parts of the brain and the spinal cord; involved in maintaining and regulating cortical arousal
Thalamus
A brain structure that filters information from the senses and transmits the information to the cerebral cortex; receives inputs from all the major senses (except smell); receives information from the reticular formation about state arousal, therefore influencing wakefulness and level of alterness
Broca's Aphasia
A speech impairment resulting from damage to Broca's area and involving difficulties with speech production
Wernicke's Aphasia
A speech impairment resulting from damage to Wernicke's area and involving difficulties with speech comprehension
Spatial Neglect
Is an attentional disorder in which individuals fail to notice anything either on their left or right side (most commonly due to damage of right parietal lobe)
Split-brain Studies
Surgical cutting of the corpus callosum in order to separate the two cerebral hemispheres
Motion after-effect
The perceptual illusion of movement of a physically stationary visual stimulus following exposure to visual motion; the stationary stimulus appears to move in the opposite direction to the original (physically moving) stimulus
Change Blindness
The difficulty observers have in noticing large changes to visual scenes
Synaesthesia
A perceptual experience in which stimulation of one sense produces additional unusual experiences in another sense
Direct Brain Stimulation
A technique that uses a device that emits a weak/mild elecric current to activate or inhibit the normal actiity of neurons in a specific exposed brain area
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
A direct brain stimulation technique that delivers a magnetic pulse through the skull and temporarily activates or disrupts the activity of neurons in a speceific area of the cerebral cortex
Computerised Axial Tomography (CAT)
A neuroimaging technique that produces a computer-enhanced image of the cross-section of the brain from X-rays taken from different angles. Used to study brain structure
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A neuroimaging technique that uses magnetic fields to vibrate atoms in the brain's neurons to produce a detailed image of the brain. Used to study brian structure
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
A neuroimaging technique that provides computer-generated images by tracking blood flow through glucose use by active neurons. Used to study brain function
functional MRI (fMRI)
A neuroimaging technique that provides computer-generated images by detecting changes in oxygen levels in the blood flowing through the brain. Used to study brain function
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
A neuroimaging technique that provides computer-generated images by tracking blood flow through glucose use by active neurons. It is like PET but uses a longer lasting radioactive tracer. Used to study brain function and structure
Central Nervous System
A subdivision of the human nervous system comprising the brain and spinal cord. Transmits & receives messages to & from the PNS
Peripheral Nervous System
Consists of all the nervoes, organs, muscles and glands other than the brain and spinal cord. Links the CNS to all other parts of the body
Somatic Nervous System
A subdivision of the peripheral nervous system. Enables voluntary actions to be undertaken due to its control of skeletal muscles
Autonomic Nervous System
A subdivision of the peripheral nervous system. Controls involuntary activity of visceral muscles and internal organs and glands.
Sensory (afferent) neurons
A specialised neuron that detects and sends messages from sense organs and receptro sites towards the CNS (so to higher brain centres via the spinal cord)
Motor (efferent) neurons
A specialised neuron that carries messages away from the CNS towards the muscles, organs and glands. This enables bodily movements and activates internal organs and glandular secretions
Sympathetic Nervous System
A subdivision of the autonomic nervous system that activates nerves, glands and visceral muscles in times of stress or threat (prepares the body for action)
Parasympathetic Nervous System
A subdivision of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body after action and also retains the body functioning at is normal state (homeostasis)