How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

173 terms

physiological psychology

ETS
STUDY
PLAY
Franz Gall
1758-1828; one of the earliest theories that behavior, intellect, and personality are linked to brain anatomy

developed the doctrine of phrenology; believed that if a particular trait were well developed, the part of the brain responsible for that trait would expand eventually leading the skull to expand in that area (shown false)
Pierre Flourens
used Gall's doctrine of phrenology; first person to study the functions of the major sections of the brain; used extirpation with pigeons; showed the brain had specific parts for specific functions, and the removal of one part weakens the entire brain
extirpation
aka ablation; used by Flourens; various parts of the brain are removed, and the behavioral consequences are observed
William James
1842-1910; studied how the mind functioned in adapting to the environment; his view among the first that formed functionalism
functionalism
system of thought concerned with studying how mental processes help individuals adapt to their environments
John Dewey
1859-1952; important in functionalism; criticized the concept of the reflex arc, believing that psych should focus on the study of the organism as a whole as it functioned to adapt to the environment
Paul Broca
examined behavioral deficits of people with brain damage; first to demonstrate that specific functional impairments could be linked with specific brain lesions
Broca's area
specific area on the left side of the brain for most people; speech production; usually found in only one hemisphere, the dominant hemisphere
Phineas Gage
changes in personality after injury to prefrontal cortex
Johannes Muller
identified law of specific nerve energies
law of specific nerve energies
Muller; each sensory nerve is excited by only one kind of energy, and the brain interprets stimulation of that nerve as being that kind of energy

sensation depends more on the part of the brain that the nerves stimulate than on the particular stimulus that activates tehm
Hermann von Helmholtz
first to measure the speed of a nerve impulse; often credited with the transition of psychology into the field of the natural sciences
Sir Charles Sherrington
first inferred the existence of synapses; thought that synaptic transmission was an electrical process (really primarily a chemical process)
sensory neurons
aka afferent neurons; transmit sensory information from receptors to the spinal cord and the brain
motor neurons
aka efferent neurons; transmit motor information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles
interneurons
found between other neurons; most numerous type of neuron; located mostly in brain and spinal cord and linked to reflexive behavior; involved in reflexes
reflexive behavior
controlled by neural circuits called reflex arcs
reflex arc
sensory neurons signal information to spinal cord, where sensory neurons connect with interneurons that relay impulses up to the brain

with reflexes, interneurons immediately transfer information received from sensory neurons through impulses when the impulses arrive at the spinal cord; by the time the sensory information reaches the brain, the muscles have already responded to the pain
central nervous system
brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system
nerve tissue and fibers outside the brain and spinal cord; connects the CNS to the rest of the body

subdivided into somatic and autonomic nervous systems
somatic nervous system
sensory and motor neurons distributed throughout skin and muscles; sensory neurons transmit info through afferent fibers and motor impulses through efferent fibers
autonomic nervous system
Walter Cannon (developed conceptualization of homeostasis); regulates heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and glandular secretions (i.e., manages involuntary muscles associated with internal organs and glands); regulates body temp; these functions are independent of conscious control

2 subdivisions: sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, which often act in opposition to one another
sympathetic nervous system
subdivision of ANS; accelerates heartbeat and inhibits digestion; activated in stressful situations; "fight or flight" responses; when activated, body mobilizes for fighting or fleeing, with increases in heart rate, blood-sugar, and respiration; causes pupils to dilate; neurotransmitter adrenaline is released into bloodstream; maximize energy for quick responses in threatening situations
parasympathetic nervous system
subdivision of ANS; decelerates heartbeat and increases digestion; main role is to conserve energy, promoting "resting and digesting"
acetylcholine
neurotransmitter responsible for parasympathetic responses in body
subdivisions of brain
hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain
hindbrain
located where the brain meets the spinal cord; primary functions are balance, motor coordination, breathing, digestion, and general arousal processes such as sleeping and waking

contains medulla oblongata, pons, cerebellum
midbrain
just above hindbrain; manages sensorimotor reflexes that promote survival; receives sensory and motor information; associated with involuntary reflex responses triggered by visual or auditory stimuli
forebrain
above midbrain; associated with complex perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral processes; emotion and memory; greatest influence on human behavior; intellectual and emotional capacities
brainstem
hindbrain and midbrain; first to develop
limbic system
brain region that evolved after brainstem; group of neural structures primarily associated with emotion and memory; aggression, fear, pleasure, pain
cerebral cortex
most recent evolutionary development of human brain; outer covering of cerebral hemispheres; associated with language processing, problem solving, impulse control, long-term planning, etc
phelogeny
evolutionary development in humans (know this!)
medulla oblongata
located in hindbrain; lower brain structure responsible for regulating vital functions of breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure
pons
located in hindbrain above medulla oblongata; contains sensory and motor tracts between the cortex and the medulla
cerebellum
top of hindbrain; comes out of pons; structure that helps maintain posture and balance and coordinates body movements; alcohol impairs functioning of cerebellum

responsible for maintaining a limb, or other body parts, in a steady, nonrelaxed position; controls the ballistic movements of speaking, writing, playing an instrument, and performing athletic skills
reticular formation
extends from the hindbrain into the midbrain; composed of an intricate network of nerve fibers; primarily regulates arousal and alertness; associated with Arousal, Alertness, and Attention

reticular activating system is thought to be the central coordinating point for information in the nervous system
colliculi
prominent nuclei in the midbrain; superior colliculus (receives visual information) and inferior colliculus (receives auditory information)
forebrain
above midbrain; divided into two cerebral hemispheres
thalamus
structure within forebrain that serves as a relay station for incoming sensory information (except smell); transmits information to the appropriate areas of the cerebral cortex
hypothalamus
serves homeostatic functions; emotional experience during high arousal states, aggressive and sexual behavior; helps control some endocrine functions and the ANS; osmoregulation; important in drive behaviors (drive reduction theory)

subdivided into lateral, ventromedial, and anterior hypothalamus

Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, sexual Functioning
osmoregulation
maintenance of water balance in the body; performed by osmoreceptors in the hypothalamus
lateral hypothalamus
hunger center in hypothalamus; has special receptors thought to detect when body needs more food or fluids; plays a role in rage and fighting behaviors
aphagia
disorder when lateral hypothalamus is destroyed; Lacking Hunger
ventromedial hypothalamus
"satiety center" in hypothalamus; tells when you've had enough to eat; brain lesions in this area usually lead to obesity; hyperphasia (excessive eating)
hyperphasia
excessive eating; ventromedial hypothalamus; Very Hungry
anterior hypothalamus
sexual activity; damage is related to asexual behavior
basal ganglia
coordinates muscle movement; receives info from the cortex and relays it to the brain and spinal cord via the extrapyramidal motor system; involved with postures and movements of the body as a whole

Parkinson's; schizophrenia
extrapyramidal motor system
movement and posture; gets info and relays to brain and spinal cord
Parkinson's disease
jerky movements and uncontrollable tremors; related to basal ganglia
ventricles
fluid-filled cavities in brain that link with the spinal canal in the spinal cord; in schizophrenia, abnormally large ventricles relate to catatonia, social withdrawal, flat affect
cerebrospinal fluid
fills ventricles and spinal cord
limbic system
group of interconnected structures in central part of brain, including part of hypothalamus and cortex; emotion and memory; second major area of brain to evolve

septum, amygdala, hippocampus
septum
pleasure center; James Olds and Peter Milner showed that stimulation of the septal area results in sexual arousal and pleasure, even preferable to eating; inhibits aggression
septal rage
damage to septal area leads to aggressive behavior
amygdala
defensive and aggressive behavior; lesions result in docility and hypersexual states; Heinrick Kluver and Paul Bucy: linked amygdala with aggressive and defensive behaviors in monkeys; Kluver-Bucy syndrome
hippocampus
learning and memory; lesions produce anterograde amnesia (loss of memory for anything new); H.M.'s was removed to control for epileptic seizures; Brenda Milner
retrograde amnesia
memory loss of events that transpired before brain lesion
cerebral cortex
or neocortex; most recent part of brain to evolve; convolutions are bumps and folds on cortex; divided into four lobes: occipital, parietal, temporal, frontal
cerebral hemispheres
two halves of surface of cerebral cortex
frontal lobe
formed of prefrontal lobes and motor cortex;
prefrontal cortex
executive function; direct operation of other brain regions; supervises processes associated with perception, memory, emotion, impulse control, long-term planning; association area
association area
area that combines input from diverse brain regions; larger than projection area in humans
projection area
receives incoming sensory information and sends out motor-impulse commands; visual cortex; motor cortex
prefrontal lobotomies
disconnect of frontal lobe with limbic system and hypothalamus; used in 50s to treat schizophrenia
motor cortex
initiates voluntary motor movements by sending neural impulses down spinal cord to muscles; projection area
parietal lobe
somatosensory cortex; projection area; sensory signals for touch, pressure, temperature, pain; closely related to motor cortex (sensorimotor cortex); spatial processing and manipulation
occipital lobe
rear of brain; visual cortex (or striate cortex); David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel; some learning and motor control
temporal lobe
auditory cortex; Wernike's area (language reception and comprehension); memory processing, emotional control, language
contralateral
one side of brain communicates with opposite side of body
ipsilateral
hemisphere of brain communicates with same side of body; smell
dominant hemisphere
opposite to hand used for writing; left for most; primarily analytic in function; language, logic, and math skills; Broca's area (language production) and Wernicke's area (language comprehension) are located in dominant hemisphere
nondominant hemisphere
right for most; interprets emotional tone of incoming language; creativity, musical and spatial processing
corpus callosum
collection of fibers connecting left and right hemispheres; Sperry and Gazzaniga; split brain procedure; hemispheres cannot communicate
soma
cell body of neuron; neural conduction within neuron is an electrical process; transmission between neurons is chemical
dendrites
branch out from soma to receive information from other neurons via postsynaptic receptors; not myelinated; can change throughout lifetime; receptors of information
neurotransmitter
chemical substance released from terminal button
glial cell
nonneural cells that insulate axons in myelin sheath
resting potential
slight electrical charge stored inside neuron's cell membrane
cell membrane
thin layer of fatty molecules that separates the inside of the neuron from the outside; membrane potential; semipermeable: barrier that allows some substances (smaller ions) to pass through and blocks others (large charged ions); at resting stage,net negative charge inside neuron and positive outside
firing of neuron
4 stages: resting potential, depolarization, action potential spike, and hyperpolarization
depolarization
second stage in action potential; stimulus is significant enough to cause membrane's potential to increase to threshold potential; firing of the neuron
action potential spike
rapid electrical pulse that occurs when cell membrane's charge becomes positive in depolarization; cell membrane is repolarized
hyperpolarization
membrane becomes more polarized; cell membrane is resistant to inflow of positively charged ions; internal voltage gradually returns to original resting potential
refractory period
interval between trigger of action potential and completion of firing cycle; 2 stages: absolute refractory (corresponding to depolarization) and relative refractory (corresponding to repolarization)
all-or-nothing law
governs action potential; when depolarization reaches the critical threshold, the neuron fires every time; once the action potential begins, its voltage peaks at the same intensity regardless of the intensity of the stimulation
axon hillock
elevation on neuron where axon meets soma; action potential originates here; graded potential in cell body is converted into all-or-nothing potential of axon
myelin
insulates axon and speeds up conduction; saltatory conduction: efficient conduction along myelinated axon
nodes of Ranvier
gaps along myelin sheath; depolarization occurs at nodes; action potential skips from one node to the next, generating the action potential at each node
terminal buttons
ends of each axon; the action potential triggers the release of neurotransmitters here into the synapse; positioned close to the dendrite of another axon
synapse
or synaptic cleft; space between terminal button and dendrite of adjacent neuron

when an action potential release neurotransmitters here, they either 1) attach themselves to the receptor sites on the postsynaptic membrane, 2) remain in the synapse, or 3) are drawn back into the vesicles of the terminal buttons via reuptake
presynaptic membrane
membrane of terminal button that faces the synapse; vesicles in here store neurotransmitters
postsynaptic membrane
membrane of dendrite of adjacent neuron; receptors are here
binding
process of neurotransmitter binding itself to receptor site; need right neurotransmitter key for receptor site
postsynaptic potential
electrical charge generated when neurotransmitter binds to receptor site on dendrite, either making the neuron more likely to fire (excitatory postsynaptic potential; EPSP) or less likely to fire (inhibitory postsynaptic potential; IPSP)
graded potentials
postsynaptic potentials in dendrites; voltage varies in intensity; no all-or-nothing law; voltage depends on how much the receptor sites are stimulated by neurotransmitters; the more transmitters that bind to the receptor sites, the stronger the postsynaptic potential; in contrast to action potentials, their voltage decreases as they spread out from the original site of stimulation
Eric Kandel
studied neural networks in aplysia; showed habituation; changes in synpatic transmission underlie changes in behavior
acetylcholine
neurotransmitter found in central and peripheral nervous systems; linked to Alzheimer's in CNS
Alzheimer's
loss of acetylcholine in neurons that connect with the hippocampus
catecholamines
epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine; these are also classified as monoamines, or biogenic amines; all play important roles in emotion
norepinephrine
aka noradrenaline; alertness and wakefulness; implicated in depression (too little) and mania (too much)
dopamine
movement and posture; high concentrations in basal ganglia
dopamine hypothesis
schizophrenia; imbalances in dopamine; delusions, hallucinations, and agitation arise from too much dopamine or oversensitivity to dopamine

amphetamines produce excessive dopamine activity that can result in amphetamine psychosis

phenothiazines reduce sensitivity of dopamine receptors; effective as antipsychotics

Parkinson's: thought to be loss of dopamine-sensitive neurons in basal ganglia; people with schizophrenia tend to show side effects resembling motor disturbances of Parkinson's disease; tardive dyskinesia
L-dopa
synthetic substance that increases dopamine levels in the brain; motor disturbances in Parkinson's disease can be treated with this; can lead to oversupply of dopamine and produce psychotic symptoms
serotonin
monoamine, or biogenic amines; helps regulate mood, eating, sleeping, arousal; involved with depression (too little) and mania (too much)

SSRIs, such as prozac, help with depression
monoamine theory of depression
oversupplies of norepinephrine or serotonin lead to mania and undersupplies to depression
GABA
gamma-amino butyric acid; neurotransmitter that produces inhibitory postsynaptic potentials; important in stabilizing neural activity in the brain; causes hyperpolarization in postsynaptic membrane

anxiety disorders
peptides
two or more amino acids joined together; also involved in neurotransmission; endorphins are peptides
neuromodulators
aka neuropeptides; more complicated chain of events in postsynaptic cell than regular neurotransmitters; relatively slow, with longer effects on postsynaptic cell than neurotransmitters
endorphins
natural painkillers produced in brain; peptides; endorphins and enkephalins are similar in structure to morphine and other opiates
psychopharmacology
science of how drugs affect behavior; psychoactive drugs produce main effects by modifying neurotransmission
sedative-hypnotic drugs
depressants; act to slow the functioning of the CNS; low doses reduce anxiety, medium doses produce sedation, and high doses induce anesthesia or coma

synergistic: additive in effect; when taken together, combined effect is greater than either alone (alcohol with barbiturates)

benzodiazepines and barbiturates
benzodiazepines
sedative-hypnotic; facilitate and enhance GABA, which stabilizes brain activity; tranquilizers often used to reduce anxiety; valium
barbiturates
sedative-hypnotic; facilitate and enhance GABA, which stabilizes brain activity; tranquilizers often used as sedatives
alcohol
sedative-hypnotic; abuse can result in memory disturbances; Korsakoff's syndrome: more serious disturbances in memory, including anterograde amnesia; result of vitamin deficiency of B1 (thiamin), arising from malnutrition that often occurs in chronic alcoholics
behavioral stimulants
class of drugs that increase behavioral activity by increasing motor activity or counteracting fatigue

amphetamines, antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, methylphenidate (Ritalin)
amphetamines
speed up CNS to mimic action of sympathetic nervous system; stimulate receptors for dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin
antidepressants
clinical depression; elevate mood, increasing overall activity and appetite, and improve sleep patterns; tricyclics and monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors
tricyclic antidepressants
facilitate transmission of norepinephrine or serotonin at the synapse; block reuptake of monoamines
MAO inhibitors
inhibit action of MAO enzyme, which normally breaks down and deactivates norepinephrine and serotonin in the synapse; increase supply of norepinephrine and serotonin
SSRIs
inhibit reuptake of serotonin to increase supply in the synapse; Prozac
methylphenidate
Ritalin; amphetamine used to treat ADD; increases alertness and decreases motor activity in hyperactive children
antipsychotic drugs
thorazine, chlorpromazine, phrnothiazine, haloperidol (Haldol); effective in treating delusions, hallucinations, and agitation associated with schizophrenia; most are thought to block receptor sites for dopamine
lithium carbonate
prescribed to treat bipolar disorder; effective mood stabilizer, eliminating 70-90 percent of symptoms associated with bipolar disorder; prevents mood swans and controls acute manic symptoms
narcotics
opium, heroin, morphine; effective pain-reliving drugs; narcotics tend to bind directly to opiate receptors in the brain, which normally respond to endorphins; these drugs alleviate pain by mimicking effects of endorphins
psychedelics
mixed class of drugs that alter sensory perception and cognitive processes; cannibis, mescaline, psilocybin
endocrine system
internal communication network in the body (besides the nervous system); uses hormones as chemical messages; involved in slow and continuous bodily processes, like body growth; also produces adrenaline to act quickly in life-threatening situations; regulates sexual arousal
pituitary gland
base of brain; divided into anterior and posterior
anterior pituitary
releases hormones that regulate activities of endocrine glands; controlled by hypothalamus; these hormones play a role in initiating, maintaining, and halting development of primary and secondary sex characteristics
androgens
hormones needed for male development during critical stages of fetal development; including testosterone
androgen-insensitivity syndrome
female pattern of development as result of failure of Y chromosome in males to produce androgens, including testosterone
gonadoptropic hormones
aka gonadotropins; produced and released by pituitary gland during puberty; activate an increase in production of hormones by testes or ovaries; for males, the hormones stimulate testes to produce sperm and a surge in testosterone levels; for females, they stimulate ovaries to secrete estrogen which accelerates development of female genitalia and has a role in menstrual cycle
female reproductive cycle
pituitary gland secretes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), stimulating growth of ovarian follicle; luteinizing hormone (LH) involves release of egg from one of the ovaries; during this, ovaries secrete estrogen and progesterone; if ovum is not fertilized, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease, and menstruation begins
estrogen
increasing levels during reproductive cycle are associated with maturation and release of the egg or ovum from the ovary
progesterone
during reproductive cycle, progesterone prepares the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg
neuropsychology
study of functions and behaviors associated with specific regions of the brain; in research settings, researchers attempt to associate specific areas to behavior and in clinical settings, where people are treated for brain lesions
ablation
or extirpation; surgically induced brain lesion; lesions can also be produced by inserting electrodes inside the brain and selectively applying heat, cold, or electricity to specific regions
stereotaxic instrument
device used to brain areas when electrodes are implanted to make lesions or stimulate nerve cell activity
Walter Penfield
first to use method involving electrically stimulating and recording brain activity
single-cell recording
studies of individual neurons being recorded; Hubel and Wiesel work on individual brain cells in visual cortex of cats; recording is for monitoring ongoing activity, where stimulation is for new activity
electroencephalograph
noninvasive; electrodes on surface of head detect patterns of electrical activity and record them to produce an EEG; sleep research relies on this

4 characteristic EEG patterns: beta, alpha, theta, delta waves; REM sleep is when we have most of our dreams; these sleep stages form a complete cycle of 90 minutes
regional cerebral blood flow (rCBP)
noninvasive; detects broad patterns of neural activity based on increased blood flow to different parts of the brain; blood flow to a region increases when the specific area is activated
CAT scan
device used to reveal structures of the brain of a living person
A.R. Luria
Russian neurologist; study of neuropsychological disorders
aphasias
language disorders; associated with Broca's and Wernicke's areas
Broca's aphasia
lesions to Broca's area; language production
Wernicke's aphasia
damage to Wernicke's area; understanding spoken language
anterograde amnesia
damage to hippocampus; disturbance in memory for events after brain injury; H.M.
agnosia
"not knowing"; perceptual recognition; in visual agnosia, impairment in visual recognition; a person can see an object and not recognize what it is; visual perception is registered in projection area of visual cortex, and recognition is processed in nearby association areas; so damage to coritcal area results in visual agnosia, impairing ability to recognize visual objects without interfering with ability to see
apraxia
"inability to act"; impairment in organization of motor action; inability to execute a simple motor response to a verbal command; problems with step-by-step sequence entailed in everyday acts

projection areas in motor cortex, which send impulses down to the muscle, remain relatively intact; problem comes from damage to nearby association areas that organize simple motor movements into predictable voluntary acts
dementias
neurological disorders characterized by loss in intellectual functioning; Alzheimer's; Huntington's and Parkinson's show symptoms of dementia; motor symptoms in Huntington's and Parkinson's are quite severe
reticular formation
neural structure in brainstem; keeps cortex awake and alert; if damaged, person sleeps most of the day
circadian rhythms
daily cycle of waking and sleeping is regulated by these internally generated rhythms; approximately 24 hours for humans, somewhat affected by external cues of night and day
beta waves
high frequency; occur when person is alert or attending to some mental task that requires concentration; occur when neurons are randomly firing
alpha waves
more synchronized than beta waves; occur when we're awake but relaxing with eyes closed; somewhat slower than beta waves
sleep stage 1
detected on EEG by appearance of sleep spindles (short bursts of alpha waves); slower frequencies and irregular, jagged waveform; size (voltage) of waves begins to increase
sleep stage 2
EEG shows theta waves and becomes progressively slower and "K complexes" occur
sleep state 3
progressively slower EEG activity; only a few sleep waves per second; low frequency, high voltage delta waves
sleep stage 4
deepest sleep state of full sleep cycle; delta waveform reaches slowest rate and sleep spindles are steepest
REM sleep
EEG brain waves look a lot like beta brain waves, less desynchronized; muscle tone remains relaxed; eyes are constantly moving; "paradoxical" sleep; fast but irregular EEG activity; sleep disorders typically occur in non-REM sleep

when people are deprived of REM sleep but are allowed to sleep during all other sleep stages, they tend to become irritable during waking states, report having trouble concentrating
REM rebound
after people who have been deprived of REM sleep are allowed to sleep without being disturbed, they compensate by spending more time than usual in REM sleep
insomnia
disturbance affecting ability to fall asleep and/or stay asleep
narcolepsy
lack of voluntary control over onset of sleep; sudden, brief periods of sleep
sleep apnea
inability to breathe during sleep; people awaken often during the night to breathe
James-Lange theory of emotions
theory of how we experience emotion; argue that we become aware of our emotion after we notice our physiological reactions to an external event; emphasized role of peripheral nervous system
Cannon-Bard theory
objected James-Lange theory; argued that bodily changes and emotional feelings occur simultaneously; gives the brain a more central role in our subjective experience of emotion; emotion precedes behavior
Schacter-Singer theory
two-factor theory of emotion; subjective experience of emotion is based on the interaction between changes in physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation of that arousal; depends on environment and individual's appraisal of the situation

one study showed that subjects who were told to expect arousal did not feel euphoria; those were not told this did experience euphoria; once the physiological arousal was induced by the adrenaline, the subjects would label their emotions based on the information they had available, including past experience and current environmental cues
emotional responses
take place in brain, ANS, muscles and internal organs, and sympathetic nervous system
motor skills
feedback, repetition, and distribution of practice (spaced practice trials) are important in motor skill acquisition
ballistict movements
rapid and automatic after practice
follicle
the part of the ovary where an egg matures
general-adaptation syndrome
three stages the body passes through in its reaction to stress: alarm reaction, resistance, and exhaustion
sodium-potassium pump
actively transports sodium ions out of the cell while drawing potassium ions in