Learning Objectives

Describe the structures and role of the “old brain” and its affect on behaviour.Explain the framework of the cerebral cortex (its hemispheres and lobes) and also the role of each area of the cortex.Define the ideas of mind plasticity, neurogenesis, and mind lateralization.

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If you were someone who understood brain anatomy and also were to look at the mind of an pet that you had actually never seen before, you would certainly nevertheless have the ability to deduce the most likely capacities that the animal. This is because the brain of all pets are very similar in as whole form. In each animal the mind is layered, and the simple structures of the brain are similar (see figure 4.5, “The major Structures in the human being Brain”). The innermost frameworks of the mind — the parts nearest the spinal cord — space the oldest component of the brain, and also these areas carry out the same attributes they did because that our far-off ancestors. The “old brain” regulates an easy survival functions, such as breathing, moving, resting, and also feeding, and also creates our experiences of emotion. Mammals, including humans, have occurred further brain layers that provide more advanced functions — because that instance, much better memory, much more sophisticated social interactions, and the capability to experience emotions. Humans have actually a very large and highly occurred outer layer recognized as the cerebral cortex (see figure 4.6, “Cerebral Cortex”), which renders us an especially adept at this processes.

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Figure 4.5 The significant Structures in the human being Brain.

Figure 4.6 Cerebral Cortex. Humans have a very large and highly developed outer mind layer recognized as the cerebral cortex. The cortex provides humans with great memory, superior cognitive skills, and also the capability to experience facility emotions.

The Old Brain: Wired for Survival

The mind stem is the oldest and innermost an ar of the brain. It’s designed to control the most an easy functions of life, consisting of breathing, attention, and also motor responses (Figure 4.7, “The brain Stem and the Thalamus”). The brain stem begins where the spinal cord start the skull and forms the medulla, the area of the mind stem that controls heart rate and breathing. In many situations the medulla alone is adequate to maintain life — animals that have the remainder of their brains over the medulla severed are still able to eat, breathe, and even move. The spherical shape above the medulla is the pons, a structure in the mind stem that helps manage the movements of the body, playing a specifically important role in balance and also walking.

Running through the medulla and also the pons is a long, narrow network the neurons recognized as the reticular formation. The task of the reticular development is come filter out some of the stimuli that space coming into the mind from the spinal cord and also to relay the remainder that the signals to other locations of the brain. The reticular formation also plays important roles in walking, eating, sex-related activity, and also sleeping. When electrical stimulation is used to the reticular formation of one animal, it automatically becomes fully awake, and when the reticular development is severed indigenous the higher brain regions, the animal falls into a deep coma.

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Figure 4.7 The mind Stem and also the Thalamus. The mind stem is an extension of the spinal cord, consisting of the medulla, the pons, the thalamus, and also the reticular formation.

Above the mind stem are various other parts of the old brain that additionally are involved in the processing of behaviour and emotions (see number 4.8, “The Limbic System”). The thalamus is the egg-shaped structure above the mind stem that uses still more filtering to the sensory information that is coming up from the spinal cord and through the reticular formation, and also it relays several of these remaining signals come the higher mind levels (Sherman & Guillery, 2006). The thalamus likewise receives few of the higher brain’s replies, forwarding them to the medulla and the cerebellum. The thalamus is likewise important in sleep because it shuts turn off incoming signals from the senses, allowing us come rest.

Figure 4.8 The Limbic System. This diagram shows the major parts that the limbic system, and the pituitary gland, i beg your pardon is regulated by it.

The cerebellum (literally, “little brain”) consists of two wrinkled ovals behind the mind stem. It features to coordinate voluntary movement. Civilization who have damage to the cerebellum have difficulty walking, maintaining their balance, and holding your hands steady. Spend alcohol impacts the cerebellum, which is why people who room drunk have actually more an obstacle walking in a right line. Also, the cerebellum contributes to emotionally responses, helps us discriminate in between different sounds and also textures, and is essential in finding out (Bower & Parsons, 2003).

Whereas the primary role of the brain stem is to manage the most basic aspects the life, including motor functions, the limbic system is largely responsible for memory and also emotions, including our responses to reward and also punishment. The limbic system is a brain area, located between the mind stem and also the two cerebral hemispheres, the governs emotion and memory. It has the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus.

The amygdala consists of two “almond-shaped” clusters (amygdala originates from the Latin word for “almond”) and is mostly responsible for regulating ours perceptions of, and reactions to, aggression and also fear. The amygdala has connections to various other bodily systems related to fear, including the sympathetic nervous device (which we will see later is vital in fear responses), facial responses (which perceive and also express emotions), the processing of smells, and the relax of neurotransmitters concerned stress and aggression (Best, 2009). In one early on study, Klüver and also Bucy (1939) damaged the amygdala that an aggressive rhesus monkey. They found that the when angry pet immediately came to be passive and no longer responded to fearful instances with aggressive behaviour. Electrical stimulation the the amygdala in other animals likewise influences aggression. In addition to help us experience fear, the amygdala additionally helps us learn from instances that develop fear. When we experience occasions that space dangerous, the amygdala stimulates the mind to psychic the details of the instance so the we find out to stop it later on (Sigurdsson, Doyère, Cain, & LeDoux, 2007).

Located just under the thalamus (hence the name), the hypothalamus is a brain structure that includes a variety of small areas that carry out a range of functions, consisting of the regulation the hunger and also sexual behaviour, and linking the nervous device to the endocrine device via the pituitary gland. with its plenty of interactions with various other parts the the brain, the hypothalamus helps regulate body temperature, hunger, thirst, and also sex, and responds to the satisfaction of these demands by creating feelings of pleasure. Olds and also Milner (1954) discovered these reward centres accidentally after ~ they had momentarily stimulated the hypothalamus the a rat. The researchers noticed the after being stimulated, the rat ongoing to move to the exact spot in the cage where the stimulation had occurred, as if it to be trying come re-create the circumstances bordering its original experience. Upon more research into these price centres, Olds (1958) discovered that pets would do virtually anything to re-create enjoyable stimulation, including crossing a ache electrified network to receive it. In one experiment a rat was offered the opportunity to electrically stimulate its very own hypothalamus by pressing a pedal. The rat took pleasure in the experience so lot that it pressed the pedal an ext than 7,000 times every hour until it collapsed from sheer exhaustion.

The hippocampus consists of two “horns” that curve back from the amygdala. The hippocampus is necessary in storing information in permanent memory. If the hippocampus is damaged, a human cannot build brand-new memories, living instead in a strange human being where every little thing he or she experiences simply fades away, also while larger memories from the time before the damage are untouched.

The Cerebral Cortex create Consciousness and Thinking

All animals have adjusted to their settings by occurring abilities that help them survive. Some pets have hard shells, others run extremely fast, and some have actually acute hearing. Humans do no have any type of of these particular characteristics, yet we do have actually one huge advantage over other pets — we space very, an extremely smart.

You can think that we should be able to determine the intelligence of an pet by looking at the proportion of the animal’s mind weight come the weight of its entire body. However this does no really work. The elephant’s mind is one-thousandth that its weight, but the whale’s mind is only one ten-thousandth that its human body weight. On the various other hand, return the human brain is one-sixtieth that its human body weight, the mouse’s mind represents one-fortieth that its body weight. Regardless of these comparisons, elephants execute not it seems to be ~ 10 times smarter than whales, and also humans absolutely seem smarter than mice.

The vital to the advanced intelligence of humans is not uncovered in the size of our brains. What sets people apart from other animals is our bigger cerebral cortex the external bark-like great of our brain that permits us to so effectively use language, acquire complex skills, create tools, and live in society groups (Gibson, 2002). In humans, the cerebral cortex is wrinkled and also folded, quite than smooth as it is in most other animals. This create a much greater surface area and also size, and enables increased capacities for learning, remembering, and thinking. The urgently of the cerebral cortex is referred to as corticalization.

Although the cortex is only about one-tenth that an customs thick, it renders up much more than 80% that the brain’s weight. The cortex contains around 20 billion nerve cells and 300 sunshine synaptic connections (de Courten-Myers, 1999). Supporting every these neurons space billions more glial cells (glia), cells that surround and also link to the neurons, protecting them, providing them with nutrients, and taking in unused neurotransmitters. The glia come in different forms and also have various functions. For instance, the myelin sheath bordering the axon of countless neurons is a type of glial cell. The glia are essential partners of neurons, there is no which the neurons could not endure or role (Miller, 2005).

The cerebral cortex is separated into two hemispheres, and also each hemisphere is separated into four lobes, each separated through folds well-known as fissures. If us look at the cortex starting at the former of the mind and relocating over the top (see number 4.9, “The 2 Hemispheres”), we see very first the frontal lobe (behind the forehead), which is responsible generally for thinking, planning, memory, and also judgment. Complying with the frontal lobe is the parietal lobe, i beg your pardon extends from the middle to the earlier of the skull and which is responsible mainly for processing information about touch. Then comes the occipital lobe at the really back the the skull, which procedures visual information. Finally, in front of the occipital lobe (pretty much between the ears) is the temporal lobe, responsible mostly for hearing and also language.

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Figure 4.9 The 2 Hemispheres. The mind is divided into 2 hemispheres (left and also right), each of i beg your pardon has 4 lobes (temporal, frontal, occipital, and also parietal). Furthermore, over there are certain cortical areas that manage different processes.

Functions that the Cortex

When the German physicists Gustav Fritsch and also Eduard Hitzig (1870/2009) applied mild electrical stimulation to various parts the a dog’s cortex, they found that they might make different parts of the dog’s human body move. Furthermore, they discovered vital and unexpected principle of mind activity. They found that stimulating the appropriate side that the mind produced motion in the left side of the dog’s body, and also vice versa. This finding complies with from a general principle about how the mind is structured, called contralateral control, meaning the mind is wired such that in most cases the left hemisphere receives sensations from and controls the ideal side the the body, and also vice versa.

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Figure 4.10 The Sensory Cortex and also the engine Cortex. The portion of the sensory and also motor cortex committed to receiving messages that control specific regions of the human body is determined by the lot of fine movement that area is capable of performing. For this reason the hand and fingers have as lot area in the cerebral cortex as does the whole trunk that the body.

Fritsch and Hitzig additionally found the the movement that adhered to the mind stimulation only arisen when they stimulated a certain arch-shaped an ar that runs throughout the top of the brain from ear come ear, just at the former of the parietal lobe (see figure 4.10, “The Sensory Cortex and also the motor Cortex”). Fritsch and Hitzig had uncovered the motor cortex, the part of the cortex the controls and executes motions of the human body by sending signals come the cerebellum and also the spinal cord. More recent research has actually mapped the engine cortex even an ext fully, by offering mild digital stimulation to different locations of the motor cortex in completely conscious patients while observing their bodily responses (because the mind has no sensory receptors, these patients feeling no pain). Together you have the right to see in figure 4.10, “The Sensory Cortex and the motor Cortex,” this research has actually revealed that the engine cortex is devoted for providing regulate over the body, in the sense that the parts of the body the require an ext precise and also finer movements, such together the face and also the hands, also are allotted the best amount that cortical space.

Just together the engine cortex sends out out message to the specific parts that the body, the somatosensory cortex, an area simply behind and also parallel come the engine cortex at the back of the frontal lobe, receives information from the skin’s sensory receptors and the movements of different body parts. Again, the an ext sensitive the body region, the more area is specialized to the in the sensory cortex. Our sensitive lips, because that example, accounting a huge area in the sensory cortex, as carry out our fingers and genitals.

Other locations of the cortex process other species of sensory information. The visual cortex is the area located in the occipital lobe (at the really back the the brain) that processes visual information. If friend were created in the intuitive cortex, you would see flashes of irradiate or colour, and also perhaps girlfriend remember having had the experience of “seeing stars” when you to be hit in, or dropped on, the back of her head. The temporal lobe, located on the reduced side of every hemisphere, has the auditory cortex, which is responsible because that hearing and also language. The temporal lobe additionally processes some visual information, giving us with the capability to name the objects approximately us (Martin, 2007).

The motor and sensory areas of the cortex account because that a relatively small component of the complete cortex. The remainder the the cortex is comprised of association areas in i m sorry sensory and also motor info is merged and linked with our stored knowledge. These association locations are the locations in the brain that room responsible for many of the points that make humans seem human. The association areas are connected in higher mental functions, such as learning, thinking, planning, judging, ethical reflecting, figuring, and also spatial reasoning.

The brain Is Flexible: Neuroplasticity

The regulate of some specific bodily functions, such together movement, vision, and also hearing, is perform in specified locations of the cortex, and if these areas are damaged, the individual will most likely lose the capability to do the matching function. Because that instance, if an infant suffers damage to face recognition areas in the temporal lobe, that is likely that he or she will never have the ability to recognize deals with (Farah, Rabinowitz, Quinn, & Liu, 2000). On the other hand, the brain is not divided up in an totally rigid way. The brain’s neurons have a remarkable capacity come reorganize and also extend us to carry out details functions in solution to the demands of the organism and also to fix damage. Together a result, the mind constantly creates new neural interaction routes and also rewires present ones. Neuroplasticity refers come the brain’s capacity to change its structure and role in an answer to suffer or damage. Neuroplasticity allows us to learn and also remember brand-new things and readjust to new experiences.

Our brains space the many “plastic” as soon as we are young children, as it is throughout this time that we discover the most about our environment. On the other hand, neuroplasticity continues to be observed even in adult (Kolb & Fantie, 1989). The ethics of neuroplasticity help us understand how our brains develop to reflect our experiences. Because that instance, completed musicians have actually a bigger auditory cortex compared with the general populace (Bengtsson et al., 2005) and also require much less neural activity to relocate their fingers over the secrets than carry out novices (Münte, Altenmüller, & Jäncke, 2002). These observations reflect the changes in the mind that monitor our experiences.

Plasticity is also observed as soon as there is damage to the brain or to components of the body the are represented in the motor and also sensory cortexes. Once a tumour in the left hemisphere that the brain impairs language, the ideal hemisphere will start to compensate to assist the human being recover the capacity to speak (Thiel et al., 2006). And if a human being loses a finger, the area the the sensory cortex that formerly received details from the missing finger will start to get input from surrounding fingers, causing the staying digits to become more sensitive come touch (Fox, 1984).

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Although neurons can not repair or regenerate themselves as skin or blood ship can, new evidence says that the mind can communicate in neurogenesis, the creating of new neurons (Van Praag, Zhao, Gage, & Gazzaniga, 2004). These new neurons originate deep in the brain and might then migrate to other mind areas, where they type new relations with other neurons (Gould, 2007). This leaves open up the possibility that someday researchers might be able to “rebuild” damaged brains by producing drugs that aid grow neurons.