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Summary physiology of behaviour

- Neil R Carlson, et al
ISBN-13 1-292-15810-7
48 Flashcards & Notes
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A snapshot of the summary - physiology of behaviour Author: Neil R Carlson and Melissa A Birkett ISBN: 1-292-15810-7

  • 1 Introduction

  • What is the function of neurons inside the brain?
    Throughout a lifetime, the adult brain forms connections between the cells and the brain. These connections are called neurons.
  • 1.1 Foundations of Behavioral Neuroscience

  • What is the primary function the nervous system performs?
    Control of movement also called behaviour.
  • 1.1.1 The Goals of Research

  • Which two forms of scientific explanation of the studied phenomena are there?
    1. Generalisation refers to explanations as examples of general laws, which are revealed through experiments. 
    2. Reduction refers to explanations of complex phenomena in terms of simpler ones. 
  • Why is it not enough for behavioural neuroscientist to observe behaviours and correlate them with physiological events that occur at the same time?
    They must also understand the function of a given behaviour, since behaviours can occur for different reasons.
  • 1.1.2 Biological Roots of Behavioural Neuroscience

  • What was Descartes' point of view on the roles of the mind and brain in the control of behaviour in the 17th century?
    Descartes stated that humans, just like animals, were mechanical devices, since the behaviour would be controlled by environmental stimuli. He noticed reflexes, automatic and involuntary movements of the body, supporting his statement. Descartes was a dualist, he was the first to suggest that a link exists between the human mind and its physical housing, the brain.
  • What did the German physiologist Müller find out with his study on the doctrine of specific nerve energies in the 19th century?
    He observed that although all nerves carry the same basic message (an electrical impulse), we perceive the message of different nerves in different ways. This is because messages occur in different channels and reach different parts of the brain.
  • How did the method, researching different parts of the brain, performed Flourens in the 19th century, function?
    This method was called experimental ablation. Flourens removed various parts of animals' brains and observed their behaviour. Based on that, he could infer the function of the missing portion of the brain.
  • How did psychologists find out about Broca's area and what is its function?
    Broca observed the behaviour of people whose brains had been damaged by strokes. This led him to conclude that a portion of the cerebral cortex on the front part of the left side of the brain performs functions that are necessary for speech.
  • 1.2.1 Functionalism and the Inheritance of Traits

  • What was Darwin's theory that led to functionalism about?
    Darwin emphasized that all of an organism's characteristics have functional significance. The structure of the brain that causes the behaviour to occur is what is inherited. Functionalism is a belief that the characteristics of living organisms perform useful functions.
  • What is the role natural selection in the evolution of behavioural traits?
    Natural selection is the process responsible for the evolution of structures with specific functions. It is a process in which a population of a species adapts to changes in the environment (survival of the fittest).
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