Outline of Chapter 2

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module 5

Neurons: The Basic Elements of Behavior
The Structure of the Neuron How Neurons Fire Where Neurons Connect to One Another: Bridging the Gap Neurotransmitters: Multitalented Chemical Couriers

module 6 module 7
The Brain

The Nervous System and the Endocrine System: Communicating within the Body The Nervous System The Endocrine System: Of Chemicals and Glands

Studying the Brain’s Structure and Functions: Spying on the Brain The Central Core: Our “Old Brain” The Limbic System: Beyond the Central Core The Cerebral Cortex: Our “New Brain” Neuroplasticity and the Brain The Specialization of the Hemispheres: Two Brains or One? Exploring Diversity: Human Diversity and the Brain Try It! Assessing Brain Lateralization The Split Brain: Exploring the Two Hemispheres Becoming an Informed Consumer of Psychology: Learning to Control Your Heart—and Mind—through Biofeedback Psychology on the Web The Case of . . . The Fallen Athlete Full Circle: Neuroscience and Behavior

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The Deepest Cut
Wendy Nissley carried her two-year-old daughter, Lacy, into O.R. 12 at Johns Hopkins Hospital to have half of her brain removed. Lacy suffers from a rare malformation of the brain, known as hemimegalencephaly, in which one hemisphere grows larger than the other. The condition causes seizures, and Lacy was having so many—up to forty in a day—that at an age when other toddlers were trying out sentences, she could produce only a few language-like sounds. As long as Lacy’s malformed right hemisphere was attached to the rest of her brain, it would prevent her left hemisphere from functioning normally. So Lacy’s parents had brought her to Johns Hopkins for a hemispherectomy, which is probably the most radical procedure in neurosurgery. (Kenneally, 2006, p. 36)

neuroscience and behavior
It took nearly a day, but the surgery to remove half of Lacy’s brain was a success. Within a few months, Lacy was crawling and beginning to speak. Although the long-term effects of the radical operation are still unclear, it brought substantial improvement to Lacy’s life. The ability of surgeons to identify and remove damaged portions of the brain is little short of miraculous. The greater miracle, though, is the brain itself. An organ roughly half the size of a loaf of bread, the brain controls our behavior through every waking and sleeping moment. Our movements, thoughts, hopes, aspirations, dreams—our very awareness that we are human—all depend on the brain and the nerves that extend throughout the body, constituting the nervous system. Because of the importance of the nervous system in controlling behavior, and because humans at their most basic level are biological beings, many researchers in psychology and other fields as diverse as computer science, zoology, and medicine have made the biological underpinnings of behavior their specialty. These experts collectively are called neuroscientists (Beatty, 2000; Posner & DiGirolamo, 2000; Gazzaniga, Ivry, & Mangun, 2002; Cartwright, 2006). Psychologists who specialize in considering the ways in which the biological structures and functions of the body affect behavior are known as Behavioral neuroscientists Psychologists who specialize in behavioral neuroscientists (or biopsychologists). They seek to answer sevconsidering the ways in which the eral key questions: How does the brain control the voluntary and involunbiological structures and functions tary functioning of the body? How does the brain communicate with other of the body affect behavior. parts of the body? What is the physical structure of the brain, and how does this structure affect behavior? Are psychological disorders caused by biological factors, and how can such disorders be treated? As you consider the biological processes that we’ll discuss in this chapter, it is important to keep in mind why behavioral neuroscience is an essential part of psychology: our understanding of human behavior requires...
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