Psy-240 Week 2 Assignment

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Inside the womb we start out as an egg, but one of the first major structures that begin to form is the brain. The brain itself is a complex structure that leaves much to be learned from it. It controls a person’s entire body function and movements whether it be walking, talking, or even going to the bathroom. What most people do not know is that there are five major structures of the brain. The first of the five is the myelencephalon ( the Medulla). The Myelencephalon (or medulla) is the posterior portion of the brain stem. Not surprisingly then, the medulla is composed largely of tracts carrying signals between the rest of the brain and the body. An interesting part of the myelencephalon from a psychological perspective is the reticular formation. It is a complex network of about 100 tiny nuclei that occupies the central core of the brain stem from the posterior boundary of the myelencephalon to the anterior boundary of the midbrain. It is so named because of its netlike appearance (reticulum means "little net"). Sometimes the reticular formation is referred to as the reticular activating system because parts of it seem to play a role in arousal. The various nuclei of the reticular formation are involved in a variety of functions, however — including sleep, attention (definitely important for language), movement, the maintenance of muscle tone, and various cardiac, circulatory, and respiratory reflexes. Accordingly, referring to this collection of nuclei as a system can be misleading. Generally, the myelencephalon does not play an important role in language production or comprehension.

The second major structure is known as the metencephalon. The Metencephalon houses many ascending and descending tracts and part of the reticular formation. These structures create a bulge, called the pons, on the brain stem's ventral surface. The pons ("bridge" in Latin) is the bridge to the cerebellum. It has many millions of neural fibers which cross the base of the brain...
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