Week 1: Biological Perspective of Learning and Behavior


Biological Perspective, Behavioral perspective
Micailah Moore
Mind Map by Micailah Moore, updated more than 1 year ago
Micailah Moore
Created by Micailah Moore about 6 years ago

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Week 1: Biological Perspective of Learning and Behavior
  1. Learning: A biological process whereby a relatively permanent change in behavior occurs as a result of experience.
    1. Behavior: adaptive in a sense that they are the product of our biology and can be shaped by our experience
      1. Biological Perspective: The study of Laarning and Behavior from the perspective of neuroanatomy and physiology.
        1. The Neuron
          1. Types of Neurons
            1. Sensory(or afferent) neurons: send information from sensory receptors (e.g., in skin, eyes, nose, tongue, ears) TOWARD the central nervous system.
              1. Motor (or efferent) neurons: send information AWAY from the central nervous system to muscles or glands
                1. Interneurons: send information between sensory neurons and motor neurons. Most interneurons are located in the central nervous system.
            2. Anatomy of a Neuron:
              1. Axon: Take information away from cell body
                1. Dendrites: Bring information to the cell body
                  1. Nucleus - contains genetic material (chromosomes) including information for cell development and synthesis of proteins necessary for cell maintenance and survival. Covered by a membrane.
                    1. Nucleolus - produces ribosomes necessary for translation of genetic information into proteins
                      1. Nissl Bodies - groups of ribosomes used for protein synthesis.
                        1. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) - system of tubes for transport of materials within cytoplasm. Can have ribosomes (rough ER) or no ribosomes (smooth ER). With ribosomes, the ER is important for protein synthesis.
                          1. Golgi Apparatus - membrane-bound structure important in packaging peptides and proteins (including neurotransmitters) into vesicles
                            1. Microfilaments/Neurotubules - system of transport for materials within a neuron and may be used for structural support.
                              1. Mitochondria - produce energy to fuel cellular activities.
              2. Function of a Neuron
                1. Action Potential
                  1. An action potential occurs when a neuron sends information down an axon, away from the cell body. Neuroscientists use other words, such as a "spike" or an "impulse" for the action potential. The action potential is an explosion of electrical activity that is created by a depolarizing current. This means that some event (a stimulus) causes the resting potential to move toward 0 mV. When the depolarization reaches about -55 mV a neuron will fire an action potential. This is the threshold. If the neuron does not reach this critical threshold level, then no action potential will fire.
                  2. Neurons send messages electrochemically. This means that chemicals cause an electrical signal. Chemicals in the body are "electrically-charged" -- when they have an electrical charge, they are called ions. The important ions in the nervous system are sodium and potassium (both have 1 positive charge, +), calcium (has 2 positive charges, ++) and chloride (has a negative charge, -). There are also some negatively charged protein molecules
                    1. Resting Potential
                      1. When a neuron is not sending a signal, it is "at rest." When a neuron is at rest, the inside of the neuron is negative relative to the outside. Although the concentrations of the different ions attempt to balance out on both sides of the membrane, they cannot because the cell membrane allows only some ions to pass through channels (ion channels). At rest, potassium ions (K+) can cross through the membrane easily. Also at rest, chloride ions (Cl-)and sodium ions (Na+) have a more difficult time crossing. The negatively charged protein molecules (A-) inside the neuron cannot cross the membrane.
                        1. In addition to these selective ion channels, there is a pump that uses energy to move three sodium ions out of the neuron for every two potassium ions it puts in. Finally, when all these forces balance out, and the difference in the voltage between the inside and outside of the neuron is measured, you have the resting potential. At rest, there are relatively more sodium ions outside the neuron and more potassium ions inside that neuron.
                      2. Rate of firing: Also, when the threshold level is reached, an action potential of a fixed sized will always fire...for any given neuron, the size of the action potential is always the same. There are no big or small action potentials in one nerve cell - all action potentials are the same size. Therefore, the neuron either does not reach the threshold or a full action potential is fired - this is the "ALL OR NONE" principle.
                    2. The Brain
                      1. Amygdala: neutral centers in the limbic system linked to emotion
                        1. Hippocampus: a structure in the limbic system linked to memory
                          1. Corpus callosum: axon fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres
                            1. Thalamus: relays messages between lower brain centers and cerebral cortex
                              1. Hypothalamus: controls maintenance functions such as eating; helps govern endocrine system; linked to emotion and reward.
                                1. Pituitary: master endocrine gland
                                  1. Reticular formation: helps control arousal.
                                    1. Medulla: controls heartbeat and breathing.
                                      1. Spinal Cord: Pathway for neural fibers traveling to and from brain; controls simple reflexes.
                                        1. Cerebellum: coordinates voluntary movement and balance.
                                          1. Cerebral cortex: ultimate control and information processing center.
                                          2. The Synaptic Self
                                            1. Joseph LeDoux Is your psychology the product of neural connections? That is, are your experiences and memories just neural connections? If so, does that change our experiences with each other or with God?
                                            2. Evolution
                                              1. Evolution as the mechanism of change in the brain as well as the capacity to learn
                                                1. Learning provide successful foraging and thus, reproductive fitness Remember, this happens at the level of the gene and thus, influences neuroanatomy and physiology
                                                  1. Preparedness/ Contra-preparedness: Classically Conditioned fear of snakes, not bunnies (Mineka, Davidson, Cook, & Keir, 1984)
                                                2. Charles Darwin (1859) – Origin of Species Five Facts and Three Inferences
                                                  1. Fact: Populations grow exponentially
                                                    1. Fact: Populations ultimately stabilize
                                                      1. Fact: Populations live in areas with limited resource
                                                        1. Inference: Competition for limited resources
                                                        2. Fact: Individuals are unique
                                                          1. Fact: Uniqueness is heritable
                                                            1. Inference: Differential survival rates or Natural Selection
                                                              1. Inference: Natural Selection over successive generations results in Evolution

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