Lecture 4PSYC212 - Lecture 4 The behavioral measurement...

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Lecture 4 The behavioral measurement that we take to be able to quantify the sensory perceptions. Now we cover the physiological basis of perception. We will receive a grade, but it is just for the clicker participation. A lot of the clicker questions will be to help us anticipate the types of question he could ask us. You want to determine what the constitutive elements of the brain are. o The best tool is: The microscope. fMRI is to measure blood flow. It would not help you identify the constitutive elements. Microscope would help see the cells. When we think about the brain, we think of neurons, we want to see the neurons. You have a brand-new Research-grade microscope that can visualize down to a few microns. You cut a thin slice of brain, put it under, what do you see? o Nothing clear. Why would you see nothing? : The amount of light transmitted across the tissue is almost constant. There is no tissue contrast. The reason the bits of blood is because the blood has a lot of iron in it, and that iron blocks the transmission of the light. The launch of neuroscience: the discovery of the Golgi method o Silver staining method allowed for visualization of neurons AND their processes o Golgi method of staining was critical. Results in staining of neurons. It was used to document lots of features of our nervous system. Hard to appreciate the method. You can’t see the constituents of the brain without staining. o You cut your tissue into a few hundred microns thin, and then you float it through several baths, one of them is silver nitrate. Hope that a bit of silver impregnates the cell wall. Through other chemical reactions you reduce a bit of nickel that has gone through the cell walls, and it ends up blackening the entire cell. It is random, it does not stain every neurons. You don’t get too much contrast. There are lots of more cells that the stains just doesn’t get to. Able to see neurons and labelling them and describing the structure of the nervous system. Stains the dendrites and the axons. Depends also on the quality of the tissue. Which of the following are not a part of a neuron? o Cell wall : mammalian cells don’t have cell walls o Synaptic cleft: the gap between dendrites and the axons. It’s an empty space A neuron: In general, a neuron is described by its body, or soma. o Dendrites: processes that collect neural impulses transmitted by neurotransmitters o Axon: wire carrying the neural impulses, most of them are myelinated -> they have this special type of glia that wraps itself very tightly around the axon and it helps expedite the transmission of the action potential down the axon. Axons that have myelin transmit faster and more effectively than axons that don’t. o Axons terminate at the terminals. At the terminals, the action potential translates into neurotransmitters -> chemicals that are transmitted to the next adjacent neuron.
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