BrainNarrative

BrainNarrative - The Brain Podcast Narrative We will begin...

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Page 1 The Brain – Podcast Narrative We will begin our tour of the brain with the parts of the brain that are evolutionarily the oldest. In order to see these parts clearly, we will need to look at a brain that has been dissected in half. Here we have a model of a brain that we can take apart. If this brain were in a person right now, the person would be looking directly at you. We’ll rotate this brain to give you a better idea of its overall appearance. At this point, the person with this brain is turned to his or her left, so you are now seeing the outside of the right half of the brain. Here’s the brain is rotated back to the starting position. The two halves of the brain are separated, and the remaining left half of the brain is rotated so that once again the person whose brain this is would be looking to his or her left. Now you are looking at what is called a medial view of the left half of the brain. The front of the brain is on your right, the back on your left. We now see a real brain. This is the same medial view of the left half of the brain as in the model. The outline shows the parts of the region of the brain that had to be cut to produce this view. That is, the wrinkled areas outside the outlined region are actually the outer surface of the brain. The brain is considered to have three main regions: the hindbrain, the midbrain, and the forebrain. The hindbrain, outlined here, connects to the spinal cord, which is the other major component of the central nervous system besides the brain. The medulla regulates basic life functions such as breathing and heart rate. The pons relays control signals to the muscles of the head, while the cerebellum is involved in the precise aim and timing of movements, as well as in a person’s judgments of the timing of events. The second main region of the brain is the midbrain. As you can see, it is a rather small part of the brain. The midbrain contains, among other things, structures that control reflexive eye movements. By far the largest main division of the brain is the forebrain, outlined here. Before describing the parts within the forebrain, let’s discuss a network of brain cells called the Reticular Activating System that is centered in the midbrain but also extends down into the hindbrain and up into the lower part of the forebrain. The Reticular Activating System regulates the overall level of arousal, or activity, of the rest of the brain, so it is involved in attention and in the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Researchers who have surgically implanted electrodes in a cat’s brain have made an awake cat fall instantly
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2009 for the course PYSCH 101 taught by Professor Kowler during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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BrainNarrative - The Brain Podcast Narrative We will begin...

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