lesson8 - 8 The Developing Brain Key Terms and Concepts o o...

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8 The Developing Brain Key Terms and Concepts o Proliferation o Axon o Migration o Axon collateral o Differentiation o Terminal button o Growth cone o Synapse o Axon guidance o Glial cells o Trophic substances o Astroglia o Nerve growth factor o Radial glia o Neural attrition o Microglia o Myelin o Oligodendroglia o Dendrite o Schwann cells “In order to understand how all the separate processes that make up biological systems are integrated into a living organism . . . we need to understand development.” K.S. Thomson (1983). Reflections on the neural crest. American Scientist, 71 , 72-74. Successful dealings with the environment are crucial to survival and reproductive success. To be successful requires monitoring important features of the environment (such as food, weather, social companions, potential mates, and predators) followed by the performance of appropriate behavior. Although this sounds straightforward, the mechanisms required to accomplish these things can become quite involved. This is where an understanding of nervous systems is so important. The four components of the genetic-evolutionary model (development, mechanisms, adaptation, and evolution) apply as well to nervous systems as they do to any other topic in the biology of behavior. Lesson 8 97
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Development of the Nervous System The development of the nervous system is extremely complex and not fully understood. This is hardly surprising given that nervous systems may contain billions of neurons, most of which communicate with hundreds of others. But it is imperative that we understand neural development. Because of the importance of the nervous system to behavior, we cannot afford to ignore the processes that shape its form and function. The Anatomy of Neurons Let’s make sure we’re on the same page with respect to the most elementary components of the nervous system, the neurons. In the illustration above, the most important features of a “typical” neuron are labeled. The dendrites are usually short branches from the cell body, and they are often specialized for receipt of incoming signals from other neurons. The axon conducts Signals, known as action potentials, away from the cell body toward other cells. Axons typically branch into several or many collaterals , each of which ends in a terminal button . Terminal buttons are placed very close to other neurons, where they release a chemical neurotransmitter that affects the physiology of the other neuron. Terminal buttons, then, are an important component of junctions called synapses . We will use these terms at numerous points in the following lessons. PSYC 373 98
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There are enormous differences among individual neurons in terms of their sizes and shapes, and the branching patterns of their dendrites and axons. The following illustration provides a few examples. First, look at the neuron on the right.
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lesson8 - 8 The Developing Brain Key Terms and Concepts o o...

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