Level human function o different parts of the brain

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level human function o Different parts of the brain work together – brain is more like a network Most basic parts of the brain that are necessary for survival & that we share most in common w/ other vertebrate species are the lower parts of the brain closer to the spinal cord or brainstem (lizard brain) o Associated w/ basic physiological functions - breathing, waking, eating, heart beating, sleeping Brain stem is a smaller part of the brain as you go from older evolutionary animals to animals that evolved recently o Older evolutionary animals include shark, fish, lizards o Animals that evolved more recently include horse, humans, primates As humans have evolved, the brain has gotten bigger & surface of brain has more folds to increase surface area o Surface area is really important for computing power of the brain During prenatal development, fetus mainly only has a brain steam at the beginning of pregnancy o Cerebrum gets bigger and has more folds as the fetus develops Growth in volume and growth in SA of cerebrum is what makes us distinctly human o It makes adults different from children & makes children different from fetuses Limbic system – center of the brain that is associated w/ emotions and drives (dog brain) o Involved in memory, response to feelings, maintaining body temperature or homeostasis Charles Whitman – 1966 UT tower shooter, left suicide note saying there was something wrong w/ his brain o Found that there was a small tumor near amygdala o Amygdala – associated w/ emotions and feeling of survival such as fear and rage Studied often in association w/ anxiety disorders like PTSD Hypothalamus – master regulator of hormones in the body o Hormones – molecules produced in 1 part of the body and has an effect in another part of the body Chemical messengers that travel throughout the entire body o Testosterone – testosterone levels increase in situations of competition or when taking risks Important for both men and women although men have more testosterone Hypothalamus sends the signal to the body that it’s time to up-regulate testosterone o Cortisol – stress hormone, primes your body to respond to stress and to threats Part of the sympathetic nervous system that produces an arousal response o Hypothalamus is partly responsible for switching from parasympathetic to sympathetic nervous systems
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Hippocampus – important to formation of new memories o Involved in transfer of things from short term memory to long term memory Damage to hippocampus may not affect memories like how to play an instrument o Hippocampus is still developing in early childhood – first memory typically occur around 3-4 years old You can’t transfer memories from short term memory to long term memory before age 3 or 4 Memories become distributed throughout the brain – memories are tremendously resistant to being lost o Even if you lose some of the neurons, you can still retain the memory since it is robust o Brain damage alone cannot really account for the amnesia that is depicted in movies and television
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