Associate Level Material
Brain Response of Behavior
Note: Parts II and III follow below, complete all three.
Write a 350- to 700-word response to the following: Explain the communication process of neurons in the brain. List some common neurotransmitters and describe their effect on behavior.
The brain can contain as many as 100 billion neurons. These neurons specialize in transferring information within the brain which is quite remarkable. Every neuron has its own nucleus, cytoplasm and cell membrane. These neurons carry information throughout the brain, turning on and off to aid in all kinds of different functions within the brain. Neurons communicate by turning on and off with little electric impulses within the brain. Basically, they sit idle waiting for activation or wait for a message. When idle, they sit there, temporarily cut off from anywhere else in the brain. As soon as a message comes across to that point in the brain, they rejuvenate and jump into action, ready to relay the message and create the proper functions within the brain. These neurons aid in everything from memory to voluntary movement, to learning and emotions. Once the neuron is activated, or fired, it travels through the brain, and can only travel when activated, otherwise it sits in the off state. When it is fired, it can travel up to 400 feet per second. When it reaches its destination inside the brain, there is a release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. Once the neurotransmitters are released, they have to then carry the message from what is called the terminal button to a place called the dendrite. The distance between these two areas is known as the synaptic cleft. A cool feature is that neurotransmitters cannot just cross the synaptic cleft, they have to be received and accepted. At the end of the journey, the receptors at the end of the line accept the neurotransmitters like a lock in key, making sure the right message is being relayed. Our brains are truly amazing, what we have come to know as simply thinking is something so much more. There are chemical reactions going on inside of our brains constantly every day, all day long. They don’t just fire neurons all over the place either, it is a well-organized and highly efficient cell structure and everything is perfect in every way. It is pretty amazing how our minds work and how neurons are fired and come together in the way that they do.
Write a 350- to 700-word response identifying the major regions of the brain and what functions of behavior the systems of each region control.
How our bodies operate is an amazing and wonderful symphony of perfectly timed and executed procedures. Our brain rests at the center of this system, controlling and regulating everything. There are many parts and functions of the brain these major portions of the brain are the central core, the cerebral cortex and the limbic system. The central core is at the point where the spinal cord enters the skull, it becomes the hindbrain. The part of the hindbrain nearest the spinal cord is the medulla, this controls breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Near by the medulla lies the pons, which produces chemicals that help maintain our sleep-wake cycles. Both the medulla and the pons transmit info to the upper quadrants of the brain. The top of the hindbrain is what is called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is known to control our sense of balance and coordinating the body’s actions to ensure that movement goes together efficiently and without flaw. Recently the cerebellum has been found to be involved in emotional control, attention, memory, and coordinating sensory information. Right above the hindbrain is the midbrain which houses the thalamus. The thalamus is described as a relay station because almost all sensory information passes through it from lower levels to higher levels of the brain. Directly below the thalamus is