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(Solved) PSY 847 Biological Psychology Lecture 2 Neurons and the Nervous System Introduction Knowing how neurons and the nervous system function provides a...

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Please help me with this assignment. Please ensure there are at least 4 sentences in a paragraph and always cite the resources (preferably within the past 5 years). I have included some References that you could possibly use.

***Special instructions: A substantive post should be 150-250 words long, include a scholarly reference that is not from the assigned readings to this course (You can have references from course material in addition to another scholarly source, just not instead of one). Direct quotes are not counted towards the required word count, and should be avoided in all of your writings. Substantive posts must contribute meaningfully to the discussion.


 1a What is the most significant difference between the roles of the peripheral and central nervous systems in shaping behavior? 1b Why?

2 a The peripheral and central nervous system pathways interact and integrate their functions to create a response to a stimulus. To what extent can the central nervous system be trained to alter the autonomic response? 2b Is further alteration of the autonomic response improbable or undesirable? 2c Why do you believe this is the limit?

3a When describing your dissertation, it is helpful to have a concise “elevator speech” ready about your topic in about 200 words or less. What is your topic, what is the gap it will fill and how will you go about it? [No reference is needed for this DQ]

  My topic is: What are Teachers' Perceptions of Inclusion Related to Special Education Students with Emotional Disabilities?


Hinnant, J. B., Forman-Alberti, A. B., Freedman, A., Byrnes, L., & Degnan, K. A. (2016). Approach behavior and sympathetic nervous system reactivity predict substance use in young adults. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 10535-38. doi:10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2016.04.013

Kalat, J. W. (2016). Biological psychology (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Baarendse, P. J., Winstanley, C. A., & Vanderschuren, L. J. (2013). Simultaneous blockade of dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake promotes disadvantageous decision making in a rat gambling task. Psychopharmacology, 225(3), 719-731. doi:10.1007/s00213-012-2857-z

Matic, A. I. (2014). Introduction to the Nervous System, Part 2: The Autonomic Nervous System and the Central Nervous System. AMWA Journal: American Medical Writers Association Journal, 29(2), 51-55.

PSY 847 Biological Psychology
Lecture 2
Neurons and the Nervous System
Knowing how neurons and the nervous system function provides a context from which to
understand how the brain controls human actions. This information will allow for further
examination regarding how the brain controls important day-to-day actions such as learning,
thinking, sensation, and perception. These functions are important in the everyday lives of
individuals, and they are of critical importance to educators and clinicians. Further, the ability to
explore how changes in neurons brought about by short-term or chronic chemical or physical
damage affect the ability of the brain to properly sustain itself is of particular interest to
Neurotransmitters: The Chemical Messengers
When an electrical signal reaches the end of an axon, this causes the release of neurotransmitters
from their storage locations at the synapse. This changes the messenger from electrical to
chemical and is a critical part of neuron function. Neurotransmitters, therefore, are the chemical
messengers through which neurons communicate with each other. In fact, it is during the
chemical message process that most medications and drugs have their effects (Kandel, Schwartz,
& Jessell, 2000).
The neurotransmitters carry their chemical message across the synaptic cleft to a neighboring
neuron. When the neurotransmitters are released, they reach the adjacent neuron within a few
nanoseconds (Foord et al., 2005). There they adhere to, or bind with, specific sites called
receptors. This receptor-binding activity causes the signaled neuron to activate. The chemical
signal is quickly converted to an electrical signal and flows down this next neuron to the next
group of synapses, where the neurotransmission process occurs again.
For the brain to function properly, neurons must correctly send these chemical messages to one
another. Many things are required for this communication to happen properly, including accurate
genetic development, appropriate developmental environment, proper nutrition, lack of
interfering toxic chemicals, and other factors. While many factors are long-term, some have an
immediate effect.
Different Neurotransmitters Means Different Messages
There are several different neurotransmitters. They all function similarly, but reside in different
neurons. For many years, it was believed that there could be only one neurotransmitter for one
neuron, but this has been proven not to be the case (Kandel et al., 2000). Because different
neurotransmitters send different messages, some neurotransmitters increase while others
decrease the firing rates (the number of action potentials) of neighboring neurons.
Neurotransmitters that increase, or speed up, firing rates are called excitatory neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters that decrease, or slow down, the firing rates of neighboring neurons are called
inhibitory neurotransmitters (Kandel et al.).
Different neurotransmitters reside in different neurons and in different parts of the brain to carry
out or coordinate different functions and actions. For example, to communicate with one another,
neurons in the reward pathways use the powerful excitatory neurotransmitter, dopamine. When
neurons fire and release dopamine in the reward pathways, feelings of euphoria and pleasure
result (Pierce & Kumaresan, 2006). It should be immediately clear, then, that anything that
increases the effects of dopamine will increase feelings of pleasure.
Key neurotransmitters include serotonin and the endogenous opiates. Serotonin is a
neurotransmitter that helps to regulate moods and to control emotions (Young & Leyton, 2002).
Serotonin plays an important role in many psychological problems, such as anxiety, depression,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and overeating. The endogenous opiates are naturally occurring
morphine-like molecules used by the brain to regulate responses to both pain and pleasure.
A vital inhibitory neurotransmitter is called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). As an inhibitory
neurotransmitter, GABA opens ion channels that allow negative ions into the neuron, making it
less likely to fire and inhibiting not only the brain's ability to process information, but also its
ability to function normally (Kandel et al., 2000).
Glutamate is an important excitatory neurotransmitter that tends to be located throughout the
brain and, unlike most other neurotransmitters, appears to have more global effects (Kandel et
al., 2000). Like GABA, glutamate controls ion channels in the membrane bilayer. However,
whereas GABA controls the flow of negatively charged ions into the neuron, glutamate controls
the flow of positively charged ions. This influx of positively charged ions excites the neuron,
making it more likely to fire.
When a neuron fires, it releases neurotransmitters into the synapse. These neurotransmitters bind
to receptors on neighboring neurons and, in doing so, transmit important signals that tell the
neurons to increase or decrease their activities. Once the message is delivered, the
neurotransmitters are released from their receptors.
These neurotransmitter molecules must now be quickly cleared out of the synapse, or they will
continue to bind to receptors over and over. This will disrupt the neurons' signaling process and
prevent the brain from functioning normally. One of the ways the brain clears neurotransmitters
from the synapse is through a process called reuptake (Horschitz, Hummerich, & Schloss, 2001).
During reuptake, the neurotransmitter molecules are recycled and taken back up into the firing
neuron, where they can be made ready to be used again. The other typical way the brain recycles
neurotransmitters is to break them down into smaller molecules so they can be moved away from
the synapse.
Thus, by using a complex system of neurons, neurotransmitters, and ions, the brain is able to
control every aspect of behavior, from the most basic functions to the most complex aspects of
cognition. The Influence of Drugs on Neurons and Behavior
The normal communication processes in the brain use small electrical currents to carry messages.
Scientists have found that they can artificially stimulate the nucleus accumbens by using a tiny
electrode carrying a small electrical current. Stimulating this area of the brain feels so good to an
animal that it will work to the point of exhaustion, and sometimes even death, to get this
stimulation (Wise, 1996, 2002).
Although we cannot look inside the mind of an animal to see why it will work to get drugs, in
many ways the behavior seems to speak for itself. It appears that other animals, just like humans,
will not keep doing something they do not enjoy. However, once an animal has learned that
behaving in a certain way, such as pressing a lever to receive an injection of cocaine, many of
them will not only repeat that behavior, they will do it as often as possible (Bozarth, 1985).
Once a drug reaches the brain, it interacts with specific sites on neurons. These interactions are
possible because drugs of abuse are masters at the art of deception. They have the ability to
imitate the naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain. In doing so, they deceive neurons
into believing that correct neurotransmitter messages are being sent, when in fact this is not the
case. This causes malfunctions in the normal communication process of the brain.
Different groups of drugs mimic different neurotransmitters. Ecstasy mimics the neurotransmitter
serotonin, which is important in controlling mood state and other mental-health related
behaviors. Drugs like cocaine, amphetamine, and similar substances work directly to enhance the
effects of dopamine in the reward pathways. As a result, these drugs are powerful substances that
can create rapid and intense feelings of pleasure.
Observing the effect of barbiturate and tranquilizer drugs on GABA channels, it is easy to
understand the connection between neurons transmitting fewer messages and a brain that is slow
and out of sync. But what is not as obvious is how GABA influences the initial high an
individual feels when first taking these drugs.
Effects such as these are caused by changing the functioning of neurotransmitters, receptors, and
ion channels. Changing the functioning of reuptake sites at the synapses of neurons can create
similar effects. Blocking reuptake forces the neurotransmitter to stay out in the synaptic cleft,
allowing additional messages to be sent to neighboring neurons. For the receiving neuron, being
bombarded by all of these extra messages is like having the volume on the radio turned too high.
The response of the neuron to all these extra messages is to "turn the volume down" by reducing
the number of receptors for the neurotransmitter. This is a common process called down
regulation (Kandel et al., 2000). Down regulation is one way the brain maintains a normal level
of activity.
The Brain Is Highly Organized
Different brain areas control a wide range of feelings and behaviors, including pleasure, memory,
balance, coordination, and decision making. It is easy to understand the functions of various
parts of the brain since they are generally arranged from lower functions (such as breathing and
sleeping) in the brain stem to higher functions (such as learning and cognition) that are
controlled by parts of the brain located in physically higher locations. Moving then, from lower to higher, the reticular activating system (RAS) is a significant part of
the brain stem. This area controls the overall level of physical and psychological arousal and is
involved in basic functions, including breathing and sleeping. Damage to the RAS is most often
Located in the stem of the brain, the locus ceruleus controls the ability to track and focus on
moving objects. Because alcohol affects the locus ceruleus in a way that disrupts the ability to
track objects, as part of a field sobriety test, police officers ask someone to follow an object from
side to side (Al-Sanouri, Dikin, & Soubani, 2005). This lack of tracking ability is called
nystagmus. Clearly, nystagmus and driving can be a lethal combination.
The cerebellum, located just above the brain stem, controls motor coordination. Much of the
cerebellum is made up of Purkinje cells. Well-coordinated signaling involving many thousands
of Purkinje cells finely controls muscle movements and balance (Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick,
Hall, LaMantia, McNamara, & White, 2008). The cerebellum is easily affected by alcohol,
resulting in a loss of balance and coordination.
The limbic system includes the hippocampus, which is the primary part of the brain involved in
learning and memory (Kandel et al., 2000). It is interesting to note that the limbic system also
controls many emotions, including fear and anger. In this way, some of the most primordial
actions are closely linked to memories. This is one reason why it takes a great deal of effort to
unlearn the effects of negative memories. Individuals who suffer damage to the hippocampus
have problems learning and remembering new information (Morris, Garrud, Rawlins, &
O'Keefe, 1982).
Finally, the highest area of the brain is the cerebral cortex. This brain region is most developed in
humans compared to other animal species, with the exception of dolphins, who also have a very
highly developed cerebral cortex (Butti, Sherwood, Hakeem, Allman, & Hof, 2009). The cerebral
cortex is responsible for the highest integrating levels of brain function, including judgment and
decision making.
The ability of the brain to act as a coordinated organ is based on the integrated actions of billions
of neurons. The chemical means by which they intercommunicate is critical to proper brain
function and is the part of neuronal communication most affected by drugs. Because of this, an
understanding of the various neurotransmitters, their functions, and how they are affected by
various drugs and medications is crucial in the clinical process. This is evidenced in cases of
addiction, where virtually all drugs of abuse affect levels of dopamine in the reward pathways.
Understanding that addiction and other mental health problems are brain-based disorders with a
biochemical basis is critical to making responsible treatment decisions. At a more abstract level,
if there is any brain region that governs the ability to recognize the existence of an individual, it
is the cerebral cortex. Injuries to this area, while often not affecting the ability to live, do have
debilitating effects on thinking and personality. The person may be alive, but he or she may no
longer be clear who it is that is alive.
References Al-Sanouri, I., Dikin, M., & Soubani, A. O. (2005). Critical care aspects of alcohol abuse.
Southern Medical Journal, 98(3), 372-381.
Bozarth, M. A. (1985). Toxicity associated with long-term intravenous heroin and cocaine selfadministration in the rat. Journal of the American Medical Association, 254(1), 81-83.
Butti, C., Sherwood, C. C., Hakeem, A. Y., Allman, J. M., & Hof, P.R. (2009). Total number and
volume of von Economo neurons in the cerebral cortex of cetaceans. The Journal of
Comparative Neurology, 515(2), 243-259.
Foord, S. M., Bonner, T. I., Neubig, R. R., Rosser, E. M., Pin, J. P., Davenport, A. P., . . . Harmar,
A. J. (2005). International union of pharmacology. XLVI. G protein-coupled receptor list.
Pharmacological Reviews, 57(2), 279-288.
Horschitz, S, Hummerich, R., & Schloss, P. (2001). Structure, function and regulation of the 5hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) transporter. Biochemical Society Transactions, 29(6), 728-732.
Kandel, E. R., Schwartz, J., H., & Jessell, T. M. (2000). Principles of neural science (4th ed.).
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Morris, R. G. M., Garrud, P., Rawlins, J. N. P., & O'Keefe, J. (1982). Place navigation impaired
in rats with hippocampal lesions. Nature, 297(5868), 681-683.
Pierce, R. C., & Kumaresan, V. (2006). The mesolimbic dopamine system: The final common
pathway for the reinforcing effect of drugs of abuse? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews,
30, 215-238.
Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., Hall, W. C., LaMantia, A.-S., McNamara, J. O., &
White, L. E. (2008). Neuroscience (4th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.
Wise, R. A. (1996). Addictive drugs and brain stimulation reward. Annual Reviews, 19, 319-340.
Wise, R. A. (2002). Brain reward circuitry: Insights from unsensed incentives. Neuron, 36, 229340.
Young, S. N., & Leyton, M. (2002). The role of serotonin in human mood and social interaction:
Insight from altered tryptophan levels. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 71(4), 857-865.


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