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Biology and Behavior

The mind is an amazing thing. Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are in; the olny iprmoetnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.

Charles Darwin

5 year volunteer on HMS Beagle Galapagos Islands: lizards, tortoises and plants evolved and adapted Believed the genesis theory of creation Observations made him second guess Thomas Malthus: Essay on the Principle of population (1798). Mathematics vs geometric

Darwins Anxieties

His theory contradicted the religious view His theory stated humans came from apes His theory could bring scorn on his family He was anxious to avoid prejudice and wanted it published after his death 20 years later he published (1859) because of Alfred Russel Wallace. The Descent of Man (1871) humans are a product of evolution.

Darwins theory of evolution

Struggle for existence over millions of years Some creatures/species have adapted

Chance variations that transmit positive traits are past on. Chance variations that hinder survival are likely to disappear.

Natural Selection Instinct and Extinct

Some Definitions

Natural Selection

A core concept of the theory of evolution that holds that adaptive genetic variations among members of a species enable individuals with those variations to survive and reproduce. As a result, such variations tend to be preserved, whereas nonadaptive variations tend to drop out.


A sudden variation in an inheritable characteristic, as distinguished from a variation that results from generations of gradual selection.

Evolution Psychology

The branch of Psychology that studies the ways in which adaptation and natural selection are connected with mental processes and behavior. Patterns of behavior evolve and are transmitted genetically Aggression, mate selection, altruism


A category of biological classification consisting of related organisms who are capable of interbreeding.


A stereotyped pattern of behavior that is triggered by a particular stimulus and nearly identical among members of a species, even when they are reared in isolation. White Crowned Sparrow, Male Stickleback Fish, Shadow of hawk.


Nature of Nature

Terms for this section

Heredity Genetics Behavioral Genetics Molecular Genetics Gene Chromosome Deoxyribonucleic Acid

Sex Chromosomes (23) Down Syndrome (21) Angelman Syndrome (15) Nature Nurture Monozygotic vs. Dizygotic

Facts on Heredity

Heredity makes behavior possible and places limits on it. (speech) Species specific behavior vs. individual differences Heredity is involved in almost all aspect of human behavior


Genes are the biochemical materials that regulate the development of specific traits. Every cell contains 30,000 to 40,000 genes Genes are segments of chromosomes 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs

The Double Helix

1950s James Watson and Francis Crick Twisting ladder Ladder: Phosphate (p) and Sugar (s) Rungs: adenine (a) with thymine (t) or cytosine (c) with guanine (g) Genetic Code consists of 3 billion DNA sequences. DNA sequence overlaps 99.9% with other humans

Figure 2.2

Figure 2.3 The 23 Pairs of Human Chromosomes. People normally have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Whether one is female or male is determined by the 23rd pair of chromosomes. Females have two X sex chromosomes, whereas males have an X and a Y sex chromosome.


Kinship Studies

Comparing traits and behaviors in people who are biologically related Nature vs. nurture Children and parents have 50% genes in common Ovum Zygote Monozygotic (MZ) vs. Dizygotic (DZ)

The Nervous System

On Being Wired

Neuron **

A nerve cell that can be visualized as having branches, trunks and roots. Neurons receive messages by neurotransmitters Afferent (sensory) and Efferent (motor) Neurons Multiple Sclerosis myelin replaced with hard fibrous tissue

The Nervous System

Neurons: the nerve cells of the body

Cell Body:

contains the nucleus which generates energy

receive incoming messages from adjourning cells (roots). carry messages away from the cell body (trunk).



Figure 2.5

The Neural Impulse

A message traveling along the neuron; between 2 and 225 miles an hour. An Electrochemical Voyage.

Neuron resting potential:

-70 millivolts (negative charge).

action of the cell while it becomes positively charged.


Action potential:

positively charged neuron returning to the resting state of being negatively charged. The message is sent.

Neural Impulses

The electrochemical discharge of a nerve cell, or neuron. Polarize to ready a neuron by creating an internal negative charge in relation to the body fluid outside the cell membrane. All-or-none principle Refractory Period

How the brain fires

Neural impulse The Synaptic Cleft Inner charges causes the next section to become permeable to sodium ions This transmits the firing along the axon Acetylcholine (Ach) controls muscle contractions Curare poison from South American Plant

Key Nuerotransmitters

Dopamine-voluntary movement, learning and memory. (L-dopa) Schizophrenia, Parkinsons Norepinephrine - nuerotransmitter and hormone that speeds up heart rate and arousal. Stimulants (i.e. cocaine, speed) Serotonin - emotional arousal and sleep GABA-inhibitory that helps calm anxiety Endorphins in the brain in bloodstream (morphine)

Parts of the Nervous System


Brain The Spinal Cord The nerves the link to sensory organs, muscles, and glands

The Nervous System

Central Nervous System brain and spinal cord Peripheral part of the nervous system consisting of the somatic nervous system and the autonomic Somatic connect central NS with sensory receptors, skeletal muscles and body surface Autonomic-regulates glands, heartbeat, respiration, digestion, and dilation.

Peripheral Nervous System

Somatic Nervous System

Sights Sounds Smells Temperature Body Position

Autonomic Nervous System (Automatic) Sympathetic (emotional) Parasympathetic (body reserves)

Heartbeat Respiration Digestion Dilation of pupils

Figure 2.8 The Divisions of the Nervous System. The nervous system contains two main divisions: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system contains the somatic and autonomic systems. In turn, the autonomic nervous system has sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions.

Central Nervous System

Spinal Cord - column of nerves. Information superhighway.

Gray matter unmyelinated (reflexes) White matter longer myelinated that carry messages

Spinal Reflex simple unlearned response to stimulus Interneuron a neuron that transmits a neural impulse from a sensory neuron to a motor neuron. Blink, swallow

The Brain

Seeing the Brain Through the Eyes of the Psychologist

Accidents. provide unplanned, uncontrolled opportunities of studying the brain (see Phineas Gage). Experimenting with the Brain. Lesioning: damaging part of the brain. The Electroencephalograph (EEG). EEG detects minute amounts of electrical activity in the brain. Brain Imaging Techniques. CAT (computerized axial tomograph) PET (positron emission tomography): computer MRII (magnetic reasoning imaging):

Figure 2.11 The Parts of the Human Brain. This view of the brain, split top to bottom, shows some of the most important structures. Note how close the hypothalamus is to the pituitary gland. The proximity allows the hypothalamus to readily influence the pituitary gland. The valleys in the cerebrum are called fissures.

Voyage Through the Brain

Hindbrain: where the spinal cord meets the brain. Contains three structures.


regulates vital functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
transmits information about body movements and is involved in functions related to attention, sleep/alertness and respiration. involved in maintaining balance and controlling motor behavior.



The Brain: Hindbrain Structures


forward most part of the brain containing thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system and the cerebrum. Thalamus: relay station for sensory stimulation. Hypothalamus: vital for body temperature regulation, concentration of fluids, storage of nutrients, aspects of motivation and emotion. Also involved in hunger, thirst and sexual behavior.


Limbic System:

Includes the amygdala, hippocampus, and parts of the hypothalamus. Involved in memory, emotion and in the drives of hunger, sex and aggression. Amygdala:

connected with aggression, fear response, and vigilance.


responsible for thinking and language.

The Endocrine System: Chemicals in the Bloodstream

Glands: secrete hormones.

Two types:

With ducts (saliva, sweat, tears). Without ducts (released into the blood stream).

Pituitary Gland:

implicated in growth. sometimes referred to as the Master Gland as it influences other glands in the endocrine system.

The Endocrine Sytem

Gland organ that secrets chemical substances Hormone secreted substance that regulates various body functions Pituitary Gland secretes growth and other hormones Growth Hormone pituitary hormone that regulates growth

Prolactin regulates production of milk and maternal behavior Antidiuretic conserves body fluid by increasing reabsorption Oxytocin stimulates labor and lactation


Melatonin pineal hormone that regulates sleep, wake cycle, and may affect puberty Thyroxin thyroid hormone that increases metabolic rate Corticosteroids produced by the adrenal cortex, regulate carbohydrates metabolism and resist stress Epinephrine-(aka adrenaline) produced by the adrenal medulla and stimulates sympathetic ANS activity

Sex Hormones

Testosterone-male sex hormone that promotes growth of male sex characteristics and sperm. Estrogen-generic term for several female hormones that promote growth of female sex characteristics Progesterone-promotes growth of female sex organs and helps maintain pregnancy.