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  • Phrenologists believed that the contour of the skull could provide valuable information about an individual's cognitive capacities and personality traits. This approach was based on the assumption that

    skull protrusions are caused by disproportionate development of the brain areas beneath them, which are responsible for different specific functions.

    Different nerve cells have different characteristic structures, and similar structures tend to cluster together to form distinct areas. Duh, you already knew that. This idea is known as _______________ and supports a _____________ view of mammalian brain organization.

    cytoarchitectonics; localized

    You have discovered a disease in which damaged cells aren't being properly cleared from the brain. To treat it, you focus on preserving the function of _________.

    microglial cells

    You just heard about a viral video in which an individual with paraplegia can control a robotic arm simply by thinking about it. Your friends think it is science fiction, but you know that brain-machine interface is possible thanks to

    advances in single neuron recording and control via detailed systems mapping.

    You fell while attempting a 720 Gazelle Flip in the skate park. You were wearing a helmet (always wear a helmet), but you still hit your head hard. The doctor at the ER thinks you may have fractured your skull, so she orders a ____________ scan to make sure.

    CT (computed tomography)

    You asked a patient who had had her corpus callosum surgically severed to draw figures (different line shapes), each simultaneously with a different hand. Compared to neurologically intact control participants, your patient...

    was better at producing movements simultaneously with both hands, even when they differed in direction.

    This section of the brain is a part of the limbic system responsible for integration of emotional processing into learning and memory.

    cingulate gyrus

    Broca and Wernicke were advocates of the localization viewpoint in brain function. Why?

    They discovered evidence for specialized functions of speech production and language comprehension, respectively.

    You have invented the Incredible Shrinking Ship of Science. Well done. On your first journey into the nervous system you decide to ride along a neural impulse as it traverses a nerve cell. As you note the structures passing by, you see that

    You've flowed from a dendritic spine into a cell body, massed with other signals at the axon hillock, been fired down the axon and out into the synaptic cleft.

    You are the newest MI-6 agent, 009. Someone just slipped some ouabain into your drink. It is a toxin that works by permanently inhibiting the activity of sodium-potassium pumps embedded in neuronal membranes. As you run to get the antidote, you think about what the poison is actually doing to you. How would this dastardly deed affect the resting potential of your neurons?

    The magnitude of the resting potential would shift toward zero.

    You are an ER doctor with a specialization in the pathology of strokes. A patient has just presented with damage to their medial temporal lobe and neighboring subcortical structures. Of the options here, which function is the LEAST likely to be affected by this stroke?


    You hypothesize that sleep loss impacts executive function and mood control by depriving the brain of energy via dysregulation of specialized glucose receptors in the brain. Hey, me too! Cool. Of the following options, which imaging technique would help us to best test this hypothesis?

    (PET) Positron Emission Tomography, in which we apply a radioactive atom to glucose in the body and track its metabolism in the brain.

    You signed up for an experiment to earn some extra cash. During intake, you complete something called the Stroop Task. Afterward, the researcher explains that the Stroop is used to

    test your inhibitory and response competition cognitive functions.

    The following images were briefly shown (about 200 ms) to a group of healthy 18 - 22 year olds. (A. man smiling on the left and neutral on the right. B. man is neutral on the left and smiling on the right).They were then asked to identify which man, A or B was more emotionally expressive. Almost everyone answered

    A, because emotion (his smile) is being presented to the right hemisphere in which emotional processing occurs.

    List three anatomical or physiological differences between the cerebral hemispheres?

    The planum temporale and parts of the thalamus are larger on the left side.

    Left-hemisphere neurons tend to have more dendritic branching than right-hemisphere neurons.

    Why is the thalamus important?

    It is important because it controls relay circuits for integrating sensory functions such as vision and audition.

    At least 30,000 years ago, humans started painting their hand outlines on the walls of caves, alongside sophisticated depictions of animals. The caves were often deep and difficult to get to. What might this indicate about the state of humanity 30,000 years ago?

    Homo sapiens may have been developing a conscious sense of self, essentially saying, "I was here."

    You are a respected neurologist. Congratulations! Your latest patient, however, has you stumped. They appear to have had a small stroke, but the location has not yet been identified. They show difficulty controlling eye movement, facial expression, posture, and have extremely fragmented sleep. This broad collection of symptoms points to dysfunction in the

    Pons - the relay center between cerebellum and cerebrum (literally means "bridge"

    You wake up one morning unable to see. Oh no! At the doctor, a thorough examination reveals that there is no damage to your eyes or your optic nerves. MRI indicates no damage to your parietal lobe or primary visual cortex. Thanks to your extensive CNS knowledge, you as the doctor to check your

    lateral geniculate nucleus (visual relay pathway in the thalamus, responsible for communicating visual information with the primary visual cortex).

    Congratulations! You just bought a two photon-laser scanning microscope. You focus in on the vasculature of the brain, just for kicks. As you dial that puppy up you see large neural cells in direct contact with a series of blood vessels. What are these cells called?


    You continue playing with your new super expensive toy, focusing on the myelination process in the central nervous system. What should you look for now?


    This got you wondering... how exactly does an oligodendrocyte create myelin on its host neuron?

    It wraps its own cell membrane in concentric circles around the axon of the neuron during neuronal development. The wrapping movement eventually squeezes out the oligodendrocyte's own cytoplasm, leaving a concentrated lipid layer behind.

    After all that science-ing during the day, you spend the night dreaming of glia. In your dream you fly through the nervous system, taking detailed notes while drinking a Yoo-hoo (hey, its your dream). You notice a bunch of glial cells to your left, scavenging and eating the remnants of damaged cells. Who are those guys?

    Microglial cells

    Wow. Those were some tough questions! Your neurons handled all that good thought while the glia supported them, because glia play no direct roll in neural communication, right or wrong?

    Wrong! Recent evidence suggests that astrocytes may play a role in modulating signal strength in neuronal communication via reuptake of neurotransmitters.

    the belief that the whole brain participates in behavoir

    aggregate field theory

    the theory that the aggregation of a person's experience determines the course of mental development


    the theory that environment and learning are the primary factors in mental development, and that people should be studied by outside observation


    the study of how the brain enables the mind

    cognitive neuroscience

    the way in which cells differ between brain regions


    the idea that all knowledge comes from sensory experience


    Created by Wilder Penfield and Herbert Jasper, a procedure to treat epilepsy in which the neurons that produce seizures were surgically destroyed

    Montreal procedure

    The concept proposed by the great Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal in the 19th century that the neuron is the fundamental units of the nervous system is composed of billions of these units (neurons) connected to process information

    neuron doctrine

    the study of the physical shape of the human head, based on the belief that variations in the skull's surface can reveal specific intellectual and personality traits.


    The idea that, through right thinking and rejection of unsupportable or superstitious beliefs, true beliefs can be discovered.


    a continuous mass of tissue that shares a common cytoplasm


    the active or regenerative electrical signal hat is required for synaptic communication. They are propagated along the axon and result in the release of neurotransmitter.

    action potential

    There are two amygdalae per person normally, with one amygdala on each side of the brain. They are thought to be a part of the limbic system within the brain, which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory.


    the volume of the neocortex that is not strictly sensory or motor, but receives inputs from multiple sensorimotor modalities.

    association cortex

    The body system that regulates heart rate, breathing, and glandular secretions and may become activated during emotional arousal, initiating a "flight or fight" response to a stimulus.

    autonomic nervous system

    The structure extending away from a neuron down which action potentials travel. The terminals of ___ contact other neurons at synapses.


    Branches off and axon that can transmit signals to more than one cell

    axon collateral

    a part of the cell body of a neuron where membrane potentials are summated before being transmitted down the axon

    axon hillock

    The ____ ____ is involved in motor control and learning. Reciprocal neuronal loops project from the cortical areas to the ____ ____ and back to the cortex.

    basal ganglia

    Name two prominent basal ganglia disorders

    Parkingsons disease and Hungtingtion's disease

    List the collection of five subcortial nuclei that comprise the basal ganglia.

    - caudate
    - putamen
    - globus pallidus
    - subthalamic nucleus
    - substantia nigra

    A physical barrier formed by the end feet of astrocytes between the blood vessels in the brain and the tissues of the brain. The _____ limits which materials in the blood can gain access to neurons in the nervous system.

    blood-brain barrier (BBB)

    The region of the nervous system that contains groups of motor and sensory nuclei, nuclei of widespread modulatory neurotransmitter systems, and white matter tracts of ascending sensory information and descending motor signals.


    The brain and spinal cord

    central nervous system (CNS)

    The deep fold or fissure between the frontal and parietal cortex that separates the primary motor cortex from the primary somatosensory cortex.

    central sulcus

    The ____ receives information from the sensory systems, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and then regulates motor movements. It coordinates voluntary movements such as posture, balance, coordination, and speech, resulting in smooth and balanced muscular activity.


    The layered sheets of neurons that overlies the forebrain. The largest part of the human brain, associated with higher brain function such as thought and action. Is divided into four sections, called "lobes": the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe.

    cerebral cortex

    White matter tracts that cross from the left to the right side, or vice versa, of the CNS. It also interconnects the amygdalas and temporal lobes, contributing to the role of memory, emotion, speech and hearing. It also is involved in olfaction, instinct, and sexual behavior.


    The fiber system composed of axons that allows communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. It is responsible for transmitting neural messages between both the right and left hemispheres.

    corpus callosum

    Large tree-like processes of neurons that receive inputs from other neurons at synapses.


    A change in the membrane potential in which the electrical current inside the cell becomes less negative.


    Dense layers of collagenous fibers that surround the brain and spinal cord. It surrounds and supports the dural sinuses and carries blood from the brain toward the heart.

    dura matter

    Passive current flow through neurons that accompanies activated electrical currents.

    electronic conduction

    The membrane potential in which a given ion has no net flux across the membrane; meaning as many of the ions move outward as move inward across the membrane.

    equilibrium potential

    Front part of the brain; containing two principal regions; the motor cortex and the prefrontal cortex. Involved in planning, organizing, problem solving, selective attention, personality and a variety of "higher cognitive functions" including behavior and emotions.

    frontal lobe

    The more numerous cell type found in the nervous system. The four main functions of these cells are: to surround neurons and hold them in place, to supply nutrients and oxygen to neurons, to insulate one neuron from another, and to destroy and remove the carcasses of dead neurons.

    glial cell

    Regions of the nervous system that contain primarily neuronal cell bodies. Includes the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and the nuclei of the thalamus.

    gray matter

    A small organ located within the brain's medial temporal lobe and forms an important part of the limbic system, the region that regulates emotions. It is associated mainly with memory, in particular long-term memory. The organ also plays an important role in spatial navigation.


    A change in the membrane potential in which the electrical current inside the cell becomes more negative.


    A portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland


    A region of the brain deep in the cerebral cortex, known to process gustatory information.


    A passageway in the cell membrane, formed by a transmembrane protein that creates a pore, through which ions of sodium, potassium, and chloride might pass into or out of the cell.

    ion channel

    Proteins in the cell membrane of neurons that are capable of transporting ions against their concentration gradient.

    ion pump

    A common organizational cluster of neurons in the central nervous system.


    Several structures that form a layer around the brain stem. A complex system of nerves and networks in the brain, involving several areas near the edge of the cortex concerned with instinct and mood. It controls the basic emotions (fear, pleasure, anger) and drives (hunger, sex, dominance, care of offspring).

    limbic system

    The _____ helps regulate breathing, heart and blood vessel function, digestion, sneezing, and swallowing. This part of the brain is a center for respiration and circulation. Sensory and motor neurons (nerve cells) from the forebrain and midbrain travel through the ______.


    The ____ contains neurons that participate in visuomotor functions, auditory relays, and the mesencephalic tegmental nuclei involved in motor coordination.


    A fatty substance that surrounds the axons of many neurons and increases the effective membrane resistance, helping to speed the conduction of action potentials.


    The portion of the cortex that contains six main cortical layers and has a high degree of specialization of neuronal organization. It is involved in higher functions such as sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and in humans, language.


    Groups of interconnected neurons that process specific kinds of information.

    neural circut

    Groups of neural circuits that combine to form larger systems for processing information.

    neural system

    One of two cell types in the nervous system, responsible for processing sensory, motor, cognitive, and affective information.


    A chemical substance that transmits the signal between neurons at a chemical synapse.


    A location at which myelin is interrupted between successive patches of axon, and where an action potential can be generated.

    node of Ranvier

    The visual processing center of the mammalian brain containing most of the anatomical region of the visual cortex.

    occipital lobe

    A cortical lobe that contains a variety of neurons, including the somatosensory cortex, gustatory cortex, and parietal association cortex, which includes regions involved in visuomotor orienting, attention, and representation of space.

    parietal lobe

    A courier network that delivers information to the central nervous system and the conducts the motor commands of the CNS to control muscles of the body; anything outside the brain and spinal cord.

    peripheral nervous system (PNS)

    A pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus, to which it is attached via nerve fibers. It is part of the endocrine system and produces critical hormones, which are chemical substances that control various bodily functions.

    pituitary gland

    The __ contains nuclei that relay signals from the forebrain to the cerebellum, along with nuclei that deal primarily with sleep, respiration, swallowing, bladder control, hearing, equilibrium, taste, eye movement, facial expressions, facial sensation, and posture.


    Referring to the neuron located after the synapse with respect to information flow.


    A part of the brain located at the front of the frontal lobe. It is implicated in a variety of complex behaviors, including planning, and greatly contributes to personality development.

    prefrontal cortex

    Referring to the neuron located before the synapse with respect to information flow.


    a period immediately following an action potential during which the neuron may not be able to generate action potentials.

    refractory period

    The voltage (charge) difference across the cell membrane when the cell is at rest.

    resting membrane potential

    The propagation of action potentials along myelinated axons from one node of Ranvier to the next node, increasing the conduction velocity of action potentials.

    saltatory conduction

    The cell body of a neuron


    The point-for-point correspondence of an area of the body to a specific point on the central nervous system. Typically, the area of the body corresponds to a point on the primary somatosensory cortex (postcentral gyrus).


    The location, at the juncture of the soma and the axon of a neuron, where currents from synaptic inputs on the soma and distant dendrites are summed and where voltage-gated Na+ channels are located that can be triggered to generate action potentials that can propagate down the axon.

    spike-triggering zone

    A little knob attached by a small neck to the surface of a dendrite. Synapses are located on ___.


    An invaginated region that appears as a line or crease of the surface of the cerebral cortex.


    A deep fissure of the lateral aspect of each cerebral hemisphere that divides the temporal from the frontal cortex.

    Sylvian (lateral) fissure

    A junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses pass by diffusion of a neurotransmitter.


    The gap between neurons at synapses.

    synaptic cleft

    The formation of synapses between neurons in the nervous system.


    Adjacent areas in the superior, posterior, and lateral parts of the temporal lobes are involved in high-level auditory processing. The temporal lobe is involved in primary auditory perception, such as hearing, and holds the primary auditory cortex.

    temporal lobe

    A structure in the middle of the brain. It is located between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. It works to correlate several important processes, including consciousness, sleep, and sensory interpretation.


    A bundle of axons in the central nervous system.


    A transmembrane ion channel that changes molecular conformation when the membrane potential changes, changing the conductance of the channel for specific ions such as sodium. potassium, or chloride.

    voltage-gated ion channel

    ____ ____ is composed of bundles of myelinated axons, which connect various grey matter areas (the locations of nerve cell bodies) of the brain to each other, and carry nerve impulses between neurons.

    white matter

    What are the two subdivisions of the autonomic nervous system?

    sympathetic and parasympathetic

    An imaging method used to evaluate the circulatory system in the brain


    An experiment in which the recorded neural activity is integrated over a "block" of time during which the participant is either presented with a stimulus or preforms task. The recorded activity pattern is then compared to other blocks that have been recorded while doing the same task or stimulus, a different one, or nothing.

    block design experiment

    _____ contrast imaging is a method used in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe different areas of the brain or other organs, which are found to be active at any given time.

    blood-oxygen level dependent

    A visual model of the connections within some part of the nervous system.

    brain graph

    Structural damage to the white or gray matter of the brain. They can result from many causes; including tumor, stroke, and degenerative disorders.

    brain lesion

    A rapid loss of brain function due to a compromise of int he blood supply of the brain secondary to arterial occlusion or hemorrhage.

    cerebral vascular accident

    The scientific study of mind and mental function, including learning, memory, attention, perception, reasoning, language, conceptual development, and decision making.

    cognitive psychology

    Radiography in which a three-dimensional image of a body structure is constructed by computer from a series of plane cross-sectional images made along an axis.

    computed tomography (CT)

    A nonsurgical treatment to reduce tremor and to block involuntary movements in patients with motion disorders. Small electric shocks are delivered to the thalamus or the globus pallidus, rendering these parts of the brain inactive without surgically destroying them.

    Deep- brain stimulation (DBS)

    A MRI-based neuroimaging technique which makes it possible to visualize the location, orientation, and anisotropy of the brain's white matter tracts.

    diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)

    An experimental technique by which two areas of neocortex are functionally dissociated by two behavioral tests, each test being affected by a lesion in one zone and not the other.

    double dissociation

    is a type of electrophysiological monitoring that uses electrodes placed directly on the exposed surface of the brain to record electrical activity from the cerebral cortex.

    electrocortogram (ECoG)

    A paradigm used in fMRI studies in which the BOLD response can be time-locked to particular stimuli and responses. Such designs require using delays or temporal variation in order to isolate the response to these events.

    event-related design

    The measured brain response that is the direct result of a specific sensory, cognitive, or motor event. More formally, it is any stereotyped electrophysiological response to a stimulus.

    event-related potential

    a neuroimaging method that utilizes MRI to track blood flow changes in the brain that are thought to be correlated with local changes in neuronal activity.

    functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

    A technique for creating a genetically altered version of species in order to study behavioral changes occurring in animal that have developed without the targeted gene.

    knockout procedure

    A test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Usually measure variations in the density of hydrogen ions in the tissure being scanned.

    magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    A functional neuroimaging technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain.

    Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

    A physiological procedure in which an array of electrodes is inserted in the brain such that the activity of many cells can be recorded simultaneously.

    multiunit recording

    The study of the physiological processes of the nervous system.


    A biological technique which involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.


    Experimental procedure in which the independent variable involves the administration of a chemical agent or drug.

    pharmacological studies

    A radioactive compound that is used as a tracer in PET scans to label beta-amyloid, a substance associated with Alzheimer's disease.


    A neuroimaging method that measures metabolic activity or blood flow changes in the brain by monitoring the distribution of a radioactive tracer. The scanner measures the photons produced during the decay of a tracer.

    positron emission tomography (PET)

    The area of external space within which a stimulus must be presented in order to activate a cell.

    receptive field

    The distribution of the brain's blood supply which can be measured. In PET scanning, ___ is used as a measure of metabolic changes following increased neural activity in restricted regions of the brain.

    regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF)

    The mapping of visual input from the retina to neurons, particularly those neurons within the visual stream.


    A technique used to observe the activity of individual neurons. The procedure involves positioning a small recording electrode either inside a cell or near the outer membrane of a neuron.

    single-cell recording

    A data processing technique that provides a more robust measure by performing a weighted average of the signal from the observed location with its spatial neighbor.


    A 3-dimensional coordinate system of the human brain, which is used to map the location of brain structures independent from individual differences in the size and overall shape of the brain.

    Talairach coordinate

    Signal processing technique for analyzing the content of a stimulus and how that content changes over time.

    time-frequency analysis

    A noninvasive method in which a low voltage current is created across the brain by attaching two electrodes on the scalp.

    transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

    A noninvasive method used to stimulate neurons in the brain. During a procedure, a strong electrical current is rapidly generated in a coil and placed over the targeted region. It is used in clinical setting to evaluate motor function by direct stimulation of the motor cortex, creating brief reversible lesions.

    transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

    The smallest unit of three- dimensional data that can be represented in a MRI.


    A barbiturate used to produce rapid and brief anesthesia


    The nerve bundle connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres, locating anterior to the corpus callosum.

    anterior commisure

    The adaptation of the activity in a particular brain region to subserve a given cognitive function or behavior.

    cerebral specialization

    An experimental technique in which subjects listen to a different message in each ear and try to report one or both messages and which ear they came from.

    dichotic listening task

    Differences in the functions that each hemisphere subserves.

    functional asymmetry

    Non-corresponding areas of the brain between hemispheres.

    heterotopic areas

    A configuration that mau be described at multiple levels, from global features to lcoal features; the finer components are embedded within the higher level components.

    hierarchical structure

    Corresponding areas of the brain between hemispheres.

    homotopic areas

    A left-brain system that seeks explanations for internal and external events in order to produce appropriate response behaviors.


    A specialized processing unit of the nervous system.


    The surface area of the temporal lobe that includes Wernicke's area.

    planum temporale

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