Introduction to neuroscience:

This is the fastest growing area of psychology. 

Psychiatry means you are a medical doctor.  This is someone who can prescribe pills.  A psychologist cannot.


2 reasons to study neuroscience:

1 - it is the method of treatment

 In the 1950s it was considered unethical to treat someone just with drugs for schizophrenia without psychotherapy involved.  Now it is considered unethical to treat someone just with psychotherapy without pills.


2- It has given us a whole new way to look at man


I hope that it fires you up full of questions.

It is so interesting to learn how we work.

Become a neuroscientist.  If I was getting into psychology today it is definetely what I’d study


Brain study is in its infancy.  We have always known that certain substances have altering effects on the brain, but only now are we aware that this isn’t due to magic.


90 % of all brainscientists ever are still alive.

Neuro science is new.  More has been learned about the brain in the last twenty years than in the previous two hundred. 


Neuroscience should inspire a lot of questions.  ASK THEM

but 2 things might happen

a- I might not know.

b- neuroscience might not know



This 3 pound object is the most complicated thing in the universe.  It has trillions of connections and fixes itself.


It is protected by  a thick bone called the skull.  The skull has layers in it that are cushioned by cerebrospinal fluid  And the brain floats in more of this fluid.  

It has hair on it to cool it.


 It is more complicated than animals in that it has extra parts or some parts are bigger.  But mostly, human and animal are the same.  The basic structure and use of neurons are the same.


The brain has about the consistency of set yogurt.  If you wanted to put your finger through it you could. 


It uses almose 20% of the body’s oxygen intake despite being only 2 percent of the total body weight.

It has 1 1/2 pints of blood going through it a minute no matter what the brain is doing. 


10 - 15 seconds without oxygen will knowck you out.  After 10 minutes you will have irreversible damage and usually death.



1) technology


MRIs (magnetic  resonance images)(uses electrical raisning and lowering of hydrogen atom’s electrons)  When the electrons relax they go back to their normal orbit and send off a current.   


Unfortunately, both of these produce static images.  They  take a long time, so we cant see things happening.


EEGs (electroencephalograph)  is sticking suction cups to the head and monitoring electrical activity.  This gives you a second by second picture.  But it’s just at the scalp and not really visual. But it is instantaneous.


PET (Positron Emission tomography.  A positron in an antimatter particle with the same mass as an electron, but an opposite charge.    When positrons and electron collide they send off gamma rays in opposite directions.  This is what a PET scan looks for.   They take 40 seconds to tell you where the blood went.  So this has limits.


This follows where the things are really going.   Wherever the decay is most evident is where the fluid is being picked up.   So we can see where the processing is going on.


Its like a short movie, but it isn’t as sharp a picture as an MRI.


2) Brain Damage

These are called lesions.  Lesions are cuts in the brain.

Example one:

There is an area along the visual cortex that is specializeed for faces. 

People that have damage to this area cannot recognize peoples identities from their faces: prosopagnosia.


 Once they hear the voice or see the clothes or are told then they know the person 100%.  Before that they don’t know who they are.

They can recognize faces.  If they see someone in profile and then the front they can match the two up.  They just can’t tell you who the person is by their face.

This can be cured by the loved ones wearing non-facial visual cues (a red ribbon).


Example two:

PT couldn’t recognize objects.  He could describe them but not name them from sight.  He could name them from description.  If told a round, wooden object in which lettuce , tomatoes and cucumbers are mixed he would respond with “salad bowl”.


 He could also get objects through touch or smell.  He held a candle and thought it  a crayon, but when smelling it said candle.


He could analyze shape.  When shown a combination lock, he was sure it was a telephone.  Why would that be?  Even after being told that it wasn’t a telephone, he remained adamant.But his hands made the combination lock turning motion.  He was told it was a clock , telephone or a combination lock.  He said clock, then looked at his fingers and said combination lock. 


If shown a flute he said clairinet.  but then noticed his hands doing the clairinet and said no its a clairinet.



It isn’t very exact.  It mostly happens in the frontal portion due to car crashes. 

When you study it you get an appreciation for how many things your brain does and how lucky you are if all them work and none go wrong.


3)  Invasive surguery

WHen you open up a brain you can stimulate it. 

The brain has no pain nerves.


By the way, stimulation will make people involuntarily move their hands and body parts in ways they canot control.

Also, electrical stimulation of the brains reward center would make people change to happy subjects and feelings, instantly  from unhappy subjects and feelings. 


So movement and emotion can be controlled by controllling the brain.


We can make an animal sing by giving it a shot of testosterone.


By stimulating part of the brain we can  make your arm move and fold newspapers.

We can make you hear sentences and


4-Animal studies

There are things we cannot do on humans we must do them on animals.


Example one-

Sew up the kittens eye


Example 2 -

In a group of areas of a chickens brain you can fake it face a stuffed animal, then attack then make a triumphant call.


Ex 3.  If you want to see where the neurotransmitter dopamine goes you have to do this on animals.  Dye some, shoot it into a rat in a certain situation and see where it goes.  Or if you want to see what a new potential neurotransmitter does, you must try it on an animal.


Evolutionary psychology

We like to think that we are free beings.  And we can see that because people are so different.  Right?

But for a moment, take the other side. What is preprogrammed. 


Beneath the array of different cultures, there are universal similarities. 

Basic ones, we are beings that stand on two legs. 


We all listen to music, have language (we learn it at the same way), eat (taste is determined by  the second year)

have sex (the development and desires of our body are all the same).


we all have the same emotions.  Theres angerhappiness, jealousy, sadness.

We all use the same facial expressions the world around.


Humans start survival based behavior early.  They do emotions in reaction to very certain things: hunger, abandonment, pain. Also, the facial expressions are how we act and they determine the range of feelings and expressions that we can have.   Universally around the same age people become interested i the opporite sex. 


Also, all people have the motherese reaction.  Its the same thing that gets triggered with pets for some people. 


At that moment that you see grandmother, is it a conscious perception or just an involuntary conclusion come to by a preprogrammed processor?


So again, we think we’re unique.  But to a real extent the biology determines a limit of behaviors and abilities we can have.  It creates parameters under which we live.


We are much like machines and we’re close to figuring out all the basic mechanisms


-brain parts-

6 parts of theThe Cerebral Cortex


  It is only the top quarter inch.  Warning what I’m going to outline is super simplified.  We’ll touch on smaller stuff, but ultimately each part of brain study could be  a whole course.  Always remember, this is a super simplification.  But you can infer things:


For example language is on the left half of the brain.  So you know that grammar and nouns and verbs must be there too.  Right?!


Also, the parts of the outer 1/4 inch, the cerebral cortex, are called lobes.




The Frontal lobe is your PLANNING  part. 

It is really large in humans.   It makes up 50% of the volume of each cerebral hemisphere in the brain.

It recieves information from all the sensory systems (including parts of the body). 


Here primates are the next highest in proportion of frontal lobe.  But even rats have them. 


People who have damage here lose planning ability.  Tell of the ex-lawyer who cannot put a case together. 


People that have the part right behind the forehead taken out lose initiative , They were apathetic and lose flexibility.  “They will make the same mistake over and over.


part of planning isw restraint.  This is what phineus gage had knocked out.


Frontal lobotomies

Leave people ablt to understand, but they don’t make any decisions.  They will go somewhere if you ask them to , but other than that, they sit.

WHAT IF A PERSON HAS A  LARGE FRONTAL LOBE?  THey might be very successful and have a lot of discipline.

WHAT IF A PERSON HAS A SMALL FRONTAL LOBE? THEY might be very unconcerned with the future.


Parietal lobe is the opposite awareness part of the body. 

In the parietal lobe is awareness of the  other side of the body.


people will behave as if the other side of their world did not exist. 


If the right side is damaged, people may fail to dress the left side of their body, or only read only the right page.   They only see one half of a picture. They will only follow your finger half way across their visual field.


They  can see things if nothing competes.  If shown two fingers in the right side they see them. If shown two fingers in the left side they see them.  If shown both simultaneously, they will only see the lesioned side, not the contralesioned side.


When asked to remember scenes, patients neglect the half that they don’t see anymore in their descriptions.  The Venitian piazza is the example.


anosognosia is when people refuse to acknowledge a side of their body is paralyzed.  The most famous person to have this was William Douglas of the supreme court in 1974.

They deny the problem.  He kept inviting people for hikes. 


When confronted they come up with excuses saying it isn’t their limb. 


When asked to try a task with two hand for a reward or with one for a lesser reward, they go for two over and over and then come up with excuses why they failed.


a way to undo this is to put water in the ear.  This affects a part of the body that does your balance and so activates systems that check your whole bodies status.  This causes the stroke victims to dart their eyes back and forth as if adjusting for their head spinning.  For 15 minutes this reverses anosognosia.


Their image of themselves is of someone with a working arm.  So all information contrary to this gets ignored. 


The place wherestuff is focused on is in the left parietal.  People who have this damaged, cannot stop thinking of their damage.  Istead of ignoring the problem, they can’t stop paying attention to it.  This knocks them down into a deep depression.


These may perhaps be the physiological components of Freud’s fixation and denial.

WHATIF A PERSON HAS a small parietal lobe?  THey would be a sloppy dresser.

WHAT IF THEY HAVE A  good size awareness of the opposite side they might dress well.


The  motor cortex is the  motor control part of the body

the motor cortex does output to muscles, the sensory cortex does input from the outside world.


A simple movement of a finger activated the primary motor cortex on the opposite side. 

More complex moement required additional brain areas.  The additional areas were partly activated when folks just thought about moving their fingers.


The Sensory  cortex is the sensory part of the body

Show the Page 106 of Scientific America Articles book

A person drawn with part’s size coresponding to their size in the motor and sensory parts would have a big mouth.  That is due to size reflecting importance.  Paws are large in racoons, snout is large in rats.  We are verbal and expressive so the face and hands are big.


The Temporal Lobe is the HEARING, memory and language part.  When sound is involved it gets active.


Along the sylvian fissure there is a range for things that are hearable.

Ther e is an area that allows you to dissect the words in your language. 


Hear agin there are very specific parts.  There are people that hear very well.  They can tell you what they hear.  MEOW, what is it?  its a cat.  Ruff RUff what is it?  Its a dog.


But!  They don’t understand spoken language.  They get written, but not spoken.


There are people that don’t have any ability to discern melodies.  They maybe can tell if some part of the tune is wrong.  But they can’t name it. 


The occipital lobe, is the SEEING PART. 

If this part is gone, you are blind.


Damage in any area willl cause correlary blindness.

There is a “where” part of the brain. 

An experiment was where a person was shown a light in an area they were blind and told to turn their eyes towards it.  They refuse at first, but then try and they can do it!  The what area is not processing it, but the where area is still on.


People with damage to this area can see objects, but can only get to them like people in the dark do.  They fumble around, progressively closer and closer.


People that have that damaged don’t know where things are.  They get lost in their own homes.  They can’t cross the street because they can’t estimate how fast cars are coming how far.They cannot tell you how they got to a store they’ve been going to for years.  But they can describe the store.


This brings up another point.  Much of what we do, we discussed this under cognitivism and freud, is unconscious.


When the newly blind were asked to point at a light, they could do it.  At first they said are you being mean?  I’m blind.  The researchers said just humor us.  When a dim light was shined on a screen infront of them they could point at it.


People who are  totally brain dead will follow you with their eyes. They have only their brain stem.  The direction finding part of the brain is different from the realizing you’re looking part of the brain.


TWO PARTS BENEATH the cerebral cortex

The limbic system is the EMOTIONS part.  

We share this with all animals.  This is a biologically older area than the cerebral cortex.

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland  (which does hormones and adrenalin) is also in this area.  They regulate thirst, sex drive and appetite and fight or flight reactions.

The basal ganglia too (which does fine motor skills and parkinsons is in)

The thalamus where input from senses all go before going to the cerebral cortex.



The cerebellum -muscle coordination part

This does coordination of fine muscle coordination. 

When you learn how to do a movement, so that it becomes automatic, it goes off to this area.


That goes for all of the areas.  When you remember something visual, the visual area is lit up.  When you think of something you heard, the temporal lobe lights up.  When you are remembering your plan, the frontal lobe lights up.






The brain is divided into two hemispheres.


The Left side does linear stuff: logic, math ,language.  Logical one step at a time stuff.


The Right does spacial stuff.  It will see the whole picture. Maps and music and facial expression recognition.


Each half of the brain is tied up to the other half of the body. 

The sides are connected by the Corpus Callosum.


People with seizures have their corpus callosum cut.  This is now much more limited.  It used to be common.



Patients can name and describe objects placed in the right hand, but not objects presented in the left hand.


When holding an object in the left hand, they cannot find an identicle object with the right hand.


A pattern is shown to both brain halves, and asked to copy it.

The left hand can do this task quickly, the right hand cannot.


Furthermore, when the right hand tries to do it, the left hand tries to intervene to help.

Patients have to sit on their left hand to stop it from trying.

When both were allowed to do it they would fight. 


A person would pick up the newspaper with the right hand and the left will tear it our. 

Conflicts like this happen right after surgery.


A horse is flashed for a second to the right hemisphere.  When asked what was it? he says he didn’t see anything.


If asked to draw what goes on it.  With the left hand a saddle is drawn.When the person is asked what it is They didn’t see it in their left. Both will say I don’t know. 

Then asked to draw (with the left hand) what they just saw, it will draw a horse.  Then the recognition of saddle sets in.



The right side is shown a letter.  Then asked if it was a letter of the alphabet, the left side would guess, if wrong the right hemisphere makes the face frown.  Then the left would correct itself.


Actually in vission the left and right do different parts.  The left hem.  sees the details, the right sees the big picture. 

                                                z              z

                                                z  z      z z

                                                z      z     z

If and “M” is made out of “Z”s       z              z

People with damaged right hemispheres write lots of Zs.  People with left hemisphere damage draw an M


Triangles made of blocks.   Right hemisphere damage patients draw lots of blocks.  Right hemisphere damage folks draw the shape.


Tremendous violence is shown to the right hemisphere.  If the person is asked what they just saw, they say they didn’t see anything.  But then they feel uncomfortable and blame it on something.  They often say the doctor makes them really uncomfortable.



Fifty percent of left handers have language in the right hemisphere.  Its like 5 percent for right handers.


It is said that the fact that this of all functions of the brain is still not nailed down is because it is recent in evolution.


One theory says that the baby having its right ear to the mothers outside belly mean that the right side did spacial and balance and that freed the left for language. 


Another theory says that right handedness led to developement with the language part in the left.  Tool use stimulated langauge after we didn’t need both hands for walking.  Most early words are verbs of action.



Women get language a month earlier than boys and consistenly perform better on tests of verbal abilities until adulthood.  This is in receptive and productive language, and on creative writing.  The difference isn’t huge and there is overlap, but its real.


Males have an advantage in visuospatial reasoning.  Shape recall, geometry, maze learning and map reasoning.  Perhaps this is why most chess masters are men. 

Culture also pushes men at this more and probably has an affect.


Males have expected results of hemisphere damage.  If males have damage in the left hemispher their language is hurt.  If men have damage in their right their spacial abilites are hurt. 

Females have both kinds of disabilities if there is damage in the left lobe and not much if the right lobe is damaged.



Birds have eyes that are distinct and the tracts cross hemispheres.  But they do not have corpus collosums!


They do spacial stuff better with their right eye.  THey distinguish food from non-food better with it.

They find seeds easier (small frequency) with their left eye.


Bird songs are specialized to their left side.

Male mammals run mazes better.

But monkeys are not handed.  They do have a different shape of the sylvian fissure  (the greater upward slope in the right) 


And spacial and shape recognition idfferences that parallel ours are seen in their split brain subjects.  They also lose some vocalization understanding , but not much, with left hemisphere lesions.




This is another example of how we think we are one but are not.  Speech is so intregal to who we are.  We use it effortlessly and it defines ourselves.


Agin the brain is transparent.  Much is done to make it seem we are one.  But we, for instance, take in just the right amount of air to make the sentence were going to make.


Studying this gives us hope that someday we’ll cure dyslexia and schizophrenia and otherdisorders that involve language and thought.


Stuttering is, apparently, a fight over which hemisphere is going to control language. 

In most people the war is over by 5 years of age.  In stutterers they use both.

They have trouble in a temporal lobe area near wernickes, where you monitor your own speach.  Stutterers who are speaking along with others inunison, don’t stutter.



Broca’s Area is only on the left side of the frontal lobe.  Damage to it on the right hasn’t any effect on speech.  The aphasic speech is labored and slow and articulation is impaired.  The response to a question will often make sense, but it generally cannot be expressed as a fully formed or grammatical sentence. 


Verb inflection, pronouns, connectives and prepositions words and complex grammatical constructions are disturbed.


The person has telegraphic speech.


Asked about a dental appointment they might say.  “Yes...Monday...Dad...Wednesday 9 o’clock...Doctors...teeth”  

The same kinds of errors are made in writing.


Asked about the holidays they might say “Ho, ho, holiday, teurkey...people...good.”


This area is next to the face muscles area on the motor cortex .  But it is not due to facial muscles.


            3 reasons this isn’t due to facial muscles lapsing

1) These muscles work fine in other tasks. 

A person with Broca’s aphasia (speech impairment) can speak only with great difficulty, but he can sing with ease and  elegance. 

Another major symptom is faulty grammar which cannot be explained by facial muscles.


2) They have the same deficits in sign language.


3) Broca’s damage laves them unable to understand inflection, pronouns, connectives or prepositions.  If a sentence is heavily dependent on it they can’t understand.


They cannot read ”to be or not to be”.  But can read Two Bee oar knot two bee.



Wernicke’s area is on the left side, where the temporal and parietal lobes come together.

Wernicke’s aphasia produces phonetically and grammatically normal speech.  But it makes little sense.  The utterance may sometimes have nonsensicle syllables or words. 


Some may understand written words and can write, but cannot understand what is spoken.


Asked about a vacation “oh yes we have done it, could be different but neverthyeless done.  Go go gone and howerver sucessful it still fails.


they really have trouble remembering words.  If shown an apron and asked what it is they cannot.


The structure of an idea must lie in Wernicke’s area, it then goes to Broca’s area where it gets a program for vocalization.  The program is then passed on to the adjacent face area of the motor cortex, which activates the appropriate muscles of the mouth, lips tongue larynx etc.


When Wernickes is damaged people have serious difficulty comprehending spoken language.

Interestingly, people with WERNICKE’s damage,have no trouble follow inflection.  They are really empathetic.



Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are connected by a bundle of nerve fibers.


Severing the connectionbetween the two means the speech is fluent  (letting you know that broca is intact) and they understand (so wernicke is intact), since both are intact. 


But they cannot repeat what was said to them  since the auditory and speech areas are disconnected.

If it is really strong they develop echolalia (that is the unintended repitition of what they hear).


The Angular Gyrus is just above Wernicke’s area in the parietal lobe.  This area has to do with  written language.  Damage here leaves a person able to speak and understand speach normally, but be unable to read or write. 



The light comes into the eyes and goes back to the occipital lobe.  The occipital lobebreaks down what the letters are.  It does this by a part of the brain that discerns line direction.


Then the words go to the angular gyrus.  The angular gyrus transfers it over to Wernickes area. 




When pure sound is going then wernicke’s area is not lit up.


Wernicke’s area is just for words.  It is stimulated by hearing them, but not simple tones or vowels.


It is then, like the area that recognizes words visually is on the extrastriate area (superior inner occipital as seen in the word recognition quadrant of the handout) except it’s for hearing.


An interesting thing is if you are asked to repeat a word you passivly see, Wernicke’s area isn’t stimulated.  Suggesting that familiar words find another path straight to the motor cortex.  This path seems to be through an area that is buried between the gap that separates the frontal and temporal lobes.  It is called the Insular cortex. 


If you are asked to read a list of words, wernickes and the angular gyrus light up.  But if you are given time to practice the list they don’t.  The Insular cortex lites.  This is the same if you just repeat them.   Skilled reader’s only light up the insular cortex when they read.  This gives space to William James’ idea that habit becomes second nature.


If you are asked to put a verb to a noun you passively see, wernicke’s lights up.

We saw that visual words register in the left anterior occipital lobe. 


MAKE A HANDOUT FROM 110 from Scientific American Brainbook.

Also copy pg 115 from images of mind




Fear measurement in animals is easy due to stereotyped behaviors (cat crouching) and stress hormone release, less reactivity to pain, increased hear rate.


Fear conditioning starts with Pavlov who we’ve already studied. 

There is the unconditioned stimulus (US) then the Unconditioned response (UR)

There is the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the Conditioned response (CR)


Not only is fear conditioning strong, but it is long lasting (hard to extinguish)  And once seemingly extinguished, it can be recovered very quickly.


And we’ve discovered strange things early on.  Fear works better with certain objects.



There is a woman who had no memory.   There are such people who cannot create new memories.

They know everything that happened before the trauma, but afterwards can form no new memories.  If they work very hard to remember something they can for a little bit via heavy mneumonic strategies.  But if they are distracted for just a minute they forget and furthermore can’t remember trying to remember.


There is another famous guy H.M. who had an IQ of 118 after his accident.  He was told his father died and was sad for about thirty seconds and then forgot.


This suggests that there is a different system for remembering short and long term memories.


This one woman had such a disease and so could not remember her doctor.  He’d walk in and say hello and introduce himself and walk out of the room and back in and she, again, couldn’t remember having met him.


One day he put a pin in his hand.  And when he introduced himself jabbed her.  From then on she still didn’t know who he was, but wouldn’t shake his hand and couldn’t say why.


Fear memory is in the amygdala.


If one of these patients is taught a task, perhaps how to draw circles in squares using a mirror, they won’t remember practicing.  But they’ll get better.

Procedural memory gets stored in the cerebellum.

Factual memory is in the temporal lobe.

Episodic memory is every where.



A test done with amnesiacs is to teach them to recognize words that are backwards in a mirror. 

With practice you get better at this.  Even people that can’t remember ever having practiced it before are better after having practiced.


In another interesting study, amnesiacs were given a list of words to memorize.  They were then shown a list of the first 3 letters of the words. 


They did really poorly at guessing what MOT represented when just asked to recalll.  They alse did poorly when told to use the cues to help them remember the words.  But when told to just say the first word that comes to mind after seeing the cue, they did as well as normals.


Again implicit v. explicit memory is shown.



If you put a rat in a cage and you make a sound, it will orient towards the sound. 

After a while it won’t even look at the sound.

If you then pair the sound with shock, the sound alone will start to elicit the fear reaction.

There is a part of the cortex (the temporal lobe) that does hearing.   If you go from the ear to the cortex and sever stuff up.  You get to the place where they don’t hear anymore.  They don’t orient towards the sound.


This had no impact on the fear reaction.  So, not being conscious of the hearing did not affect the outcome!

Lowering to the thalamus and midbrain structures did interfere.  So the area that has the fear reaction is the amygdala.

By using neurotracers, we know that the “sound” goes from the ear to the auditory thalamus to the amygdala.  This also made sense because the amygdala has contact with areas that stimulate the autonomic nervous system.  And it was found that stimulating parts of it evoked the fear response.


It has now been found that differend parts of the amygdala do freezing, blood pressure, anxiety, stress hormones and startle reflex.  It has about 12 subregions.


So you get the “GUT FEELING”

If you have to choose to go to a party or not, you may have a gut feeling that is stronger than your intellect.

And, it may remember things that your conscious mind doesn’t remember?  If people tell you its silly, there is a really intelligent mode of understanding.


Think of how important emotion is to your understanding.  It is not dumber or silly it is profoundly necessary for us to make accurate decisions about the world.


The above suggests that emotional responses can occur without the involvement of the higher processing systems of the brain.

WHAT IF THE PERSON amygdala was just set too high?  A SHY PERSON.

WHAT IF THE amygdala was set too low?  A violent person.



The path to the amygdala is less perceptive, but it is faster.  This has survival value.  In a rat it takes twice as long for the sound to stimulate the amygdala as the auditory cortex.

You hear a sound and you freeze.  Later you determine if it is a branch falling or a bear. 


From the auditory thalamus, the signals go to the amygdala and the auditory cortex separately.


The auditory cortex’s job is to prevent the inappropriate response rather than to produce the appropriate one.


The amygdala thinks the stick is a snake.  The cortex keeps you from attacking the stick.

So you get a “first impression”


The cell assemblies to the cortex are stronger than the ones that go back to the amygdala.

WHAT IF A PERSON has a really big one from the amygdala to the frontal, but a small one going back?

Turretes syndrome.

WHAT IF A PERSON has a really small projection going to the frontal lobe, and a small one going back?

You’d get an intellectual.  One who had mastered their passions.



Suppose you were walking down the street and someone starts running at you.  Your amygdala will first create the fear response and your mind sort it out.  Suppose, though, that the person hits you and takes your purse.


You may later be afraid , not only of people running at you, but the whole street.  So if you are walking down that street you might be scared.


This has been studied by behaviorists.  If you place a rat in a box and pair shock with a sound.  The rat will also generally get aroused just in going into the box.


Evolutionarily, this is important.  If a rabbit wanders towards a foxhole and a fox comes out and attacks the rabbit, then it is useful if the rabbit learns to generalize not only from foxes, but the whole hole area.

The sight smell sound other stimuli that went along with the fox would be worthy of note.


The hippocamus is an area that receives information after it has already been pooled.  It creates a representation with meaning of the stimuli.


If you damage the hippocamus, then rats show no fear of the conditioning box, but will still respond to the specific CS.  The tone still works because the Stimulus could get to the amygdala directly.



They may not be able to make out subtle distinctions, when the amygdala sends fear.  Therefore, they may be racist.  A person that is belligerent and doesn’t listen to others opinions.



If you are driving and have a terrible accident and the horn gets stuck.  The next time you hear a horn both the explicit and the implicit memory systems might get stimulated.


The sound goes to the auditory cortex  to the hippocampal system.  This will dredge back all of the images that are associated with it.  It will remind you of the specifics and the general  knowledge.  But it will just be knowledge.  But this just has facts with no feeling.  It is not an emotional memory.


The sound will also go to the amygdala.  This will cause the emotional responses.


Suppose that this accident happened years ago.  Then the explicit memory may be gone, but the implicit memory may still be activated.  You may not even know why you are experiencing fear.  You will just feel it.


This again explains a freudian concept physiologically. 


This would need the implicit memory system to last longer than the explicit.  This seems to be the case  conditioned fear resoponses do not diminish over time.  Infact, they increase.  Whereas explicit memories die really quickly.



Animals have thought, but no words.  They exist with out them.  The fear programming we have looked at is in a part of the brain that all animals have.  What is it for animals to think?  What is it for them to know?


Look at intentionality.  Cats are not aware of themselves.  lowerer mondeys aren’t either.  Newer monkeys are aware.  THey can see themselves in mirrors. 


They are aware of eachother and make up trips and motives to fool eachother.  Again, words are much newer.


Again, the moveing of the language section shows that it is very new (evolutionarily). 



We overrate words as being equated with our thinking.  It isn’t.

-NEURONS (this is also known as a brain cell) PARTS-




they should know: Neurotransmitter, axon (cell body), dendrite, receptor, synapse.


A fruit fly has 100, 000 neurons.  A mouse has  5 million.  A monkey has 10 billion.  A human has around 100 billion.

-Neuron firing-

A neuron either fires or it doesn’t. 


the firing is electrical.  It does this by way of IONs.


There is a pump that pumps Potasium (K+) in and Sodium (Na+) out.  There is also leakage.  Much potasium leakes out, but much is pumped in.  Much Na is transported out, but nearly nothing leaks in.



So most of the time there is the restin potential which is a slight negative charge.


This is measured by sticking electrodes hooked to an amplifier and an oscilliscope on axons.


you can make it go up and down a little with electric charge.  But when you pass the threshold, a big flood happens.  THE SODIUM gates open and it floods in and you get a positive charge momentarily.  The restoration happens when potasium rushes out.  Then the pump gets all back to normal by reversing the process.


Scorpions work by keeping sodium channels open and closing the potassium channels. 

Local anesthesia does the opposite.  It closes the sodium channels so no change in voltage can happen.


Then you need a refractory period for it to regain its resting period.


It just happens at the nodes of closenes where joints in the myelinates sheets happen. Its like you are throwing a baseball from person to person.


Action potential goes and then floods the next area and then it pops.


And at the receiving end, at least 14 types  receptors exist.  (each needing different strength).

When the neurotransmitter is done it can be reuptaken or broken down and taken away.


This is where the effect of drugs happens.  The drugs can stop the reuptake, prevent the release, or increace the release or inhibit the intake.




Each nueron may recieve tens of thousands every second from other nuerons.  A nueron may have up to 100,000 synapses  If a few fire slowly or many fire quickly, this is the difference between a slight breeze and a football in the head. 


There are dozens of neurotransmitters that have been discovered.  In the 1960s only 50% of the people studying the brain thought that it was chemical electricity, not electrical electicity.  This stuff is so new.



The brain cells sprout axons in the desire to survive.  If they find no matchup they die.  The when they find a kindrid receptor they sprout dendrites.

This is why psychoactive drugs take a few weeks.  The dendrites have to sprout.


Each neuron has multiple dendrites that receive thousands of synaptic contacts from many others.

There are paths to its wiring though.  Ones from A may only go to W and Z  Ones from C only to Y and Z.


These paths are called cell assemblies


Cells that fire together are wired together.  These connections are called “Cell Assemblies


If you sew a new kittens eye shut at birth for a few weeks, the neurons will go over to help the other eye.  When the eye is opened, it is too late.  The other eye sees better.


If speech areas of the brain are damaged.   Other areas can take over.


Also, thought changes the brain and the brain changes.  Braile readers have big right finger areas on the parietal lobe.  And blind folks are bigger than non blinds.


If a cell is firied over and over it gets glutamate on its receptors.  This lets neurotransmitters in easier and gives a lower threshhold for firing.  This can create a string between neurons.  This is believed to be the anatomy of a thought.


Where is thought?  The atom, the area, the neurotransmitter? image processing?  Limbic?



In order to achieve a mature brain, 2.5 million neurons per minute are generated during prenatal life. 


At birth the baby has about 50 trillion connections. 

At 8 months old a baby’s brain has about1000 trillion connections!

After that they decline.  Half are gone in 10 years.  The 500 trillion last through life.

This over generation is probably there to ensure that the brain cannot adapt to any situation it finds itself in.


These are more complex cells that any others.  There are more genes turned on in them than almost anyother.   As where a kidney can replace its cells, it is nearly imposible for a brain cell to be replaced.


Adults lose 50,000 neurons a day and they don’t come back.  As an adult we lose about 10%.

Some neurotransmitters stimulate and some inhibit.


When the reaction happens areas of the dendrite contract and others open and neurotransmitters come out.  Not lock and key, but a living organism.   


Environmental Effects


The brain generates many more cells than it needs and then trims back to what it needs when it finds out what is used or isn’t used. 


This can be seen in language acquisition.  If the child gets a second language then the brain wires these and they stay.  If not, the brain doesn’t and it is very difficult to learn and impossible without an accent.


The number of connections can go up or down from 500 trillion by 25%.  If you give one rat a stimulating environment and another a plain laboratory cage, the stimulated one will have 25% more connections.


This depends on how stimulating an environment the child grows up in!!!  The second big die off, after year 3 happens around the age of 12.


These effects are long lasting.  Craig Ramey of U of Alabama exposed six week olds to  an enriched environment.  And didn’t do so to another group.  After 12 years the IQs of the stimulated kids were higher .   50% of those who did not receive intervention failed one or more grades by the age of 12.  Only 13% of the stimulated ones did.


Many children are suffering from “time poverty”.  Not only are women working more than ever, but men are working longer hours.  Kids are often left with the tv.


50% of mothers with children under one year old work outside of the home.  A 3 - 5 month break after birth is standard.


This process happens until death.  As you get very old, your axons die off, but if you keep challenging yourself mentally then dendrite connections continue to grow.


However, the size of you dendrites do change.  If rats are kept for one month or longer in large cages, in groups of 10 to 12, with a constant changing variety of objects for them to explore, they develope more glial cells and wider dendritic branches.



Newborn animals that are deprived of nurturing by their mothers become dysfunctional and antisocial.


This can even be effected before birth by stressing the rat during pregnancy.

The baby rats look normal but have more adrenaline in them.


On the other hand if the mother is more caring the baby will have less stress hormones.


If a puppy mother is taken away for 15 minutes a day she gives extra care during her return time.  These pups have less stress hormones.


Separated rats go into survival mode.  They conserve food and energy in their bodies stop growing.  Stress hormones supress cell division.


Pups being licked by their mothers or not determines their growth rate. If they are licked it is a sign to the baby that nourishment will be there. Swabbing the baby with a wet paint brush does the same thing.


Human babies do the same.  Premature babies not touched grow at 12 - 17 grams a day.  Less than half they have in the womb.


Touching and rubbing, with the same diet, raises that to about 30 grams a day.  They can leave the hospital  6 -7 days earlier.



Stress releases norepinephrine (adrenaline).  Its release is controlled by the hypothalamus.  It affects the frontal lobe and the hippocampus. 


It also releases cortisol, which turns protein into glucose and make fats available for energy.  Almost every cell in the body has receptors for this. So stress can effect every cell in the body.


The long term effect includes  high blood pressure, damage to muscle tissue, infertility, inhibition of growth and suppression of the immune system.  It can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  Children who are stressed alot don’t reach their full heigth.


Stress definitely has an effect on the hippocamus.  Cortisol destroys neurons in the hippocampus by destroying their access to sugar.  This is aggravated by slowed blood flow, which is common in aged people.    Less blood flows and the sugars are synthesized from it less easily and neurons die.

This aggravates memory loss in older people.


Remember that it is involved in  memory.  Studying baboons in Africa it was found that those low on the pecking order had higher levels of stress hormones and major shrinkage in the hippocampus.  In fact many of them died due to stresss related illness and in some the hipppocampus was completely destroyed.


People with major depression have also been shown to have smaller hippocamuses.  Those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood sexual abuse have the same symptom.


stress can cause more receptors in fear areas and create cell assemblies.  Then along comes a lesser stress and the memory is reinforced.  Eventually it gets strong enough to fire on its own.


People that have had too much adrenaline too young  may misinterpret visual cues.  They snap easier, have higher blood pressure and are more impulsive.


 In poor Chicago neighborhoods 74 percent of students have witnessed a murder, shooting, stabbing or robbery.  Half were victims of rape, robbery or violent assault.


You can end up with populations that are verbally impoverished and yet rich in stressful experiences.



What is cause?  We can look at what caused schizophrenia like what caused pnemonia.  Well, it could be the presence in the air of the germ.  But lots don’t succumb to it.  Then it could be another disease that lets it in.  Or it could be their smoking or old age.  Once in it effects different areas.  Not everyone gets it the same way.  So it is hard to describe what “causes” “it”  .  But we should say it is multifactorial (which tells us nearly nothing).  But nature and nurture interact.


SCHIZOPHRENIA - multiple causes

Neurotransmitter level.  This is associated with having too much dopamine in the limbic system.  The cure blocks dopamine receptors, then they shrivel up.    




There are brain banks and they found that schitzo brains have too many dopamine receptors.  But only in 10 out of 12 brains.


But also, on a gross level, their ventricles are too big.  This means that other areas have shrunken.  But which and why?


5% of parents and 10% of siblings have schitzophrenia.  One percent of the population at large.

Genetic level.  In identical twins, 50% cooccurrence rate.


Then there is the latitude effect.  Schizophrenia is more common and terminal in people who spent their childhood in areas far from the equator.  The same is true of multiple sclerosis.  And people born in late winter and early spring are more likely to develop it (especially females whose mother’s were in their second trimester in winter or early spring).


There is also the influenza effect.  That is people whose parents had influenza are more likely to get it.  So many hypothesize that there is a viral component.


Antipsychotic drugs-

These block the activity of dopamine.  The main drug to do so is chlorpromazine (sold as thorazine).    It gets rid of bizarre behavior, delusions, and halluciations.  It doesn’t simply drug them, it gets rid of their symptoms. 


Better yet, Chlorpromazine often has the effect of calming those previously rowdy and exciting those previously sedate into action.


Schizophrenics can then oftentimes go home.  But antipsychotic drugs don’t help 1/3 of all psychotics.


But unfortunately they can produce dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, blurreed vision, constipation and impotence.

Unfortunately, prolonged use can lead to problems in balance and coordination and produce tremors and twitches.  Thses are parkinsons like  symptoms. 


Clozapine, a  newer drug doesn’t have the all these negative side effects.  But it is expensive and can rarely cause a lethal blood disorder.


Other drugs can create the symptoms of schitophrenia: Amphetamines and cocaine prevent the uptake of dopamine in the synapses.


In 1972 there was a study where folks were given  large doses of amphetamines ever hour for up to 5 days.  All seven volunteers became psychotic with in 2 to 5 days.  Parnoia and auditory halusinations and other controlling their thoughts.


Antidepressant Drugs-

the most common one of these is called Prozac.


Antidepressants work by increasing the amount of one or both of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin.  This is done by inhibiting  their reuptake. 


Prozac just does seratonin.  It has less side effects than other anti depressants.  They are similar to the side effects of drinking a lot of coffee.  Headaches, nervousness, diahrea and trouble falling asleep.


60-70% recover from depression in several weeks and if they don’t work there are other anti depressants (zoloft and praxil) that still might.


These take weeks to add up.

But after they’ve worked their magic, you can stop taking them and the symptoms stay gone for many people (6 months to a year).  They are non-addictive.


This works best in conjunction with cognitive therapy or psychotherapy (working out issues). With proper therapy 80-90% get better.


Severely depressed people need more immediate care.  For this ECT or electroconvulsive therapy works within days. 15% of severely depressed folks kill themselves.  so this procedure, being the fastest, could be a life saver.  If people are severely depressed or don’t respond to medication this is recommended.


Also, depression doesn’t respond to amphetamines or cocaine.  It seems to be a different system. 

Evidence of the biological nature of depression is that women suffer from it more than men.



This is the treatment for manic depressive disorder.  It is a salt.  It doesn’t help unipolar depression.  It doesn’t dull you intellectually and it allows normal expression of emotion.


The biggest problem with litium is compliance.  Some miss the rush of intensity and feel cured and go off of it.


We don’t know why it works.


Panic attacks-

Panic attacks can be induced, usually, in people that already suffer from them in a number of ways.  Having them breath carbon monoxide or injuecting them with lactic acid. 


Just before a panic attack, the sides of the frontal lobes go on really heavily.


The most common drugs used are called benodiazepines.  They stimulate an inhibitory neurotransmitter called GABA (amma-aminobuutyric acid) in th ebrain. 


Unfortunately high doses make you drowsy (espectially in the 1st weeks of treatment), can be fatal when mixed with much alcohol, and are addictive (2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms can occur).


But with 70 - 90% of people it reduces or completely prevents panic attacks.  It also stops it from progressing into agoraphobia. 


The serious antidepressents that stimulate nerepherine, as well as stop seratonin reuptake, are used.


Cognitive therapy that looks at the chain of thoughts that triggers the attack, behavior therapy that keeps you away from the places that trigger it and psychotherapy that helps you deal with the feelings that the attack’s disruption of your life caused are good augmentors.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-

20% of those who have it have a family member with it and is strongly linked with tourettes syndrome. .   The main drug of choice for this is also prozac.  But other harsher seretonin reuptake inhibitors are also used.


It is effective for 50 - 80% of OCD sufferers.  But when we say effective we mean 30 - 70 of symptoms go away.  Some become symptom free.


It is best used in conjunction with behavior therapy.  This is very sucessful, but many drop out because it involves facing what you fear.


Behavior therapy works for 60-90% of sufferers.  But, it takes a long time and a lot of work.  There is a 50-80% symptom reduction.  But, again, there is a 25% dropout rate.


Those who just do drug therapy relapse once of the drug.  If they do behavior therapy with it they keep their gains.


These can also be induced by damage to the basal ganglia, cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex.  Destroying some routes out of the cinfulate gyrus have cured OCD.



Those afflicted are restless, have no patience, need constant stimulation, take unnerving risks and blurt out the first thing that comes to mind without considering the consequences.


The disease leaves many at adolescence, but 50 - 70% continute to have life-affecting symptoms as adults.


Many are undiagnosed, these folks just think they are lazy, ditzy scatter-brained, self-centered immature people. 

Such folks have a difficult time maintaining relationships, don’t do well in school, don’t hold jobs long, abuse drugs, get in trouble with the law and/or commit suicide.


A nother common correlary is low self esteem.


There is no biological marker for ADD that is known.    Studies have shown decreased electrical action and reduced blood flow and size in the  to the right frontal cortex.  And 40% have a parent with it and 35% a sibling with it.  55-92% of identical twins have it in common (11-18 times more likely to have it).  And it is not linked to sugar eating.  20% may be due to drinking or smoking by parents.


It is subjectively  prescribed. 

Perhaps diagnosis is up because demands on children have gone up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


RITALIN is prescribed for 3 year olds.   It is a stimulant (increases dopamine levels).  It has the opposite effect on children as adults.  Because it stimulates the areas that give one self controlover  impusles.  It works within thirty minutes to an hour after taking it andworks for 3 - 4 hours.  It, therefore, must be taken 3 -4 times a day.  There are some single dose a day alternatives, but they don’t work for all.


The most common side effects are weightloss, insomnia, nausea and loss of appetite.  There is no feeling of sedation. 


Medication works about 80% of the time.  Behavior modification can teach people new ways of behaving with their newfound extra time.  Making schedules, lists that are prioritized, calendars. 

Psychotherapy may also be necessary for a  person that’s had depression and  low self esteem their whole life.  Some just use ritalin until they master behavior modification techniques.


Some say up to 17% are on it(One area of West Virginia)  Blacks and Asians never take it. 

 Whites have run for ritalin, NAACP worked to stop add from bing called a mental disorder.  90% of the world’s ritalin is eaten by  Americans.


Drug addiction-

With time, the receptors get less and less responsive.

Opiates activate Dopaminergic in the brain’s rewards system “The ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens.


cocaine and amphetamines block dopamine reuptake.  Amphetamines, in addition, stimulate dopamine release.


rats and monkeys do a lot of repetetive behavior (grooming and shaking) with amphetamines and will self stimulate to death 3 times more often than heroin rats.  The sensitivity to amphetamines stays with you  for weeks.


Nicotine claimed the life of Freud.  He continued to smoke even after most of his jaw had been removed due to cancer.


thc’s receptors are fully mapped out.  We don’t know what they are doing there.  But many are in the hippocampal area so effecting short term memory and ability to follow threads of thought without getting lost.  They also release dopamine in the hippocampal area.



The neurons live off of glucose that comes from the blood.  They need Vitamin B1 (thiamine) to process the glucose. Generally stuff cannot get into the brain from the blood.  The active elements in drugs you know are fat soluble and so do melt into the brain.







Drugs and transplants will give folks the freedom to alter themselves.  This might seem to not be kosher.  People should be who they are. 

But we don’t get objections to alzheimers treatments, anti psychotic drugs. 

Some “normal” persons get so frightened of speaking in public they won’t.  This limits them. We have drugs that will cure that.

Is that good?

And we will be able soon to change many of our values.  Workaholics, anorexics and various seekers of one kind of “perfection” or another will have available to them the chemical means of working longer and harder, eating less, and achieving more .


 If we can give people neurotransmitters they aren’t depressed, they feel better about themselves.


This will change our ideas of right and wrong.

A frontal lobe deficiency of serotonin creates a tendancy towards violence.  It makes animals attack. 

Do criminals with very little then have an excuse?  Suicide also is tied to decreases levels of seratonin.

Are good and evil just to do with neurotransmitter imbalances.


We can also tell brain types by which neurotransmitters the brain reacts to.  This may someday be the way we describe eachother. 


†here is an area of the brain which is different sized in hetero and homo sexual males.  What are the implications of this?  Is it a disease?  Gays would rather have it be biological.  Anti gay groups mostly environmental. 


What of criminals?  If its biological its.... 


Psychiatry is said to have changed psychology  from blaming the mother to blaming the brain

discuss the implications of heredity and non heredity with Homosexuals and Criminals.


Non-immediate future

We have medications for concentration difficulties (ADD).  They can then concentrate and score high.  Is that fair? Chicken embryo transplant into a quail.


Brain cells from one species can be put into another.  In 1982 scientists created “supermice’  They put rat growth hormones genes into mouse eggs.  They created mice who grew 2 to 3 times faster than normal mice and ended up twice the size.  They could also pass this size to their offspring.


They can tell what a monkey is going to do by action in its frontal cortex.  Perhaps more mind reading is on the way. 


Also people are connecting things to the electical energy generated.


And whether you have a boy or a girl in advance is already a choice.  In the future we may be able to select for other traits.

Ad Infinitum

there is so much more to be learned about the structures of the brain, but much is mapped out.

The Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research has found that heredity accounts for :


Tendency  to worry, 55 percent.  Individuals who inherit one form of a gene on chromosome 17 are more likely to worry (NIH).  If mother and father both have the predisposition to worry it will reinforce the tendency in the baby.  Making it more than 55%.

creativity, 55%

conformity 60%

aggressiveness, 48%,

extroversion 61%.




-recap of philosophical implications-

We can now design a really simple robot that goes away from objects that are hot, or big.  When they get within a certain tempature or size if a proportion of their camera field, they turn and run.


When we see them we infer that they are “afraid “ they aren’t courageous. 

How about us?  Do we just infer a mind.  Is there a there there?


At that moment that you see grandmother, is it a conscious perception or just an involuntary conclusion come to by a preprogrammed processor?