Unit IIIA - Neural Processing and the Endocrine System - pages 51-65

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APA Content Standards Area: Biological Bases of Behavior

After concluding this unit, students understand:
1. Structure and function of the nervous system in human and non-human animals
2. Structure and function of the endocrine system
3. The interaction between biological factors and experience
4. Methods and issues related to biological advances
Content Standard 1: Structure and function of the nervous system in human and non-human animals
1.1 Identify the major divisions and subdivisions of the human nervous system.
1.2 Identify the parts of the neuron and describe the basic process of neural transmission.
1.3 Differentiate between the structures and functions of the various parts of the central nervous system.
1.4 Describe lateralization of brain functions.
1.5 Discuss the mechanisms of, and the importance of, plasticity of the nervous system.
Content Standard 2: Structure and function of the endocrine system
2.1 Describe how the endocrine glands are linked to the nervous system.
2.2 Describe the effects of hormones on behavior and mental processes.

Key Terms

Biological psychology neuron
Sensory neurons motor neurons
Interneurons dendrite
Axon myelin sheath
Action potential threshold
Synapse synapse
Neurotransmitter reuptake
Endorphins acetylcholine
Dopamine serotonin
Norepinephrine GABA
Glutamate nervous system (NS)
Central NS Peripheral NS
Nerves somatic nervous system
Autonomic nervous system sympathetic nervous system
Parasympathetic nervous system reflex
Endocrine system hormones
Adrenal glands pituitary gland

Mini-Unit Outline and Key Terms

Introducing Biological Bases of Behavior

The Incredible Case of Phineas Gage

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You will view the following video on this incredible story. As you watch, keep a list of Gage's personality traits before and after the accident.

Personality before the Accident

Personality after the accident

After the video answer the following:

- Why is Phineas Gage’s story important to the study of the brain in psychology?

- How did Phineas Gage change after the accident?

- How did Phineas Gage’s accident change scientists’ understanding of the brain?

- What else changes personality?

Rock out to the Phineas Gage song!

Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient
from Slate.com, May 6 2014

Neural Communication

The root like part of the cell that stretches out from the cell body. Dendrites will receive messages from other neurons by grabbing on to neurotransmitters (chemicals we will talk about soon).
Soma (cell body)
Contains the nucleus (brain) of the cell. Tells the cell to fire of not to fire.
Wire like structure that extends from the soma to the axon terminal buttons. It is like a highway in which the messages will travel down the neuron.
Myelin Sheath
A fatty layer of tissue that surrounds the axon. It helps speed up neural impulses.
Axon Terminal Buttons
The branches at the end of the axon that contain neurotransmitters and send them shooting across the synapse. They also suck up excess neurotransmitter in a process called reuptake.
Chemicals contained in the terminal buttons that enable neurons to communicate. Neurotransmitters fit into receptor cells on the dendrites on other neurons like a key in a lock.
The space in between neurons (neurons never touch each other).

A. Neurons

Build a neuron
Virtual neuron

Mnemonics for Neurotransmitters: EXAMPLES

Dopamine: I want that – it’s mine! Dopamine carries messages about pleasure (not a great example)
Epinephrine: Epipen – needed for an emergency, gives a shot of adrenaline
Endorphin – Picture a dolphin who feels no pain at all. Endorphins block pain messages
GABA – Get A Break Adjustment – leading inhibitory neurotransmitter
Glutamate – You are glued to your mate – your new boyfriend or girlfriend. Glutate is the leading excitatory neurotransmitter
Seratonin – Think of a rotten tone, or being in a rotten mood. Seratonin regulates moods.

Now generate your own!

Neurotransmitter song done by a student

B. How Neurons Communicate

Action Potential Cartoon
Silly interactive review of the process

Synapses and Neurotransmission Review
Test yourself

The more you know: explore the following websites on neurons:
Divisions of the Nervous System
Interesting Facts about Neurons
How Neurons Talk to Each Other
Neurotransmitter Tutorial
Make a Mad Neuron!

Mouse Party - your brain on drugs

C. How Neurotransmitters Influence Us

PsychSim5: Neural Messages
Click through the information on this website and answer the questions below:

The Nervous System

Central Nervous System.jpg
A. The Peripheral Nervous System
- All nerves that are not encased in bone
- Everything but the brain and spinal cord
- Two parts: somatic and autonomic

  • Somatic
- control voluntary muscle movement
- uses motor (efferent) neurons

  • Autonomic
- controls the automatic functions of the body
- two parts: sympathetic and parasympathetic

-Fight or flight response
- accelerates heart rate, breathing, dilates pupils, slows down digestion

- automatically slows the body down after a stressful event
- heart rate and breathing slow down, pupils constrict and digestion speeds up

B. The Central Nervous System
-The brain and spinal cord

The Endocrine System


Neuroscientists are able to read our minds!

Review of Unit 3A - Crash Course The Chemical Mind

Are you a risk taker? Quiz
Post your results on your virtual notebook. What do you think? Do you agree/disagree?

The Teenage BrainPrintable Copy of the Teenage Brain

Day 1
Do Now: True/Fact statements for Unit 3A (teachers resource binder)
- Case study: Phineus Gage video
- Notes on neurons, diagram
-Neurotransmitters: mnemonic devices, create own and share
-Flushing a toilet example - metaphor for firing a neuron
HW: 51-59

Day 2
Do Now: Page 58 ask yourself question
- Video of neurotransmitters
- Central nervous system notes - drug video clip
- Create own neuron firing demo/drawing with a partner
HW: 60-67

Day 3
Do Now: Practice quiz
-Disorders of the nervous system notes
- Neuroplasticity video
- Types of brain scans - video, discuss
HW: Finish unit 3A notes, quiz on 3A