Chapter 2: Biological Basis of Behaviour

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109 Terms

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instinctual behaviours

behaviours that are hard-coded and shaped by genetics

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adaptive traits

traits or behaviours that have been selected for because they promote reproductive success

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heritability

the proportion of variation in a trait/phenotype that is due to variation in the genotype

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epigenetics

changes that affect how genes work that don’t involve changing the actual nucleotide content

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methylation

mechanism of epigenetics in which a methyl group is added to nucleotides, which silences the gene (shuts down expression)

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first trimester

stage of pregnancy in which the major structures of the fetus are forming

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second trimester

stage of pregnancy in which the fetus’s major organs/structures have formed and growing is the main priority

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third trimester

stage of pregnancy in which the fetus grows and finalizes preparations for the outside world

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patellar reflex

reflex in which your leg will jerk in response to your knee being hit

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palmar grasp reflex

reflex in babies where if you stroke the palm of their hand, they will grab onto your finger

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rooting reflex

feeding reflex in babies where if a baby’s mouth or cheek is touched by something, it will search for the object that brushed by it

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sucking reflex

feeding reflex in babies where if something grazes a baby’s mouth, it will automatically start making sucking motions

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Moro reflex

reflex in babies in which they startle in response to sudden movement or loud sounds by extending their arms and legs, pulling them back in, and throwing their head back before crying

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Babinski reflex

reflex in babies in which if the bottom of their foot is stroked, they will extend their toes outward

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adolescence

transition from childhood to adulthood

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puberty

process of biological changes that happen during adolescence

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endocrine system

network of organs distributed throughout the body that secrete signalling molecules (hormones) into the bloodstream

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direct hormones

signalling molecules that cause their target cells to make direct changes in some physiological function

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tropic hormones

signalling molecules that cause their target cells to release hormones

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hypothalamus

structure in the endocrine system that converts input from the nervous system into endocrine signals, also releases various tropic hormones

**releases GnRH, CRF, and TRH

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GnRH

tropic hormone that travels from the hypothalamus to the anterior pituitary to trigger the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) → tropic hormone that stimulates the release of the hormones that regulate reproduction

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CRF

tropic hormone that travels from the hypothalamus to the anterior pituitary to trigger the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

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ACTH

tropic hormone that travels from the anterior pituitary to the adrenal glands to trigger the release of cortisol

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TRH

tropic hormone that travels from the hypothalamus to the anterior pituitary to trigger the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which promotes thyroid hormone to be released by the thyroid gland

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anterior pituitary gland

structure in the endocrine system that is located below the hypothalamus and receives hypothalamic hormonal input through the hypophyseal portal system

**releases LH, FSH, ACTH, TSH, prolactin, endorphins, and growth hormone

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hypophyseal portal system

system of blood vessels connecting the hypothalamus to the anterior pituitary in the endocrine system

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posterior pituitary gland

structure in the endocrine system that receives input from the hypothalamus in the form of neuronal signals

**releases ADH and oxytocin

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thyroid gland

structure in the endocrine system found in the throat that releases calcitonin and thyroid hormone

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adrenal glands

structures in the endocrine system found on top of the kidneys and divided into two distinct portions (cortex and medulla)

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adrenal cortex

portion of the adrenal gland that secretes steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids and cortisol

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adrenal medulla

portion of the adrenal gland that secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are involved in the acute stress response

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ovaries

structures in the endocrine system that release estrogen

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testes

structures in the endocrine system that release testosterone

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oxytocin

hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland that has roles in uterine contractions, social bonding, and mood

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prolactin

hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland that has roles in lactation and modulating the stress response, anxiety, and depression

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melatonin

hormone secreted by the pineal gland of the brain that has roles in inducing sleep

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leptin

hormone involved in hunger that reduces hunger and tells the body to stop eating → primarily released by adipose/fat cells and acts on the hypothalamus

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ghrelin

hormone involved in hunger that promotes hunger → released by cells in the gastrointestinal tract and acts on the hypothalamis

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neuropeptide Y

hormone involved in hunger that stimulated appetite to increase food intake

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epinephrine

hormones secreted by the adrenal medulla that are responsible for the acute stress (fight or flight) response

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cortisol

hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex that is responsible for the chromic/long-term stress response

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thyroid hormone

hormone released by the thyroid gland that has roles in metabolism and neurological development

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hypothyroidism

condition in which abnormally low levels of thyroid hormone cause fatigue and depression

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hyperthyroidism

condition in which abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone cause irritability

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reflex arcs

simple neural pathways that control reflexes

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neurons

cells of the nervous system

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depolarization

increase in electric potential (potential becomes less negative)

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synapse

space between one neuron and another neuron or its target cell

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sensory neurons

neurons that carry information about stimuli to the central nervous system

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afferent neurons

sensory neurons

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motor neurons

neurons that carry signals to react from the central nervous system to the target cell

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efferent neurons

motor neurons

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excitatory neurotransmitters

neurotransmitters that depolarize the target neuron → making it more likely to generate an action potential

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inhibitory neurotransmitters

neurotransmitters that hyperpolarize the target neuron → making it less likely to generate an action potential

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acetylcholine

neurotransmitter responsible for activating muscle contraction at the neuromuscular junction and has a role in the ‘rest-digest’ functions of the parasympathetic nervous system

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glutamate

excitatory neurotransmitter → depolarizes postsynaptic neurons to push them closer to the action potential threshold

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GABA

inhibitory neurotransmitter → hyperpolarizes postsynaptic neurons to push them further away from the action potential threshold

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dopamine

neurotransmitter involved in reward pathways and mediating certain motor functions

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serotonin

neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation, appetite, sleep, and regulation of intenstinal movement in the gastrointestinal tract

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endorphins

neurotransmitters that suppress pain and can cause a euphoric response

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norepinephrine

neurotransmitter involved in the acute stress (fight or flight) response, allowing the heart rate and blood pressure to elevate → involved in the autonomic nervous system

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epinephrine

neurotransmitter with similar roles and effects to norepinephrine

**also called adrenaline

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agonist

compound that activates a certain receptor, causing some kind of response

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antagonist

compound that bind to a receptor, blocking it, so that it is not activated and no response is triggered

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central nervous system

system that consists of the brain and spinal cord

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peripheral nervous system

section of the nervous system containing everything but the brain and spinal cord

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somatic nervous system

section of the peripheral nervous system that is responsible for carrying out voluntary activities

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autonomic nervous system

section of the peripheral nervous system that is responsible for unconscious activities

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sympathetic nervous system

section of the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for the fight or flight (acute stress) response

**dilates pupils and bronchioles, raises heart rate, and inhibits the activity of the digestive organs

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parasympathetic nervous system

section of the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for the rest and digest response

**constricts pupils and bronchioles, reduces heart rate, and stimulates the activity of the digestive organs

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enteric nervous system

section of the autonomic nervous system that regulates the activity of the gut

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hindbrain

part of the central nervous system consisting of the cerebellum, pons, and medulla oblongata

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midbrain

part of the central nervous system consisting of the substantia nigra, superior colliculus, and inferior colliculus

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brainstem

part of the central nervous system consisting of the midbran, medulla oblongata, and pons

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forebrain

part of the central nervous system consisting of the diencephalon and the telencephalon

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diencephalon

part of the central nervous system consisting of the thalamus, hypothalamus, posterior pituitary gland, and pineal gland

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cerebellum

structure in the hindbrain responsible for coordinated movement

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medulla oblongata

structure in the hindbrain responsible for autonomic functions (ie. breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure)

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pons

structure in the hindbrain that acts as a relay station to coordinate signals from the hindbrain and the rest of the brain → also involved in sleep, respiration, swallowing, taste, bladder control, and balance

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inferior colliculus

structure in the midbrain that helps process auditory information

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superior colliculus

structure in the midbrain that helps process visual input

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substantia nigra

structure in the midbrain responsible for using dopamine to help coordinate voluntary movements

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reticular activating system

complex set of structures in the brain stem that is responsible for alertness and arousal

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thalamus

structure in the forebrain that relays sensory and motor signals and regulates sleep and alertness

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hypothalamus

bridge between the nervous and endocrine systems

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hippocampus

structure in the brain that consolidates short term memory into long term memory

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basal ganglia

group of subcortical nuclei that is involves in procedural and habitual learning as well as eye and other voluntary movements

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limbic system

group of structures involved in emotion, memory, and motivation → made of the hypothalamus, thalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala

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amygdala

structure in the brain that is involved in episodic memory, attention, and emotion

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nucleus accumbens

structure in the brain that is involved in reward, motivation, and learning

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frontal lobe

lobe involved in voluntary movement, memory processing, planning, motivation, and attention

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parietal lobe

lobe involved in sensory processing

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occipital lobe

lobe involved in vision

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temporal lobe

lobe involved in meaning, making visual memories, attaching meaning to information, and language

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broca’s area

structure in the frontal lobe of the brain that is involved in language production

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wernicke’s area

structure in the temporal lobe that is involved in language comprehension

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ventral

side of the spine that motor/efferent neurons are found

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dorsal

side of the spine that sensory/afferent neurons are found

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cervical spine

seven vertebrae in your neck

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thoracic spine

twelve vertebrae in your middle back

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