The Neural Control of Behavior
Gray (Peter)
Source: Gray (Peter) - Psychology, Chapter 5
Paper - Abstract

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Learning Objectives

After completing Chapter 5, students should be able to:

  1. Explain how an action potential is produced, and discuss the factors that affect an axon’s conduction speed.
  2. Describe fast synaptic transmission, including the role of neurotransmitters at excitatory and inhibitory synapses, and explain how slow synaptic transmission differs.
  3. Describe how brain imaging is being used to study brain activity
  4. Describe how motor neurons, interneurons, and sensory neurons differ from each other in structure, function, and prevalence
  5. Compare the structure and function of the autonomic and skeletal motor systems, including the sympathetic and parasympathetic portions of the autonomic system.
  6. Discuss the structure and functions of the spinal cord.
  7. Describe the functions of the brainstem and thalamus, and explain how the cerebellum and the basal ganglia are functionally complementary though anatomically distinct.
  8. Discuss the functions of the limbic system, and describe three ways by which the hypothalamus controls the body’s internal environment.
  9. Explain the principle of topographic organization of the cerebral cortex.
  10. Explain the functions of the premotor and supplementary motor areas of the cerebral cortex in skilled actions, and the role of the association areas in the control of movement.
  11. Explain, from an evolutionary perspective, why the nervous system is viewed as a hierarchy of movement-control mechanisms.
  12. Discuss the functional asymmetry of the cortex, citing examples, and explain what research with split-brain patients has shown about the abilities of the left and right hemispheres.
  13. Differentiate between Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasias1, and explain what these conditions reveal about the brain’s involvement in language.
  14. Discuss research evidence that neurons may be modified by experience, referring to studies of monkeys, and humans, and discuss the role of long-term potentiation in learning.
  15. Compare hormones and neurotransmitters, explain how the brain controls the action of hormones, and describe how hormones affect behavior.
  16. Describe three ways in which drugs can alter activity at a synapse, and interpret drug effects in terms of the hierarchical model of behavior control.


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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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