The brain is made up of an estimated 100 billion neurons, and each neuron can have thousands of connections to other neurons. Additionally, there are an estimated 10 times the number of glial cells (support cells) as there are neurons, lending to an extremely complex system of communication in the brain. How is this complex network of neurons in the brain key to the brainâ€“behavior relationship? Discuss the process of information transfer within the brain and between the brain and the body. What types of developmental problems (emotional, cognitive, or physical) do you think could result from disruption of neural systems during childhood?
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Neurons are the messengers that send messages from the brain to coordinate movement, chemical release, and other functions within the body. Nothing occurs without a neuron delivering a message from the brain. Since these little neurons travel from the nervous system to the brain, it impacts the brain-behavior relationship. The brain processes the message that the neurons transmit and based off the reaction, different neural responses could occur. For instance, if a message to the brain triggers a lot of adrenaline, perhaps a violent or heated reaction could occur as a result of the brain interpreted the message from the complex system of neurons (Agnati et. al., 2006).
Since neurons are so complex and the resulting action is so important, I think it is fair to state that any interruption in neural activity could cause developmental issues. For instance, if a child is trying to learn, and someone keeps yelling, the child may get aggravated due to lack of concentration. They couldn’t complete their thoughts, and the full message was not delivered, and therefore cannot be processed in the best way. Perhaps a negative response trains their nervous system to react in a certain way the next time a similar situation occurs. I think that physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental problems. Depending on whatever messages are not being delivered correctly, that it could effect any aspect of development.
Agnati, L., Leo, G., Genedani, S., Rivera, A., Fuxe, K., Zanard, S., & Gvidolin, D. (2006). Volume transmission and wiring transmission from cellular to molecular networks: History and perspectives. Acta Physiologica, 329-344.
The brain has billions of neurons, and they have many specific jobs. For example, sensory neurons send information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain. Motor neurons carry messages away from the brain to the rest of the body. All neurons, pass on information to each other through a complex electrochemical process, making connections that affect the way we think, learn, move, and behave (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
As we grow and learn, information travels from one neuron to another over and over, creating connections in the brain. For example, when someone first learns how to drive, it takes a lot of concentration, but after they have been driving for a while, it becomes second nature to them. When we are young, our brain is very adaptable. In fact, when one part of a child’s brain is injured, another part can learn to take over some of the lost function. When we get older our brain has to work harder to make new neural connections, making it harder to master new tasks or change set behavior patterns (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Memory is another complex function of the brain. The things we’ve done, learned, and seen are first processed in the cortex. If one senses that this information is important enough to remember forever, it’s passed on to other areas of the brain (such as the hippocampus and amygdala) for long-term storage and recovery. As these messages travel through the brain, they create pathways that serve as the source of memory (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Movement: Different parts of the cerebrum move different body parts. The left side of the brain controls the movements of the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the movements of the left side of the body (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
Basic body functions: A part of the peripheral nervous system called the autonomic nervous system controls many of the body processes we almost never need to think about, like breathing, digestion, sweating, and shivering (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
The autonomic nervous system has two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for sudden stress. When something frightening happens, the sympathetic nervous system makes the heart beat faster so that it sends blood quickly to the different body parts that might need it. It also causes the adrenal glands at the top of the kidneys to release adrenaline, a hormone that helps give extra power to the muscles for a quick getaway. This process is known as the body’s “fight or flight” response. The parasympathetic nervous system prepares the body for rest. It also helps the digestive tract move along so our bodies can efficiently take in nutrients from the food we eat (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000).
Sight: Sight can tell us a lot about the world than any other sense. Light entering the eye forms an upside-down image on the retina. The retina changes the light into nerve signals for the brain. The brain then turns the image right-side-up and tells us what we are seeing (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Hearing: The sounds we hear are the result of sound waves entering our ears and making our eardrums vibrate. These vibrations then move along the tiny bones of the middle ear and turned into nerve signals. The cortex processes these signals, telling us what we’re hearing (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Taste: The tongue contains small groups of sensory cells called taste buds that react to chemicals in foods. Taste buds react to sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and appetizing. The taste buds send messages to the areas in the cortex responsible for processing taste (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Smell: Olfactory cells in the mucous membranes lining each nostril react to chemicals we breathe in and send messages along specific nerves to the brain (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Touch: The skin contains millions of sensory receptors that collect information related to touch, pressure, temperature, and pain and send it to the brain for processing and reaction (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
The connections between neurons create hearing, vision, language, and cognitive functioning. If the neural connections are disrupted in the thinking area of the brain which supports learning and reasoning, the cognitive ability will be limited (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2017).
Shonkoff, J. & Phillips, D. (2000). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000.
Sternberg, R.J. & Sternberg, K. (2017). Cognitive Psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.