What is Behavioral Neuroscience?

Chapter One
What is Behavioral Neuroscience?
© Cengage Learning 2016
© Cengage Learning 2016
Neuroscience as an Interdisciplinary Field
• Neuroscience
– “The scientific study of the brain and nervous
system, in health and in disease” (UCLA,
– Incorporates the fields of psychology, biology,
chemistry, medicine, mathematics, physics,
engineering, and computer science
© Cengage Learning 2016
From Molecules to Behavior
• The functions of the brain and nervous
system are studied on many different
© Cengage Learning 2016
Historical Highlights in Neuroscience
• Ancient milestones
– Trepanation
– Egyptian medical papyrus; mummification
– Ancient Greeks: Hippocrates, Galen
• The dawn of scientific reasoning
– Descartes (1596-1650): mind-body dualism
– Van Leeuwenhoek
– Galvani and du Bois-Reymond
– Bell and Magendie
© Cengage Learning 2016
Prehistoric Brain Surgery
© Cengage Learning 2016
Galvani – the Role of Electricity in Neural
© Cengage Learning 2016
Modern Neuroscience Begins
• Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Camillo Golgi
– The Neuron Doctrine
Gall and Spurzheim: phrenology
Paul Broca
Fritsch and Hitzig
John Hughlings-Jackson (1835-1911)
– Founding of modern neuroscience
• Sherrington, Loewi, Eccles, Katz, Huxley,
© Cengage Learning 2016
Phrenology Bust
© Cengage Learning 2016
Behavioral Neuroscience Research
Methods – Histology
• The study of microscopic structures and
• Provides the means for observing
structure, organization, and connections of
individual cells
• Tissue fixation, microtome machine, and
specialized stains
© Cengage Learning 2016
Tissue Sectioning using a Microtome
© Cengage Learning 2016
Behavioral Neuroscience Research
Methods – Autopsy
• Examination of the body after death
• Correlational method that must be
interpreted carefully and precisely
© Cengage Learning 2016
Behavioral Neuroscience Research
Methods – Imaging
• Types of imaging technologies
– Computerized tomography (CT)
– Positron emission tomography (PET)
– Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• Functional MRI (fMRI)
• Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
• Advantage of imaging over autopsy
– Can watch the living brain as it behaves
© Cengage Learning 2016
CT Scans – Historical and Modern
© Cengage Learning 2016
PET Scans Show Patterns of Brain
© Cengage Learning 2016
Functional MRI (fMRI) Tracks Cerebral
Blood Flow
© Cengage Learning 2016
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Constructs
Maps of the Brain’s Fiber Pathways
© Cengage Learning 2016
• Records electrical and magnetic output
from the brain
– Electroencephalogram (EEG)
– Event-related potentials
– Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
– Single-cell recordings
© Cengage Learning 2016
Event-Related Potentials (ERPs)
© Cengage Learning 2016
Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
© Cengage Learning 2016
Brain Stimulation
• Artificial stimulation of specific brain
regions and observation of resulting
– Surface electrodes during neurosurgery
– Surgically implanted electrodes
– Repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation
– Optogenetics
© Cengage Learning 2016
Deep Brain Stimulation and rTMS
© Cengage Learning 2016
• Lesion: injury to neural tissue
• Naturally occurring
• Deliberately produced
• Ablation
– Surgical removal of neural tissue
© Cengage Learning 2016
Other Research Methods
• Biochemical methods
– Use of chemical stimulation and microdialysis
• Genetic methods
– Twin studies (concordance rates)
– Adoption studies (heritability)
– Studies of genetically-modified animals
(knockout genes)
– Epigenetics (gene expression due to external
© Cengage Learning 2016
Other Research Methods (cont’d.)
• Stem cells
– Undifferentiated cells that can divide and
differentiate into other types of cells
– One of the most promising approaches to
understanding neural development,
regeneration, and disease
– Embryonic or adult: advantages and
disadvantages of both
– Can be used to repair the nervous system
© Cengage Learning 2016
Research Ethics in Behavioral
• Mechanisms for protection of human
participants and animal research subjects
– Hippocrates
– Federal government and the Common Rule
– University review and institutional review
© Cengage Learning 2016
Research Ethics – Human Participants
• Coercion of research participants is
• Benefits to participants should not be
“excessive or inappropriate”
• Participants must be informed that they
can leave without penalty at any time
• Participants must be told enough about
the experiment to make an informed
decision about participating
© Cengage Learning 2016
Research Ethics – Human Participants
• Participants must receive contact
information in case they have questions
• Participants must be assured their data
will be confidential
© Cengage Learning 2016
Research Ethics – Animal Subjects
• Animal research should have a clear
scientific purpose
• Excellent care and housing should be
• Experimental procedures should cause as
little pain and distress as possible
© Cengage Learning 2016