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The Brain-Behavior Link

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What effects do the major neurotransmitters and other biochemicals have on behavior?

Anything that alters the amount and effectiveness of neurotransmitters in the brain is likely to profoundly influence thoughts, feelings, and behavior in general.

Among the best known neurotransmitters are acetylcholine, involved in PNS activities such as motor functions and also many CNS activities, and glutamate, known to play a role in learning and memory.

The catecholamines include norepinephrine (involved in arousal as well as depression) and dopamine (involved in goal-directed motor behaviors and numerous mental and behavioral disorders). Serotonin is also involved in mental and behavioral disorders, including depression.

Peptides act like neurotransmitter or like hormones. One important peptide, corticotrophin-release factor (CRF), is secreted by the hypothalamus, stimulates the pituitary, and leads to production of Cortisol by the adrenal glands. Another important group is the endorphins the body’s natural painkillers.

Why can’t the physical processes of the nervous system tell us everything we want to know about behavior?

Just as biological factors affect human behavior, psychological and environmental forces (behavioral factors), in reciprocal fashion, affect biology.

 

The Brain-Behavior Link: Definitions

Acetylcholine

A neurotransmitter involved in motor activity and numerous CNS functions

Glutamate

An abundant neurotransmitter known to play a primary role in learning and memory.

Nore-pine-phrine

A neurotransmitter involved in arousal and depression. 

Dopamine

An abundant neurotransmitter involved in goal-related motor behaviors and various mental and behavioral disorders including schizophrenia. 

Serotonin 

A neurotransmitter involved in various mental and behavioral disorders, including depression.

Peptides 

Essential biochemicals that may function like neurotransmitters or hormones. 

Corticotrophin-release factor (CRF) 

A neuropeptide secreted by the hypothalamus.

Cortisol 

The hormone secreted by the adrenal gland during emotional upset of in response to pain. 

Endorphins 

Neuropeptide that serve as natural painkillers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 1:46 pm

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