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08

Oct

Ego Depletion

Hi! I have an MS in Applied Research and a BA in Psychology. I’m a genuinely huge Psychology fan and I love seeing blogs like this one who share the same passion. I’m also a musician on the side and I just released my second album titled, “Ego Depletion.” It’s an instrumental electronic album loosely inspired by concepts of Jung, Flow, and the destruction of self-control. Give it a listen and see what you think - I’m sure other Psych fans might be into it too. Thanks! 

I’m always up for helping a fellow lover of Psychology and music! I apologize for not updating this blog more often, but I’ll be sure to update soon with more brain anatomy and (new) child and adolescent development material. In the mean time, feel free to submit links to interesting articles or other psychology inspired blogs/material. I want this to be a place where psychology can be spread and shared! Thank you for this submission an0va
~holmes

03

Sep

The Medulla, Midbrain and Pons.

The Brain: Brainstem

The brainstem is one of the oldest parts of the brainstem and is considered one of the “simplest” parts of the brain because creatures that are evolutionary older than humans possess brainstems that look like ours and also function like ours do. The brainstem controls basic autonomic actions (actions that don’t require conscious thought) that are essential for our survival like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, alertness and arousal. Located at the juncture of the spinal chord and the cerebrum, it serves as a connections between the spinal chord and the rest of the brain, controlling the motor signals that travel between them. The brainstem is not a single brain structure, but also consists of the midbrain, the pons and the medulla.

The midbrain is located at the front of the brainstem and is involved in vision, hearing, and eye movement. Located in the back of the midbrain, a bundle of axons connect the cerebral cortex and are extremely important for voluntary motor functions. 

The pons are involved in motor control and sensory analysis and are loacated towards the back of the brainstem. When the brain receives a sensory input, it travels through the pons before being redirected to the proper part of the cerebellum. They also are involved in functions such as posture, balance and sleep.

Finally, the Medulla, also called the Medulla Oblongata. This structure is located between the pons and the spinal chord, this is the structure that maintains the autonomic functions mentioned before, such as breathing and heart rate. 

11

Aug

The Brain: Basic Systems (outline 2)

I’ve already outlined the brain systems that I learned from my psychology classes, but I’d also like to describe another popular way to outline the brain. This also breaks the brain down into three basic systems: the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain. 

The Hindbrain:
This is the “oldest” part of the brain evolutionary wise, and is located at the top of your spinal chord. This system controls some of our most basic functions such as breathing, digestion, muscle coordination, and maintaining balance. Structures in this brain system include (but are not limited to)

  • The medulla oblongata
  • The pons
  • The cerebellum

The Midbrain:
Between the midbrain and the hindbrain, the brainstem is created, which is in control of all the basic survival functions mentioned above. While the hindbrain deals largely with controlling physical survival mechanisms, the midbrain specializes in understanding sensory input from the five basic senses. It also helps to register arousal. By arousal, I do not necessarily mean sexual arousal, but more of an awareness and alertness. The midbrain also serves to connect the hindbrain to the forebrain. Basic midbrain structures include:

  • The reticular formation

The Forebrain:
This part of the brain contains most all of the higher brain functions that are the most recently evolved. These include fine motor functioning and thought processing, raw emotion necessary to survival (fear, aggression, jealousy, arousal), complex emotion, as well as relaying sensory information to other parts of the brain. The forebrain structures include:

  • The cerebrum and cerebral cortex (which includes the frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes of the brain)
  • The hypothalamus
  • The hippocampus
  • The amygdala
  • The thalamus

This is just a basic run down of the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain organizational structure. As you can see, most of the basic brain structures are still accounted for in this outline, but it groups the entire limbic system and cerebrum to the same area of the brain. Other versions of this outline will divide the brain into more areas within the basic division, but I wanted to try and use terms found in my previous outline. I’m not as comfortable with this method of division, but I hope you enjoyed this alternate division system.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

29

Jul

horizontescuriosos asked: I'm a person who is wondering a few things on social psychology. Are you okay with answering a few questions? If yes, I was wondering what makes for friendships? I believe both people feel some sort of benefit with friendships, but can you explain why we become friends with the people we do and why not with others?

Of course I’d be willing to answer a few questions! I’m sorry for taking so long to reply to your question.

Actually, I’ve written a small section on the general rules of attraction, which can be applied to friendship as well. If you want to read that (assuming you haven’t already) the link is here.

In addition to the list of things usually necessary to create a friendship, a huge component regarding what makes people friends is self-disclosure, the ability to open up to someone about something personal. This is a huge key to why some people become better friends than others; they trust them more and see them as someone who can help with their personal problems. They’re a safe place, and that creates a bond within people. 

While many people are friends because of some benefit, or utility that one can receive, the friendships that include self-disclosure are found to be much revered and cherished. Of course,  one can consider a close friendship to self-disclosure to be a friendship of emotional benefit. Both people gain the benefit of an emotional release and a safe place in the person that they trust. 

This is only one hypothesis in what leads to people becoming friendship. There are countless others that are completely valid as well; going over them would probably take pages and pages of writing, but I found a list of hypotheses and their summaries that you could find very useful here

I hope that this answered your questions and, if it didn’t, feel free to shoot me a few more!

25

Jul

I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.

Arthur Conan DoyleA Study in Scarlet

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Attic Brain” idea, while interesting, is rejected by science.