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Psy 240 week 2 assignment Five Structures of the Brain




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Five Structures of the
Psy/ 240 Assignment: The Brain
Axia College of the University of Phoenix
By Jennifer Johnson

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The human brain is a very complex structure and is responsible for all human behavior. There
are five major structures compiled in the brain, myelencephalon, metencephalon,
mesencephalon, deincephalon, and telencephalon. Each are delicate and powerful in their own
way each responsible for pulling their weight necessary for the function of the human brain.
Within this thesis, the five major structures, and functions of the brain will be discussed.
The myelencephalon, often referred to as the medulla, is the posterior part of the brain. The
medulla, which is composed of tracks, is responsible for carrying the signals between the brain
and the body and any damage to this part is often life-threatening. The reticular formation is in
the central core of the brain stem to the posterior boundary of the myelencephalon, is a network
that consists of 100 tiny nuclei (Pinel, 2007, p. 52). The reticular formation is sometimes referred
to as the reticular activating system because of it contributing to arousal. The nuclei are involved
in controlling various functions such as sleep, attention, muscle tone, movement, and also some
cardiac, circulatory, and respiratory reflexes (Pinel, 2007, p.52).
The metencephalon is the posterior portion of the cerebrum and is also a part of the brain
stem. The metencephalon consists of pons and the cerebellum. The pons create a bridge to the
cerebellum that contain neural fibers that connect to the cerebellum. The purpose of this part is to
control motor skills and any damage will most likely affect movement (Pinel, 2007, pg.53).
The mesencephalon consists of two divisions, the tectum, and the tegmentum. The tectum,
which is the dorsal surface of the midbrain, consists of two pairs of bumps called colliculi.
Inferior and superior colliculi each control a different function. Inferior colliculi is responsible
for the control of auditory function whereas the superior colliculi is responsible for visual
functions. The tegmentum consists of three structures, the periaqueductal gray, substantia nigra,

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and red nucleus. The periaqueductal gray, or gray matter, is found around the cerebral aqueduct,
and it is of special interest because of the role in mediating the analgesic effects of opiate drugs
such as morphine and heroine (Pinel, 2007, pg. 53). People who abuse drugs are likely to damage
this area and are also at risk of developing a tolerance to these drugs.
The hypothalamus and thalamus are the two structures of the diencephalon. The thalamus is a
two- lobed structure that is the top of the brain stem. There are many pairs of nuclei within the
thalamus, many of which are sensory relay nuclei that receive, process, and transmit signals to
the different areas of the sensory cortex. The hypothalamus, which is below the thalamus, plays a
part in the regulation of motivated behavior. The hypothalamus helps to regulate releasing
hormones of the pituitary gland.
The telencephalon is the brains largest division in the forebrain on top of the brain stem.
There are four parts of the telencephalon, the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, hippocampus, and
the amygdala. The cerebral cortex plays a part in memory, thought, and language. The basal
ganglia plays a role in motor functions and speech. The hippocampus and amygdala play a part
in emotional expression. Controlling the brains complex functions, it initiates voluntary
movement, interprets sensory input, and complex cognitive processes such as learning, speaking,
and problem- solving (Pinel, 2007, pg. 55). Just like the other parts of the brain, any injury to this
part can cause lasting effects and may result in death.
As one can see, the brain is the center of the nervous system in all humans. This highly
complex organ controls all behaviors and gives people the ability to think, speak, and act thus
any damage can cause severe consequences, including death. Even though each is powerful yet
delicate in their own way, all areas are necessary for the overall function of the brain.

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