General Psychology 11:00

The Hypothalamus!!!
By: Shauntae Ashleigh Miller & Sasha Kay-ann Barrett

The Hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus lies below the thalamus and forms the lower walls and floor of the third ventricle. It is an important link in the chain of command governing bodily maintenance. Some neural clusters in the hypothalamus influence hunger; others thirst, body temperature, and sexual behavior.
The Hypothalamus both monitors blood chemistry and takes orders from other parts of the brain. For example, thinking about sex can stimulate your hypothalamus to secrete hormones. These hormones in turn trigger the adjacent “Master Gland”, the pituitary to influence hormones released by other glands. There is interplay between the nervous and endocrine system. The brain influences the endocrine system, which in turn influences the brain.


The Hypothalamus exerts overall control over the sympathetic nervous system (part of the autonomic nervous system). In response to sudden excitement or alarm, signals are sent from the higher regions of the brain to the hypothalamus, which initiates sympathetic nervous system activity. This increases the heart rate, breathing rate, and blood flow to the muscles, and causes the pupils of the eye to widen (all together known as the "fight or flight" response).

The hypothalamus has many different hormones. Some hormones include

Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)
TRH is a tripeptide (GluHisPro). When it reaches the anterior lobe of the pituitary it stimulates the release there of thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
GnRH is a peptide of 10 amino acids. Its secretion at the onset of puberty triggers sexual development, and from then on it is essential for normal sexual physiology in both males and females. In both sexes, its secretion occurs in periodic pulses usually occurring every 1–2 hours.

Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
GHRH is a mixture of two peptides, one containing 40 amino acids, the other 44. As its name indicates, GHRH stimulates cells in the anterior lobe of the pituitary to secrete growth hormone (GH).

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)
CRH is a peptide of 41 amino acids. As its name indicates, its acts on cells in the anterior lobe of the pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) CRH is also synthesized by the placenta and seems to determine the duration of pregnancy.

Somatostatin is a mixture of two peptides, one of 14 amino acids, the other of 28. Somatostatin acts on the anterior lobe of the pituitary to inhibit the release of growth hormone (GH) inhibit the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) Somatostatin is also secreted by cells in the pancreas and in the intestine where it inhibits the secretion of a variety of other hormones.

Dopamine is a derivative of the amino acid tyrosine. Its principal function in the hypothalamus is to inhibit the release of prolactin (PRL) from the anterior lobe of the pituitary.

Vasopressin and Oxytocin
These peptides are released from the posterior lobe of the pituitary and are described in the page devoted to the pituitary. [Vasopressin] [Oxytocin]


This is the end of our presentation. We hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot more of the hypothalamus from out wiki- project. Thank you kindly for watching! :-) :-) :-)
--Work Cited!!!

By Erika Fyfe
An eight-centimeter spike attached to a wooden handle was the preferred tool when it came to the psychosurgical procedure called a leucotomy. This operation was seen as a miracle cure for a range of mental illnesses. Holes used to be drilled into the skull to release evil spirits, but the idea of lobotomy was different. Lobotomy used the idea of drilled holes, but in the upper forehead instead of the top of the skull. It was also different in that the surgeon used a blade to cut the brain instead of a leucotome. A Portuguese neurologist, Egas Moniz, believed that patients with obsessive behavior were suffering from fixed circuits in the brain. Moniz believed he found a solution, “I decided to sever the connecting fibers of the neurons in activity.” His original technique was adopted later by others, but html]]the basic idea remained the same. To do this surgical procedure, surgeons would drill a pair of holes into the skull, either at the side or top, and push a sharp leucotome into the brain. Surgeons would sweep this instrument from side to side, cutting the connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain.


For Moniz’s first twenty patients, dramatic improvements were reported, This operation was more than enthusiastically seized by an American neurologist, Walter Freeman. Freeman performed the first lobotomy in the United States in 1936. After the first one in the US, it spread across the globe. The infamous transorbital lobotomy was considered a “blind” operation because the surgeon would not know for certain if he had actually severed the nerves. A sharp, ice-pick like tool would be inserted through the eye socket between the upper lid and eye. When the doctor thought he was close to the right spot, he would hit the end of the instrument with a hammer.
Starting in the early 1940s, lobotomies were seen as a miracle in the United Kingdom. Surgeons were performing proportionately more lobotomies than in the US. Despite opposition, especially from psychoanalysts, lobotomies became a mainstream part of psychiatry with more than a thousand operations a year in the UK. This was used to treat illnesses from schizophrenia to depression and compulsive disorders. Despite the fact that there was extensive evidence that psychosurgery was not therapeutic, operations continued for decades. This was because it was considered unprofessional to criticize another physician in public, and even though many doctors who knew that psychosurgery was a joke did not make their opinions known. This allowed psychosurgeons to continue unchecked from the late 1930s through the 1970s.
Although, Egas Moniz was the first psychosurgeon, Walter Freeman is considered the Father of Lobotomy. Dr. Freeman of George Washington University and Dr. James Watts of Yale immediately began to select and experiment on humans. The two kept experiencing problems like the knife breaking off in people’s brains, unexplained seizures, and total disorientation. After experimenting on many people they finally formulated the “Freeman and Watts Standard Lobotomy” and began touting it in the medical community. It didn’t take long for Freeman to start perfoming this operation for any complaint imaginable no matter where he was. He would even do it in his own office, this did not make Watts happy. Watts said, “Stop doing brain surgery as an office procedure.” Since Freeman did not stop doing lobotomies as an office procedure, Watts eventually split up the partnership.
Freeman began traveling around the nation in his own personal van, which he called his “lobotomobile.” He would demonstrate transorbital lobotomy in any hospital that would accept him. Walter would even perform some in hotel rooms. Lobotomizing children as young as thirteen for what he considered “delinquent behavior” and housewives that lost their passion for domestic work. His sick and twisted fancy for performing lobotomies on anyone was eventually put to an end. He lost his medical license at the end of his career when he killed a patient who was seeing him for her third transorbital procedure. In the end, at least fifty thousand people were lobotomized by the psychosurgeons. The transorbital patients were often the most functional since there was a reasonable possibility that the doctor had missed their nerves all together. The less fortunate victims were warehoused in institutions, or they returned to families who were often unable to cope with such severely disabled people.

Night Terrors
By: Ashley Gooder and Kelsey Shields
You wake up to violent thrashing in the night. You run over to Timmy’s room and as hard as you try you can’t wake him up, he isn’t responding to your voice. You are unable to console him even though he appears to be wide-awake. He is screaming, his heart is racing, he is sweating profusely, and he appears to be disoriented. As you panic for your child he lays back into his bed. At last its over, your child is back to a peaceful sleep, but when he wakes up he doesn’t remember any of what happened. Your child has just become a victim of night terrors.
Night terrors are also known as sleep terrors or attacks of Pavor Nocturnus. Sleep terrors according to Mayo Clinic staff of are episodes of fear, flailing and screaming while asleep these are also known as night terrors. Night terrors are a sleep disorder that typically targets children aging anywhere from eighteen months to twelve years. These terrors can last up to thirty minutes and occur during non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Which is normally happens within the first 2-3 hours of sleep and in stages 3 and 4 of non-REM sleep. Most people will not remember in the morning but the few that do, remember seeing dark shadow people and animals that appear to be dangerous. Sleep terrors are also paired with sleep walking due to the precautions parents and or people would want to take to protect the sleeper during either episode.
Night terrors differ from nightmares for many reasons. Nightmares occur during REM sleep where as terrors do not. Also night terrors are usually reoccurring, which the child cannot be awakened from and typically are not remembered. Nightmares occur for no reason and often because the child has seen or heard something that has upset them. Unlike night terrors, nightmares start at six months and go all the way through adulthood. Nightmares happen in the early morning instead of close to post bedtime. During a night terror the child is unable to respond or cannot be consoled.
The causes of this sleep disorder include: stress, anxiety, fever, lack of sleep, sleeping in a new place, lights or noises, and over-arousal of the central nervous system (CNS). Night terrors happen in children because the central nervous system is still maturing. Night terrors are commonly outgrown by adolescence, and on rare occasions adults suffer from them as well. According to “Attacks of Pavor Nocturnus (a.k.a. Sleep Terrors, Night Terrors, Incubus Attacks) Are They Affecting You or Your Children?” by Anthony Degani and Kevin Morton with contributions from the Stanford Sleep Book, adults that get night terrors usually are from post traumatic stress disorder or anxiety. The age range in adults that will suffer from sleep terrors is from around ages twenty to thirty. enlightens us that “sleep terrors tend to run in families. Some adults who have sleep terrors may have a history of depressive or anxiety disorders, although most don’t have a mental health condition.” Sleep terrors only affect one to six percent of children and roughly one percent of adults says Degani and Morton.

Timmy experienced sweating, rapid heartbeat; screaming, rapid breathing and thrashing which are some of the symptoms of sleep terrors. Sudden awakening from sleep, talking, screaming, confusion, and inability to remember are some more common symptoms that people experience. According to Dr. D’s Sleep Book, “Sleep terrors often involve individuals screaming in the middle of the night, ostensibly in a state of panic,” and that “Parents of young patients must be reassured that these dramatic episodes have no psychopathological implications and they seldom cause injury.”
Prevention from night terrors can include not waking the child, reduce stress, routing bed times, lots of rest, make sure there are no harmful objects that could harm the child, and avoid sleep disturbances. During a night terror turning on the lights helps the child to be less confused by shadows. Parent are recommended to see a physician if the child has more than two episodes a week, if the terrors disrupt other family members, if the child does something dangerous during an episode, if terrors exceed thirty minutes, or if the terrors occur in the 2nd half of the night. No medication has been found to help cure night terrors but some antidepressants can be used temporarily if the daily life is being affected. Writing down symptoms that your child experiences, a list of all medications or vitamins your child is taking, major stresses or life changes in child’s life, and sleep patterns if you plan to take your child to the doctor to help the doctor diagnose your child accurately.
During a night terror parents can make soothing comments, try to guide the child back to bed if they have gotten out of bed, and do not try to awaken the child, shaking or shouting at the child will make the situations worse by causing the child to become more upset.
Little Timmy’s parents were concerned about his episode so they kept a vivid sleep journal and tried reducing the stress in his life and he eventually out grew his sleep terrors.
In conclusion, night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, often target children, they happen during non REM sleep, and victims do not remember what happened. They differ from nightmares because the child cannot be waked up from a night terror. Causes of night terrors often include stress, anxiety, fever, lack of sleep, sleeping in a new place, lights or noises, and over arousal of the central nervous system. Night terrors are usually outgrown by adolescence but some adults do suffer from the disorder as well because of post traumatic stress disorder. The disorder does not mean the child has psychological problems. There is no medication known that will cure the disorder but there are precautions that can be followed to prevent night terrors. If you must console a doctor be sure to write a sleep diary until the appointment and write down any medications being taken and any changes in the child’s life. During a night terror do not try to awaken the child because it will make them more upset. Night terrors are not dangerous and should not be blown out of proportion.

By: Bryce Friedly

People with split-brain will act as everyday people with perfect coordination and perfect everyday skills. When they react to a situation like people with non-split brain, they would react the same but their brain doesn’t react the same. After the surgery their brain will re train itself to know how to react to these situations. Instead of the brain taking the information in and deciding where it needs to go like us, their brain will know where the information needs to go a split second. This is a great achievement in history for people with Epilepsy and as researchers continue to find new information, the illness becomes less and less threatening.

Split-brain is the result when the corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres of the brain is severed. It is a symptom produced by disruption of or interference with the connection between the hemispheres of the brain. The surgical operation to produce this condition is called corpus colostomy and is used as a last resort to treat otherwise intractable epilepsy. If this operation does not succeed, a complete colostomy is performed to mitigate the risk of accidental physical injury by reducing the severity and violence of epileptic seizures. Prior to colostomies, epilepsy is treated through pharmaceutical means.

A patient with a split brain, when shown an image in the left half of what both eyes take in, see optic tract, will be unable to say what they have seen. This is because the speech-control center is in the left side of the brain in most people, and the image from the left visual field is sent only to the right side of the brain .Since communication between the two sides of the brain is inhibited, the patient cannot name what the right side of the brain is seeing. The person can, however, pick up and show recognition of an object with their left hand, since that hand is controlled by the right side of the brain.

The same effect occurs for visual pairs and reasoning. For example, a patient with split brain is shown a picture of a chicken and a snowy field in separate visual fields and asked to choose from a list of words the best association with the pictures. The patient would choose a chicken foot to associate with the chicken and a shovel to associate with the snow; however, when asked to reason why the patient chose the shovel, the response would relate to the chicken and place the shovel to use to clean the chicken coop.

“The modern era of split-brain research began in the late 1950s. The pioneers of split-brain research, Michael Gazzaniga and Roger Sperry, worked together at Caltech testing the functioning of each hemisphere independently of the other in split-brain patients. The results revealed an overall pattern among patients that severing the entire corpus callosum blocks the interhemispheric transfer of perceptual, sensory, motor, gnostic and other forms of information in a dramatic way. This allowed Gazzaniga and Sperry to gain insights into hemispheric differences as well as the mechanisms through which the two hemispheres interact.” Quoted from, split-brain history on Google searches.

The Cerebellum

Whitney Schultz

The cerebellum or “little brain” is located at the back of the brain just above the brain stem. The cerebellum is relatively well protected from trauma and is the size of a baseball. The cerebellum makes up only 10% of our brain, but it holds up nearly half of the neurons that are in the entire brain, which is another reason of its importance to the human body. The cerebellum is involved in the coordination of voluntary motor movement, balance, equilibrium and even muscle tone. Although, recent studies have shown that the cerebellum plays an important part in other cognitive functions, like our attention and the way we focus and capture images. Breathing, sleeping, blood pressure and heart rate are also controlled by the cerebellum.


Injury to the cerebellum results in movements that are slow and uncoordinated. Damage to the cerebellum can lead to the loss of coordination of motor movement, the inability to judge distance and when to stop, the inability to perform rapid alternating movements, movement tremors, staggering, wide based walking, tendency toward falling, weak muscles, slurred speech, and abnormal eye movements. In fact, with having damage to my cerebellum, if I were ever pulled over when driving, I would fail the field sobriety test for attempting to walk in a straight line and also standing on one foot. I probably look like I am totally drunk to some of you, but I can thank my brain tumor for the “having-no-alcohol” alcohol side effects! Actually the doctor’s tell me all the time, “You know what alcohol does to a normal brain, and with the side effects of your brain tumor you cannot ever drink alcohol.” Here is an interesting fact about the cerebellum, when you are driving your car, for example, while the cerebrum will send signals to your hands and arms, ‘telling’ them how to move, the cerebellum is actually the one that will coordinate them for accuracy.

When I go for check-ups at Children’s Hospital, my doctor always does different tests on me like standing on one foot then the other, walking a straight line, running down the hall, standing in one spot with my eyes closed, moving my fingers, and touching my nose with the finger he tells me. The first time I tried doing these test, I completely failed. But, with a lot of practice, I can say they are getting easier and I have even accomplished some of the tests. Enough that when Dr. Foreman makes me stand with my eyes closed he doesn’t even have to stand behind me! Even when you are sitting comfortably, with your balance intact, it is all due to the cerebellum, the magnificent brain structure that controls how we perceive things through our senses.


The first picture you see is the very first MRI scan I received after being diagnosed with my Medulloblastoma Brain Tumor in September 2007. You can see the tumor the lighter spot in the lower middle of the brain. It was pushing on to my brain stem causing the headaches and nausea I was experiencing. The second photo is my MRI scan in May 2012 that shows there is an open space representing NO brain tumor!

Child Abuse

Priska Sihotang

Child abuse takes many different forms, as suggested by the statistics. This makes it difficult for people to recognize that abuse is taking place. This is a true story about a boy. Let's call himPeter. He was Australia’s own Baby Peter two decades before the little British boy was even born but his terrible plight – his suffering and his horrific death – changed the laws in Australia regarding the reporting of suspected child abuse. The tiny injured face of little Daniel Valerio impacts on your soul and conscience just as devastatingly as it did when this photograph, taken by police, was first published after his violent death at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend in 1990.


Now that we recognize the forms child abuse takes, we are prepared to have an awareness of child abuse in our own communities. Luckily, there is a way to prevent those horrible things from happening to the current and future generation. Bob Green says, "If you know in your heart, if you sense something is wrong, don't go away…You have to be as relentless as those children can't be. They have no voice at all. You have to follow your instinct and listen to the little voice in your head that says something is wrong, this isn't normal. Don't ignore that voice." As we found out today,child abuse isn't always life threatening, but even small things, such as tickling, can have a very profound emotional impact on a child. However, with so many cases being called in, they aren't always correct in saying that a child is safe in their household. If the child is in immediate danger, then call 911. If social services won't act, the police will. You may be thinking that if a close friend or family member is abusing a child, you don't want to report it out of fear of losing the friendship, or you don't want your friend to be put in jail, but think about it. If theabuse continues, there is a good chance that the child will suffer long term emotional problems, or in the worst case, die. In that case, the police would get involved and the parents would be caught on a murder charge, which provides a worse sentence than one of child abuse. Also, think of the welfare of the child. How would you sleep at night knowing that an innocent child could be suffering at the hands of who are supposed to be their protectors. Take the obligation upon yourself and save a life.

You'll feel better, and the child will get to experience what it's like living in a loving, supporting family environment. Victims of child abuse often grow up convinced that they can't do anything right, and they're not worth anything. Others harness the anger and are likely to explode at some point, continuing the cycle of abuse. Both scenarios turn out badly. If the abusive behavior is corrected quickly, they may not be as affected or are able to see that they are worth something and they are capable of being loved as all children should be. There are so many ways to help children live happy, well adjusted lives. Adoption. Last year 127,000 children were adopted after they were taken out of abused homes. To help you see how many children that really is, if you line up 127,000 pennies end to end in a straight line, it would reach over 2,000 miles long. Foster Care. 542,000 children are in foster care right now, in happier homes where they are taken care of. People may believe that foster care is a horrible system where children are worse off than in their abusive homes, but in actuality every foster parent is carefully checked out, and periodically examined, to make sure that the children are safe and being taken care of. Love. Four children, every day, are taken out of their abusive houses and put in homes where they are really, truly loved. This could not have been possible without the help of brave people that reported abuse in their community. Give those children a chance to live and have a childhood like other children do. They shouldn't be deprived of those Saturday morning cartoons and trips to the petting zoo. Personally, I'd rather see more of the good statistics than the bad, but that can only be made possible with the help of all of you.


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