PG 683 Study Guide

Winter, 2000


Vision and Sensory Function

1)      Describe the physical measurement of light.

2)     Describe the properties of vision that must be accounted for.

3)     Be able to define a receptive field, its properties, how it is detected and characterized.

4)     Relate receptive fields to

a)     two-point thresholds

b)     cortical maps, and the amount of cortical space devoted to a map.

5)      Describe lateral inhibition

6)      Describe how a center-surround receptive field. Also how it might arise.

7)      Describe a tuning curve.

8)      If a tree falls in the forest and it hits a mime, does anybody care?

9)      Describe the three parallel visual pathways. I will not ask you to reproduce figure 6-37, but you may used it as a guide in remembering the visual pathways.

10)  Compare and contrast the dorsal and ventral streams.

11)  Define the agnosias.

12)  Compare and contrast rods and cones.

13)  Describe the phototransduction process as illustrated in Fig 6.8.

14)  Be able to name and locate the neurons of the retina (Fig 6.6). Note that amacrine and horizontal cells are misnamed in that figure.

15)  Know figure 6.14. Center-surround receptive fields, and state where these can be found.

16)  Trace the visual pathway from retina to the primary visual cortex (Fig 6.12).

17)  Distinguish between monocular and binocular zones. Why do predators have two eyes in the front of their head (or why do creatures with two eyes in front of their head become predators? )

18)  Describe simple and complex cells. Where are they? Describe the experiments (and experimenters) that identified these.

19)  Describe blobs. What are they and what do they do?

20)  Describe the experiments that resulted in the identification of cells that respond to faces.

21)  Describe the columnar and laminar structure of the primary visual cortex.

22)  Describe the trichromatic and opponent processing forms of vision.

23)  Know and interpret figure 6.18, 6.19, 6.20.

24)  What are "spatial frequencies" and what do they reveal?

25)  Compare and contrast magnocellular and parvocellular systems.


1)     Describe the monosynaptic stretch reflex. Be able to define the sensory, neural, and effector elements, sketch the pathway, and describe the function.

2)     Be sure to know what the Golgi Tendon Organ, extrafusal and intrafusal fibers, alpha and gamma efferents, spindles are.

3)     Describe a polysynaptic stretch reflex as a 1) inhibitory pathway on the originating muscle or 2) an inhibitory pathway to an antagonist muscle.

4)     State what happens when a load is applied to the limb. Specifically, be able to reproduce the material in figure 8.4

5)     Describe the gamma efferent system and contrast it with the alpha system. Be sure to identify the critical components of each system.

6)     Describe the cortical control over movement.

7)     Characterize the "motor homunculus." Be able to explain why some areas are larger than other and to relate that to the size of the motor unit.

8)     Describe the four major descending motor pathways. Then describe the major cortico-brainstem-spinal tracts. Describe the pyramidal/extrapyramidal systems.

9)     Sketch and identify the major components of a "closed-loop" system. Do the same with an "open-loop" system.

10)  Describe the inputs to the cerebellum and the nature of the cerebellum's contribution to motor function.

11)  Describe the sources of afferents to the cerebellum. Where to efferents go?

12)  Name the components of the basal ganglia. Where do the inputs derive from and what portion of the basal ganglia receive them? What are the output regions of the basal ganglia and where do the efferents synapse?

13)  Compare and contrast the signs and symptoms of Parkinson's and Huntington's disease and relate them to the pathology observed.

14)  What is MPTP and what does it do? Describe two approaches to treating Parkinson's disease, one surgical, one nonsurgical, that have arisen since the MPTP episode.

15) Describe the Nigral-Striatal pathway, its neurochemistry, and how this provides some understanding of the motor effects of neuroleptics. Be able to name and describe those motor effects. (This material is in the chapter on schizophrenia...Chapter 17).

16)  Describe the various movement disorders.

a)     Include the appearance, the underlying pathology, where known, and the cause.

b)     For Parkinson's disease, Myasthenia Gravis, and Tardive Dyskinesia discuss the pharmacological treatment of them, and its rationale.

17)  Discuss the changes in substantia nigra that occur with age. 

18)  Describe denervation supersensitivity and its role in the regeneration of severed nerves. Tardive dyskinesia.

19)  Describe a motor disorder and its associated symptoms for the following elements of the motor system: neuromuscular junction, spinal cord, brain stem, cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum.

20)  What are the functions of the cerebellum?


Chapter 14. Sleep

1)      Be able to define all the bolded terms in the chapter.

2)      Describe the various stages of sleep and how they are measured and defined.

3)      Compare and contrast REM and NREM sleep according to 1) the way that they are measured using EEGs and EMGs, 2) their physical manifestations, 3) the neurochemistry underlying them, and 4) the determinants (as far as they are understood) of how much occurs.

4)      Describe two sources of "jet-lag." Describe how one might approach its treatment pharmacologically. Environmentally.

5)     Define a hertz (no, this has nothing to do with rental cars).

6)     Describe the effects of sleep deprivation. Describe the methods used to provide selective sleep deprivation with humans. With nonhuman species.

7)     Define Narcolepsy, Sleep attack, cataplexy, sleep-paralysis, and REM Without Atonia.

8)     Describe drug-dependency insomnia, its causes, and its treatments.

9)     Describe the encéphale isolé and cerveau isolé experiments and what they revealed about sleep and arousal.

10)  Compare and contrast the roles of the dorsal raphé/locus coeruleus and the FTG neurons in the dorsolateral pons.

11) Discuss the role of "sleeping pills" and insomnia. Describe the role of, and approach to diagnosis, the class of pills often used and their effects on sleep quality. Be sure to consider the importance of kinetics (how long a drug remains active) in this.

12)  Describe two ways of measuring the basic rest-activity cycle.

13)  Define zeitgeber, circadian rhythm, and entrainment.

14)  Describe the experiments used to determine circadian rhythms.

15)  Describe some of the roles of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in circadian rhythms. Be able to describe the experiments underlying this understanding.

16)  Discuss evidence for a genetic basis for circadian rhythms. Discuss the interaction between genetic and environmental influences over circadian rhythms.

17)  Describe the roles of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and acetylcholine on sleep.

18)  Discuss some of the biological functions attributed to sleep. Include the role of REM-NREM cycling in thermoregulation.

19)  What is the suprachiasmatic nucleus? Melatonin? The Pineal gland?.

20)  Describe the chemical control of sleep, and the roles of Ach, NE, 5-HT.

21)  Describe jet lag, its treatment, prevention, and the occasions on which it can appear.

22)  Describe the biological functions that have been attributed to sleep.


Regulation of Internal States

1)      Be able to define the important terms in the chapter.

2)      Be able to describe the "negative feedback" system.

3)      Describe the various ways in which endotherms can release heat. Conserve heat. Be sure to include some behavioral forms of thermoregulation.

4)      Pretend that a new regions of the brain has been discovered and it is suspected that it plays a role in thermoregulation. Be able to design experiments that would determine the role it plays in thermoregulation. Name independent variables, dependent variables (be specific) and describe interventions.

5)      Discuss the functional roles of changes in core temperature. Be sure to include roles played control of fever and ultradian rhythms.

6)      Discuss the roles of insulin and glucogon, glycogen.

7)      Describe diabetes mellitus. Why do untreated diabetics eat and loose weight?

8)      Describe Type II, or adult-onset diabetes.

9)      What stops a meal?

10)  Lay out why flavor aversion might be considered a form of respondent conditioning. Discuss why it might be an example of negative reinforcement. Are these incompatible?

11)  It is sometimes said that conditioning entails the use of arbitrary stimulus-response relationships. Discuss the viability of this notion.

12)  Compare and contrast lesions to the ventromedial hypothalamus and the lateral hypothalamus. Be sure to include discussion of the syndromes associated with lesions in these areas.

13)  Discuss the conditions under which one begins to eat. The conditions under which one stops eating. Think about how you might design treatments for overeating based upon the material in this chapter. Think about how you might evaluate treatments based upon:

a)     Surgical removal of fat.

b)     Chronic use of psychomotor stimulant.

c)     A diet composed exclusive of "low-fat, low-calorie" meals.

14)  Discuss the concept of a "set point" for body weight. Critique this in view of what is required for there to be transduction (i.e., where is the detector and what does it detect?). What other variables could be used as set-points?

15)  What is cholecystokinin? What is the evidence that it is related to a "satiety" cue? Include the Corwin et al. study in your discussion.

16)  Discuss flavor aversion and its role in dietary selection.

17)  What is fenfluramine? What does it do and how?

18)  Describe the experiment of Corwin et al.


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Last modified: February 04, 2000