Neurotransmission and Hormones

 

neuron

Understanding neurotransmitters and hormones is a major part of the biological level of analysis and understanding human behavior in general. 

For example, the amount of testosterone in one’s body is the #1 correlative indicator regarding whether or not they’ll serve time in prison!

The three Major Neurotransmitters we’ll study are: 

  • Seratonin

  • Dopamine

  • Ach

We’ll first address ACH through investigating its role in memory.  Add this study to your individual “study guide to studies” The template of which is linked below: 

A Study Guide to Studies Template

Ach and its role in memory study by Martinez and Kessner (1991)

https://prezi.com/nixn4vtbjnp-/martinez-and-kesner-1991/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Very interesting study by Kasamatsu and Hirai (1999) on seratonin here: 

http://ibpsychnotes.com/bloa-studies/

Connected to Kasamatsu and Hirai’s study on Seratonin’s effect on perception is this scientific american blog post on LSD: 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/scicurious-brain/httpblogsscientificamericancomscicurious-brain20110802sciam-chemistry-day-lsd-a-drug-only-as-good-as-its-receptors/

Read both the above articles and discuss how this is related to the concept of “triangulation” in psychological research. 

Love as a drug? Helen Fisher on the Addiction of love:

Study Abstract:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16255001

In Laymen’s Terms:

http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love

Now, consider the above in relation to this Scientific American Post on Cocaine?  What are the similarities between being in love and being addicted to drugs?

http://scicurious.scientopia.org/2010/08/26/back-to-basics-day-4-cocaine/

 


Hormones

Hormones are similar to neurotransmitters in that they activate cells in our body.  Specifically however,  a hormone is a long distance chemical mediator that is secreted by an endocrine gland into the blood which is transported to target cells; whereas a neurotransmitter is a short distance messenger that is active in the synaptic cleft of neurons. 

The Hormones we’ll be examining are Oxytocin, Testosterone and Adrenaline.

OXYTOCIN–“The Cuddle Hormone”

Oxytocin is famously referred to as the “cuddle hormone” and made famous by a variety of different research. 

Read the summaries of research below: 

http://knowingneurons.com/2013/02/11/love-is-in-the-air-or-is-that-oxytocin/ – oxytocin and it’s role in married men keeping attractive women at a distance….Scheele et al. 2012

Oxytocin as facilitating “spontaneous maternal behavior” in Prairie voles. Also, when blocked, maternal behavior stops…Young et al 2006

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452206005070

General coverage of the topic:

http://www.economist.com/node/2424049  — Economist’s coverage

http://www.youramazingbrain.org/lovesex/sciencelove.htm  — Crib notes Version

Testosterone–“The Aggression Sex Hormone”

Read the two pieces below. One is an abstract regarding a correlational analysis of testosterone levels of violent offenders in prison and the other is a Psychology Today article summarizing much of the research on the subject. Both are of high value:

Dabbs and Frady (1987) on Testosterone and Violent Offenders: 

http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/1987/03000/Saliva_testosterone_and_criminal_violence_in_young.7.aspx

Dr. Nigel Barber on “Sex, Violence, and Hormones”:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/200907/sex-violence-and-hormones