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NIOS Class 12 Psychology Chapter 3 Biological and Cultural Shaping of Mind and Behavior
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Biological and Cultural Shaping of Mind and Behavior
Intext Questions & Answers
Q. 1. What are the features that distinguish human beings from other species?
Ans: bipedalism, encephalization and language.
Q. 2. Describe the main parts of the structure of a neuron.
Ans: cell body, dendrite, neuron.
Q. 3. State whether the following statements are True or False:
(i) Only the neurons transmit information from one location to another. True/False
(ii) Nerve cells collect information from environment by means of receptors. True/False
(iii) Neurons do not store information. True/False
Q. 4. Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:
(i) Neurons make up _____________ of the volume of the brain.
(ii) A cell has three parts. They are_____________ , _____________ And_____________.
Ans: cytoplasm, nucleus, cell membrane.
Q. 5. State whether the following statements are True or False:
(1) The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. True/False
(2) The spinal cord has three components. True/False
(3) The brain is surrounded by the skull for protection. True/False
(4) The lowermost layer of the brain is called the cerebral cortex. True/False
Q. 6. Fill the blanks with appropriate words:
(1) The two major divisions of the nervous system are_____________ and_____________
Ans: Central, peripheral.
(2) Each hemisphere of the brain processes information about the _____________ side of the body.
(3) The CNS consists of the_____________ and_____________
Ans: brain, spinal cord.
(4) The peripheral nervous system carries the _____________ to and from the body.
Ans: skeletal muscles, movement.
(5) The somatic system controls the_____________ that helps the body.
Q. 7. What are hormones?
Ans: Chemicals secreted into our blood streams.
Q. 8. Why pituitary is called master gland?
Ans: It regulates hormonal action of other endocrine glands.
Q. 9. What is the process of inheritance?
Ans: It is based upon the process in which offspring receives one of each gene pair from each parent.
Q. 10. In what ways culture shapes human behaviour?
Ans: By guiding the choice of goals, providing codes for interpretation of behaviours, and by facilitating selectively certain patterns of behaviour.
Q. 11. Who are the main agents of socialization?
Ans: Parents, Teachers, Peers, Media.
1. Describe the structure and function of a neuron.
Ans: Depending upon the function, the two major types of neurons are receptor and motor neurons. Receptor neurons bring information into the nervous system. Such information is brought through senses. The motor neurons carry out the orders of the brain for muscular movements such as chewing, walking, writing and so on which are under our conscious control. The reflex actions are mediated by the spinal cord. Breathing and eye blinking are involuntary actions. These involuntary actions are controlled by motor neurons.
2. Describe the functions of central nervous system.
Ans: The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord. You have learned that the neurons in spinal cord can produce reflex action. Also, it acts as a relay station. It sends information from sensory neurons in the body to the brain and takes motor commands back to the muscles. The severe injury to the spinal cord usually results in loss of sensation and paralysis at levels below the points of injury. It has two major components. namely Gray matter and White matter.
The Grey Matter found near the centre of the spinal cord processes the information and the White Matter found in the outer layers, which contains axons, transmits information to and from the brain.
If tea is brought to you in steel glass and you suddenly try to pick it up, do you realise how hot your fingers feel?
In this case, the heat receptors in our skin are stimulated and fire nerve impulses. The incoming information from the receptors in our hand travels through neurons to our spinal cord where it enters the grey matter in the centre of the cord. It travels through the white matter to our brain. The brain analyses the sensory information and initiates a voluntary movement leading to responses such as dropping the glass.
If you would like to get a feel of the physical structure of the brain you might try this. Stand in front of the mirror and draw an imaginary line across the front of your face running from your left ear through both your eyebrows to your right ear. The bulk of your brain is located above this line.
The brain is the primary part of the CNS, occupying the cranial cavity. It is surrounded by the skull for protection. The brain weighs an average of three pounds (about 1.4 kilograms) comprising about 97% of the entire CNS. The brain is connected to the upper end of the spinal cord and has three structures: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem leading to the spinal cord. The brain stem is also divided into the medulla oblongata, the midbrain, and the pons. Our brain contains at least 15 billion nerve cells (neurons). The major psychological function of our brain is to process information.
(a) Cerebral Cortex:
The uppermost layer of the brain is called cerebral cortex (see Figure 3.5). The brain is divided into two halves: the left hemisphere and right hemisphere. They resemble the halves of a walnut. It is interesting to note that each hemisphere processes information about the opposite side of the body. For example, when you write with your right hand, the motor information enabling your right hand to move comes from your left hemisphere. The cortex consists of a thick layer of densely packed neurons. It has a large area to be fitted into the skull cavity and therefore it has a large number of turns and twists. The turns and twists make the structures like hills and valleys, which are called gyri (singular gyrus) and sulci (singular sulcus).
The brain has two basic functions: cognitive functions ( learning, memory, thinking, etc.) and the regulation of physiology of the body.
(b) The Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex:
The cerebral cortex is divided into four lobes: frontal, occipital, parietal and temporal. Various centres in these lobes are responsible for the awareness of the environment and responses to the changes in the environment.
The visual information is received by the primary visual cortex located in the occipital lobe. Any damage or disorder to eye, optic pathway or to the visual cortex results in visual disorders. Similarly, the auditory information is received by the primary auditory cortex located in the temporal lobes. Any damage to our ears, auditory pathways, and to the auditory cortex results in hearing problems. The information from body senses is received by the somatosensory cortex that is located in the parietal lobe.
The right and left cerebral hemispheres of cortex receive sensory information, and control the muscular action of the opposite side of the body. The two hemispheres play crucial role in higher mental functions including language, processing and integration of sensory information, planning, decision making and reasoning.
3. Describe the functions of the endocrine system.
Ans: You must have heard about some diseases caused by high or low level of hormones in the body. For example, diabetes is caused by the low level of a hormone called insulin. Similarly, the level of another hormone, thyroxine controls our behaviour. Hormones are chemicals secreted directly into our blood streams. The hormones are secreted by endocrine glands. This system is a collection of ductless glands that controls various body functions. The endocrine glands secrete chemicals that send signals by releasing hormones directly into the bloodstream. The endocrine glands and their major functions are shown in the Box. The location of these glands is shown in Figure 3.6. Some of the major glands are as follows:
The pituitary gland is reddish-grey, about the size of a pea located in the brain. It is referred to as the “master gland” because some of the hormones it releases stimulate and regulate the hormonal action of other endocrine glands.
The thyroid gland, located in the neck, releases a hormone that controls metabolism (transformation of food into energy). It also affects energy level and the mood. The adrenal gland is located above the kidney. It secretes adrenalin and other hormones during emergency situations.
The pancreas is located near the stomach. It produces insulin that controls blood sugar level. The gonads control sexual development and sexual behaviour. The male gonads (testes) are located in the testicles. These glands produce the hormone known as testosterone. The female gonads (the ovaries) produce the hormone known as estrogen. In both sexes (male and female) these hormones not only control the sex drive, but also regulate the development of secondary sex characteristics, like beards in men and breasts in women.
The androgens (such as testosterone) are generally found at higher levels in males than in females, while the oestrogens (such as oestradiol) are generally found at higher levels in females. However, it is important to understand that androgens are not ‘male hormones’ nor Oestrogens’ female hormones’.
Both classes are found in both sexes.
4. How are the behavioural characteristics transmitted from parent to their children?
Ans. We often talk about people inheriting certain characteristics. Like Neena has inherited her mother’s blue eyes, or Ashok has inherited his father’s curly hair. We expect tall parents to have tall children. The inheritance of such characteristics is called heredity. The branch of biology that deals with how heredity works is called genetics. Behavioural genetics is the study of inheritance of behavioural characteristics.
All living beings are unique as they differ from the members of other species (cats differ from dogs and humans differ from animals). An organism’s physical appearance and behaviour varies from individual to individual. The former is known as genotype and the later are termed as phenotype. Every individual’s phenotype is the result of the interaction between its genotype and the environment. Physical development is in large part based upon the genes we inherit from our parents. It is largely believed that the genetic characteristics transmitted by genetic factors set limits on the capabilities of organisms.
The present genetic theory is based upon the work of Gregory Mendel. He showed that the characteristics of parents are passed on to their offspring through genes. These genes might produce visible characteristics in the offspring, or might be carried for possible transmission to another generation. The children of one set of parents do not necessarily inherit all the same characteristics.
The union of two cells, the egg from the mother and the sperm from the father is the beginning of a new individual. These two cells like all others carry within them material that forms a definite number of rodlike units called chromosomes. The chromosomes carry hereditary factors or genes. The cell nucleus that contains the chromosomes is made up of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in combination with protein compounds. Chromosomes are pairs and each chromosome contains 1000 or so genes that also occur in pairs.
The process of inheritance is based upon the process in which the offspring receives one of each gene pair from each parent. Some genes are dominant and some are recessive. An individual with a dominant gene for a particular characteristic displays that characteristic, whether only one or both genes in the pair are dominant. In case of a recessive gene, the characteristic associated with it does not show up unless both genes in the gene pair are recessive. Some characteristics are produced by a single gene or gene pair. Multi-factor inheritance involves the action of several genes.
The scientists working in the area of genetic engineering are trying to find out the genetic code so as to manipulate the cell structure. One of the examples of this type of research is the phenomenon of cloning. The research is basically aimed to solve the problem of genetically transmitted diseases or behavioural abnormalities.
Moreover, through genetic manipulation scientists are trying to control certain undesired behaviours and to facilitate the desired behaviour. The genetic manipulation has so far been tested widely in plants and to some extent in animals. Human research on genetic manipulation is under strict control of ethical principles.
5. Using examples describe the role of culture in shaping human behaviour.
Ans: Behaviour of human beings becomes meaningful in their cultural context. In terms of shared meanings and practices different cultures guide us in choosing our goals and conducting ourselves in various situations. The patterns of behaviour found in different cultures emerge in the context of interactions of the people which are encoded in different forms. Various traditions, customs and cultural artefacts display these codes. They help to interpret and make sense of the behaviour of people belonging to a given culture. Thus a community may subscribe to certain beliefs and values. They may become part of the social consciousness of the people of that community.
When the existing natural things change with human efforts may be known as cultural change. Culture is said to represent what is contributed by human beings. It has subjective as well as material aspects. Culture often transmits from one generation to other. The subjective part of culture involves values, norms, roles etc. the material part of culture deals with tools, sculpture, and various artefacts.
People are born in various cultures which provide a set of stimuli, languages and practices. It is through these aspects of culture that we are made what we are. The diversity in behaviour noted in different societies is to a large extent attributed to the cultural diversity. This happens because culture selectively facilitates certain patterns of behaviours and requires its members to inculcate them. Culture works two ways i.e. it provides opportunities as well as puts constraints on us. Depending on the particular eco-cultural context various behaviour patterns and skills are encouraged or discouraged.
It is essential to know that human behavior is shaped by the biological potential as well as environmental contributions. However, the two interact and jointly determine behavior in a culture which gives a specific shape or direction to behavior. For instance, a child grows in a family, gets formal education in school and plays with toys. A moment’s reflection will make it clear that families, schools and toys vary across different cultural settings. An extended and a nuclear family puts different demands.