Behavioral Neuroscience. An Introduction by Carl W. Cotman and James L McGaugh (Auth.)

By Carl W. Cotman and James L McGaugh (Auth.)

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But we have seen others, in the colliculi and thalamus, as well as elsewhere. The machinery adjusted by the control center, in contrast, is always widely placed—usually almost everywhere about the CNS. The output of the hypothalamus is both neural and endocrine, through electrical signals and hormones, "by land or by sea," or however we wish to think of it. It is comprehensive in its effects upon the body, and that is what the nervous system is all about, and it covers the entire temporal range from immediate to life-long influences upon our responses.

To borrow terms from radio engineering, they increase receptive acuity, filter out "static" or background noise, "squelch" unwanted signals, sharpen contrast and increase the "signal-to-noise" ratio. " Such sensory regulation is easier to understand when we remember that we must tune a radio or television set, focus binoculars or a microscope or adjust in some way the various instruments we use to gather information. Regulation or modulation is a key principle in the CNS. In the operation of sensory subsystems, it is an outgoing regulation of incoming signals, but modulation is not confined to sensory pathways.

2-3) reveals a surprisingly ordered internal topography: graceful shapes of gray matter, curling ribbons of white. The cerebral cortex is sharply defined; it crowns each gyrus and forms the banks of the fissures and sulci. In the underlying white matter, myriad nerve fibers follow definite prescribed routes from place to place. Such routings form the major pathways interconnecting brain areas. We can see the cortical association fibers as they loop from one gyrus to the next. Previously we mentioned that the thalamus is the major sensory portal to the cerebral cortex.

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