ALL SOURCES MUST BE WITHIN THE PAST 5 YEARS!!!
The brain, nervous system, and sensory systems work together to shape behavior. Cognitive functions also shape behavior. In this assignment, you will explore the interrelations of brain, nervous system, sensory systems, and cognitive functions in the shaping of human behavior.
Write a paper that addresses the role of the brain, nervous system, sensory systems, and cognitive functions in shaping behavior. Include the following in your paper:
1. A discussion of the role of the brain, nervous system, and sensory systems in shaping behavior
2. A discussion of the role of cognitive function in shaping behavior
3. A discussion of the interrelation of the brain, nervous system, sensory system, and cognitive functions in shaping behavior
20% – A discussion of how psychological theories are applied to understanding the role of the brain, nervous system, and sensory systems in shaping behavior is present, thorough, and well-detailed. The statement is well supported with current and/or seminal research.
20% – A discussion of how psychological theories are applied to understanding the role of cognitive function in shaping behavior is present, thorough, and well-detailed. The statement is well supported with current and/or seminal research.
25% – A discussion synthesizing the theories describing the interrelation of the brain, nervous system, sensory system, and cognitive functions in shaping behavior is present, thorough, and well-detailed. The statement is well supported with current and/or seminal research.
The Central nervous system’s role in shaping behavior
The nervous system is the part of the human body that has the capability of controlling the involuntary and voluntary actions of the human body. This system is made up of the peripheral and the central nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the spinal cord system and the brain. The peripheral nervous system made up of nerves that radiate from the brain and the spinal cord. The central nervous system has a very important function in the human body in that it receives and sends sensory signals from one part of the body to another. The peripheral nervous system consists of a network of thirty one pairs of interconnected nerves and neurons that connect the head, torso, arms and legs that create pattern generation in behaviors ( Nieuwenhuys ET AL., 2008)
Behavior on the other hand, is defined as the range of habitual actions made by human beings as a reaction to their physical environments. Behavior is the conscious or subconscious response of a human being to external stimuli. Behavior is a tool in which an individual develops in order to organize, manipulate and direct his reactions to fit everyday situations in his life. Human behavior is greatly influenced by the human nervous system. It is also generally believed in scientific circles that the most complex the nervous system of an organism the more complex the organisms behavioral responses and how these organisms adjust to the behavior. The nervous system controls how people learn, how they feel, how they think and how they manage everyday stresses in different aspects of human interaction (Levine, 2012).
The brain is a complex structure consisting of a bundle of cream colored tissue that weighs about three pounds. Here, the body’s voluntary and involuntary functions are controlled. The cerebral cortex in the brain is the part that controls all mental functions such as cognitive thinking, reasoning and emotion. The cerebellum in the other hand controls a person’s motor activities such as walking. Our behavior is determined by our reactions from our external environment. This reactions result from what we smell, taste, feel, see or hear. Everything we hear, feel, see, smell or taste is usually conveyed to our sensory organs as nervous impulses to the brain and vice versa affecting our voluntary and involuntary reactions to environmental stimuli. These reactions over time become habits which then develop to become an individual’s behavior ( Levine, 2012).
The spinal cord is a tube like mass of tissue made up of a bundle of nerves and supporting cells that stem from the brain and runs along connecting the rest of the body with the brain through a central throughway located on the skeletal backbone. The spinal cord consists of tracts of sensory neurons that relay commands back to the body from the brain. Where extraordinary circumstances are concerned, the spinal cord can perform actions by itself bypassing the brain. The spinal cord and the brain makeup the central command center for the body. The peripheral nervous system which connects sense receptors to other bodily muscles and glands makes up the link between other parts of the body and the central nervous system. The somatic nervous system in the other hand is a part of the peripheral nervous system that controls external parts of the body such as the muscles, skin organs and sensory organs. It consists of nerves responsible for sending signals from the brain. The autonomic nervous system is a part of the peripheral nervous system that governs the involuntary internal body processes such as digestion, salivation, urination and perspiration activities. These actions are outside conscious control but can be influenced by cognitive processes. The sympathetic function of the automatic nervous system is greatly involved in the development of behavior in an individual as it activates the organs and glands in the endocrine system. The interrelation of the brain, nervous system, sensory system and cognitive functions are critical in the shaping of behavior (Lin, 2010).
The role of cognitive functions in shaping behavior
Cognition is defined by various scholars as the conscious or preconscious thought process. Cognitive functions are the mental activities in which we are aware off. These activities include using our sensory systems to obtain and process information from our physical environment. They also involve formulation of a plan of action to react to a particular event. The different theories of cognition that have been developed over time assume that the basis of all behavior and emotion is through conscious thought. The theories include the theory of cognitive development, the information processing theory and the social learning theory.
Where cognition and behavior development is concerned, cognitive theory argues that our cognitive capacity to reason develops in time as we grow from infancy all the way to adulthood. Jean Piaget explains that while infancy children perform activities with less thought but as they mature into young adults, a shift is noted where emphasis lies on more thought and less action. Cognitive development is therefore, a continuous and progressive development of the brain resulting in the development of mental processes including thinking and reasoning functions. As a result, the older an individual gets the more complex and mature their behavior patterns become as a result of an increase in their environmental experience and biological maturation. Cognitive functions rely on experience and the information the brain has stored with regards to handling specific situations. This experience and information are obtained through previous cognitive activities such as observation and direct learning through personal experiences. The brain then assimilates this information in response to particular circumstances. New experiences bring about new information which is then assimilated with the help of abstract thoughts and ideas. This theory holds that the cognitive development is the center of all human activity and the development of language is pegged on cognitive development (Friederici, 2008).
The information processing theory offers to explain the role of cognitive functions in shaping behavior in relation to the person and the external physical environment. It is of the opinion that both the environment and the person are independent, objective entities in the processing of inputs and outputs in shaping behavior. Inputs are received through sensory organs and information processing is done in the brain where it develops into short-term memory and eventually is imprinted as long-term memory. The mind, therefore, plays a key role in the constructing and processing of the nature of inputs it receives. This short and long term memory imprints foster behavior patterns in an individual. The social learning theory sees learning as a process motivated by the natural instincts of an individual to experience pleasure and avoid pain. This theory claims that learning is a cognitive process that happens in social contexts and environments where observation of behavior and direct instruction play important roles. Learning occurs through the observation of both the reward and punishment outcomes in a process termed ‘vicarious reinforcement.’ This theory is an extension of behavioral theories that believe biological factors involved in behavior development are inferior to the social behavioral principles learned by observing and witnessing how the actions made by others are reinforced through rewards and punishment (Richardson, 2010). In summary, therefore, different parts of the whole network of the nervous system work to shape the behavior of human beings. Various theories have been discussed to provide a detailed analysis of the relationship between the cognitive functions of the brain and behavior development and describing the interrelation between them.
Dwyer, H. (2011). Cognitive development Tucson, AZ: Brown Bear Books.
Friederici, A. D. (2008). Early language development bridging brain and behavior Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub..
Levine, B., & Craik, F. I. (2012) Mind and the frontal lobes: cognition, behavior, and brain imaging. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lin, V. W. (2010). Spinal cord medicine principles and practice (2nd Ed.). New York: Demos Medical.
Nieuwenhuys, R., Voogd, J., & Huijzen, C. v. (2008). The human central nervous system (4th Ed) Berlin: Springer.
Richardson, A. (2010). The neural sublime: cognitive theories and romantic texts. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.