During this week’s lecture of the course ”Structure and operation of the brain” we discussed about neurotransmitters. We started the lecture by watching couple of related animations. The animations were really informative even though they were quite short. It was easier to understand the processes by watching the animations than to just hear or read the description of the events. After the animations we continued to the most common neurotransmitters of the brain. We discussed about different neurotransmitters, their receptor subtypes, agonists and antagonists. We learned many new terms but it was nice that we also discussed about more familiar substances such as ethanol, nicotine and benzodiazepine. It was surprising to hear that most common inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA is actually excitatory in infants. It would be interesting to learn how and at what age the transfer from excitatory to inhibitory occurs.
In the exercise session we did a small experiment related to reaction times. We tested reaction times to both visual and aural stimuli and compared them. We also tested how repeating the test affects the reaction times. For our test subject the reaction times to visual stimuli were shorter than the reaction times to aural stimuli and for visual stimuli the reaction times became shorter when the test was repeated. However, reaction times to aural stimuli did not change with repetition. I hope that we will at some point hear what kind of results the other groups got.