We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

E-book purchase
Choose a subscription

Downloaded copy on your device does not expire. Includes 4 years of Bookshelf Online.


Where applicable, tax will be added to the above price prior to payment.

E-book purchasing help



A Functional Approach

Author Georg F. Striedter

Publication Date - 02 October 2015

ISBN: 9780195396157

648 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Investigates not only how the nervous system works but also why it works as it does


Focusing on the problems that brains help organisms solve, Neurobiology: A Functional Approach asks not only how the nervous system works but also why it works as it does. This text introduces readers to neurobiology through an evolutionary, organismal, and experimental perspective. With a strong emphasis on neural circuits and systems, it bridges the gap between the cellular and molecular end and the cognitive end of the neuroscience spectrum, allowing students to grasp the full breadth of the subject. Neurobiology covers not only what neuroscientists have learned about the brain in terms of facts and ideas, but also how they have learned it through key experiments.


  • Conceptual presentation helps students make connections and see the big picture
  • Organized around the major types of problems that nervous systems evolved to solve
  • Emphasizes the process of science and inquiry
  • Highlights evolutionary connections and real-world applications
  • Offers a rich illustration program to help readers visualize complex neurological processes
  • Engaging and accessible writing style is ideal for beginning students

About the Author(s)

Georg F. Striedter is Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior at University of California, Irvine. Dr. Striedter's research focuses on the evolution of brain development in different animal species.


"The author has done an exceptional job of taking the concepts covered in other Neuroscience textbooks and organizing them in a way that should help students make the connections between the theory and the practice."--Judith Ochrietor, University of North Florida

"This text approaches neurobiology from an organismal perspective instead of just presenting factual information without context. I like the integrative approach this text offers, and the coverage of neuroanatomy (including important functional pathways) in the first chapter made me want to adopt this text for use in my course."--John D. Griffin, College of William and Mary

"I like this book's overall approach very much. For an introductory textbook it is important to keep things simple, avoid unnecessary jargon, and explain thoroughly the significance of the material, and Professor Striedter does all of these things exceptionally well. The text not only presents the facts, but also explains in detail the original experiments that discovered these facts, thus encouraging students to understand the science rather than just memorize information."--Kwoon Wong, University of Michigan

"By considering the whole organism, and approaching each aspect of the nervous system as a problem, the text connects each topic to the next, allowing students to build a more holistic understanding of the nervous system."--Sara Tallarovic, University of the Incarnate Word

"This is a book that I would consider ideal for an Intro Neuroscience course. It has a strong pre-med emphasis, but also adequate animal examples."--Barry Condron, University of Virginia

Table of Contents

    The end of every chapter contains a Summary, Key Terms, and Additional Readings.
    About the Author

    Chapter 1 - Nervous System Organization
    1.1 How Do Neuroscientists Study the Brain?
    The Value of Why Questions
    1.2 What Are the Basic Components of the Nervous System?
    Neuroanatomical Nomenclature
    Major Divisions of the Nervous System
    Neurons and Glial Cells
    1.3 What Kinds of Circuits Do Neurons Form?
    Principles of Neural Circuit Organization
    1.4 What Is the Brain's Functional Architecture?
    Early Ideas on Brain Organization
    Modern Views of Brain Organization
    1.5 How Can Scientists "Reverse Engineer" the Brain?
    Functional Decomposition Strategies
    1.6 How Do Brains Evolve?
    Descent with Conservation and Modification
    Which Species to Study?

    Chapter 2 - Computing with Neurons
    2.1 What Are Neurons?

    History of the Neuron Doctrine
    Basic Features of a Stereotypical Neuron
    2.2 What Mechanisms Generate Resting and Action Potentials?
    Ionic Basis of the Resting Potential
    Ionic Basis of the Action Potential
    2.3 How Do Action Potentials Travel along Axons?
    A Traveling Wave of Membrane Depolarization
    The Effects of Myelination
    2.4 How Do Neurons Transmit and Integrate Information?
    Synaptic Transmission
    Synaptic Integration
    2.5 How Do Neurons Differ from One Another?
    Anatomical Variety
    Neurotransmitter Variety
    Receptor Variety
    Ion channel Variety
    2.6 Neuronal Information Processing
    How Neurons Encode Information
    Brains Versus Computers

    Chapter 3 - Neuronal Plasticity
    3.1 How Are Synapses Strengthened in the Marine Snail
    Sensitization in Aplysia
    Making sensitization Last for Days
    3.2 How Are Synapses Strengthened in Mammals?
    Hippocampal Long-Term Potentiation
    Hebbian Long-Term Potentiation
    Mechanisms of LTP Induction
    Mechanisms of LTP Stabilization
    3.3 When Are Synapses Weakened?
    Cerebellar Long-Term Depression
    Spike Timing-Dependent Plasticity
    3.4 Can Inactive Neurons Strengthen Their Inputs?
    3.5 Can Experiences Rewire the Brain?

    Turnover of Dendritic Spines
    Sprouting of Axonal Connections
    Sensory Cortex Plasticity
    Motor Cortex Plasticity
    3.6 How Does Experience Affect Brain and Cortex Size?
    3.7 Does Neural Plasticity Cause Learning and Memory?

    Chapter 4 - Developing a Nervous System
    4.1 Where in the Embryo Does the Nervous System Originate?

    Induction of the Nervous System
    Forming the Neural Tube
    4.2 How Does the Neural Tube Get Subdivided?
    Rostrocaudal Patterning
    Dorsoventral Patterning
    Midbrain and Forebrain Patterning
    4.3 Where Do Neurons Come From?
    Radial Neuronal Migration
    Neurogenesis Timing and Cell Fate
    4.4 How Do Axons Find Their Targets?
    Axonal Growth Cones
    Growth Cone Guidance
    The Retinotectal System
    4.5 How Do Synapses Form?
    Filopodial Interactions
    Synapse Formation
    4.6 How Can a Neural Circuit Be Fine-Tuned?
    Developmental Neuron Death
    Pruning and Sprouting Neuronal Connections
    4.7 What Are the Major Themes of Neural Development?

    Chapter 5 - Protecting and Maintaining the Adult Nervous System
    5.1 Are New Neurons Added to Adult Brains?

    Neuronal Birth-dating Experiments
    5.2 How Is the Brain Protected from Physical Trauma?
    Meninges and Cerebrospinal Fluid
    Pressure Kills Neurons
    5.3 How Does the Brain Protect Itself Against Toxins and Pathogens?
    The Blood-brain Barrier
    The Blood-CSF and Arachnoid Barriers
    5.4 How Does the Nervous System Respond to an Attack?
    The Brain's Immune Response
    Minimizing Neuron Death
    Functional Recovery Through Brain Rewiring
    5.5 How Do Neurons Get Their Energy?
    Sources of Metabolic Energy
    Cerebral Blood Flow
    Linking Blood Flow to Neuronal Activity
    5.6 What Links Body and Brain?

    Chapter 6 - Sensors I: Remote Sensing
    6.1 How Do We Sense Darkness and Light?

    Special Regions of the Retina
    Rod Photoreceptors
    Cone Photoreceptors
    Pathways Through the Retina
    The Puzzle of the Inverted Vertebrate Retina
    6.2 How Do We Sense Odors?
    Olfactory Epithelium
    Olfactory Receptor Molecules
    The Olfactory Bulb
    6.3 How Do We Hear Sounds?
    Outer and Middle Ears
    The Cochlea
    Encoding Sound Parameters
    6.4 Are There Some Principles of Sensor Organization?
    Variability in Sensor Range
    Variability in Sensor Sensitivity
    Labeled Lines
    Sensory Maps

    Chapter 7 - Sensors II: Sensing on Contact
    7.1 How Do We Sense Touch and Vibration?

    Encapsulated Nerve Endings
    Central Projections of Mechanosensory Axons
    7.2 How Do We Sense Pain?
    Axons That Transmit Pain
    Pain Modulation
    7.3 How Do We Sense Temperature?
    Temperature-sensitive TRP Channels
    Food-activated TRP Channels
    7.4 How Do We Taste Foods and Other Chemicals?
    Taste Cells
    Taste Receptor Molecules
    Central Taste Pathways
    Variations in Tasting Ability
    7.5 How Can We Sense Our Body's Physiological Condition?
    Sensing Tissue Acidity
    Sensing Blood Chemistry
    7.6 How Do We Sense Body Position and Movement?
    Vestibular Sensors
    7.7 What Are Some Common Themes of Contact Sensor Organization?
    Variability in Sensor Range and Sensitivity
    Labeled Lines and Sensory Maps

    Chapter 8 - Using Muscles and Glands
    8.1 How Do Neurons Control Skeletal Muscle?

    The Contractile Machinery
    Excitation-contraction Coupling
    Controlling Muscle Force
    Muscle Spindles
    8.2 What Makes the Heart Beat?
    Generation of the Cardiac Rhythm
    Modulation of the Cardiac Rhythm
    8.3 What Is Special About Smooth Muscle?
    Smooth Muscle Anatomy
    Smooth Muscle Physiology
    Smooth Muscle Innervation
    8.4 How Do Muscles Lengthen After Contractions?
    Muscles Must Be Antagonized
    8.5 How Do Neurons Control Hormones, and Vice Versa?
    Endocrine Glands
    The Posterior Pituitary
    The Anterior Pituitary
    Hippocampal Regulation of Stress Hormones

    Chapter 9 - Regulating Bodily Functions
    9.1 How Do We Maintain Physiological Stability?
    9.2 What Parts of the Nervous System Control the Vital Bodily Functions?

    The Sympathetic Division of the Autonomic Nervous System?
    The Parasympathetic Division of the Autonomic Nervous System
    Sensory Components of the Autonomic Nervous System
    The Enteric Nervous System
    9.3 How Do Neural Circuits Regulate the Vital Bodily Functions?
    Adjusting Heart Rate
    Regulating Blood Pressure
    Controlling Breathing
    Regulating Body Temperature
    9.4 How Do Neurons Control Fluid and Energy Balance?
    Balancing the Bodily Fluids
    Regulating Digestion
    Regulating Appetite
    9.5 How Do We Coordinate Our Vegetative Processes?
    Circadian Regulation
    Dealing with Acute Stress
    Effects of Chronic Stress

    Chapter 10 - Controlling Posture and Locomotion
    10.1 What is a Reflex?

    Pupillary Reflexes
    10.2 How Do Reflexes Protect Us From Harm?
    The Eye Blink Reflex
    Withdrawal Reflexes
    10.3 How Do We Stabilize Our Body's Position?
    Muscle Stretch Reflexes
    Stabilizing the Eyes
    Stabilizing the Head
    Stabilizing the Body
    Modulation of Postural Reflexes
    10.4 How Do Animals Move through the World?
    Central Pattern Generation
    Swimming in Fishes
    Walking in Quadrupeds
    10.5 What Does the Motor Cortex Contribute to Motor Control?
    Pathways Descending from Motor Cortex
    Cortical Motor Maps
    Encoding Movement Details
    Mirror Neurons in the Premotor Cortex
    Motor Cortex Plasticity
    10.6 What Does the Cerebellum Contribute to Motor Control?
    Cerebellar Anatomy
    Cerebellar Function: Adaptive Feedforward Control
    Cerebellar Dysfunction
    Non-motor Functions of the Cerebellum
    10.7 How Do the Motor Systems Interact?

    Chapter 11 - Localizing Stimuli and Orienting in Space
    11.1 How do the Somatosensory and Visual Systems Encode Space?

    Spatial Mapping in the Somatosensory System
    Spatial Mapping in the Visual System
    11.2 How Can Animals Determine Where a Sound Came From?
    Interaural Comparisons
    Encoding Space in the Auditory Midbrain and Forebrain
    11.3 In Which Spatial Coordinate System Should Stimuli Be Localized?
    Movable Sensor Arrays
    Spatial Coordinate Transformations
    11.4 How Do Animals Orient Toward an Interesting Stimulus?
    Targeted Eye Movements
    Targeted Head Movements
    Targeted Hand Movements
    11.5 How Do Animals Navigate through Space?
    Testing for Allocentric Navigation in Animals
    Hippocampal Lesions Impair Allocentric Navigation
    Hippocampal Place Cells

    Chapter 12 - Identifying Stimuli and Stimulus Objects
    12.1 What Coding Strategies Do Sensory Systems Employ?

    Sparse and Efficient Sensory Coding
    Grandmother Cells versus Combinatorial Coding
    12.2 How Does the Visual System Identify Objects?
    Retinal Receptive Fields
    Thalamic Receptive Fields
    Edges and Line Detectors in V1
    Identifying Visual Motion
    Identifying Color
    Identifying Complex Visual Objects
    12.3 How Do Neurons Encode Non-Visual Objects?
    Object Identification in the Olfactory System
    Identifying Sounds
    Identifying Things by Touch or Taste
    12.4 Are We Born with All the Neurons We Use to Identify Stimulus Objects?
    Sensory Deprivation Experiments
    Instructive Effects of Early Experience
    12.5 Why Do We Experience Objects as Coherent Entities?
    Binding through Temporal Correlation
    Disorders of Perceptual Binding

    Chapter 13 - Regulating Brain States
    13.1 How Does the Brain Generate and Direct Attention?

    Psychological Aspects of Attention
    Neural Correlates of Involuntary Attention
    Neural Correlates of Voluntary Attention
    13.2 What Mechanisms Generate Behavioral Arousal?
    The Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    Ascending Arousal Systems
    The Locus Coeruleus System
    13.3 Why Do We Sleep, and What Helps Us Wake Up?
    Stages of Sleep
    The Origins of EEG Rhythms
    Brain Systems That Wake Us Up
    Brain Systems That Induce Sleep
    13.4 What's Happening During REM Sleep?
    13.5 Why Does the Brain Have Discrete States?

    Chapter 14 - Remembering Relationships
    14.1 How Many Forms of Learning And Memory Are There?
    14.2 What's Wrong With H.M.?

    H.M.'s Amnesia
    The Sparing of Procedural Learning
    14.3 Can H.M.'s Amnesia Be Reproduced in Non-humans?
    Subdivisions of the Medial Temporal Lobe
    Object Discrimination Tests in Rats
    What Does the Hippocampus Do?
    14.4 How Are Hippocampus-dependent Memories Created, and How Are They Recalled?
    Hippocampal Circuits and Synaptic Plasticity
    Pattern Learning within the Hippocampus
    Memory Recall
    14.5 What Happens to Memories as They Grow Old?
    Systems Consolidation
    The Formation of Neocortical Assemblies
    14.6 What Makes Some Memories Stronger Than Others?
    Boosting the Initial Experience
    Post-training Memory Enhancement
    Memory Modulation by the Basolateral Amygdala
    Function of the Human Basolateral Amygdala
    14.7 How Do Animals Learn What's Dangerous?
    Auditory Fear Conditioning
    Contextual Fear Conditioning
    Inhibitory Avoidance Training
    14.8 How Do We Learn What to Eat or Not to Eat?
    Learning from Others
    Learning from Nausea
    Neural Substrates of Conditioned Taste Aversion
    14.9 What Happens When Memories Conflict?
    Habit versus Place Learning

    Chapter 15 - Selecting Actions, Pursuing Goals
    15.1 What Is the
    Frontostriatal System?
    Complexities of Basal Ganglia Nomenclature
    An Overarching Function for the Frontostriatal System
    15.2 What Are the Direct and Indirect Pathways Through the Striatum?
    Direct Frontostriatal Loops
    The Indirect Pathway Through the Striatum
    15.3 What Is the Influence of Dopamine on the Frontostriatal Loops?
    Dopaminergic Modulation of the Striatum
    Animal Models of Dopamine Depletion
    Dopamine and Drugs of Abuse
    15.4 How Do We Learn What to Do When?
    Dopamine bursts Can Follow or Precede Rewards
    Phasic Dopamine Bursts as Teaching Signals
    15.5 How Do the Dorsal and the Ventral Striatum Relate to One Another?
    15.6 What to Do With Prefrontal Cortex

    Prefrontal Lobotomies
    Response Inhibition
    Working Memory
    15.7 How Do the Components of the Frontostriatal System Work Together?

    Chapter 16 - Being Different from Others
    16.1 Which Species Should Neuroscientists Study, and Why?

    The August Krogh Principle
    Problems with the Model Species Concept
    Studying Non-human Species for Their Own Sake
    16.2 Who Evolved the Largest and Most Complex Brains?
    Evolutionary Increases in Brain Size and Complexity
    Allometric Brain Scaling
    16.3 What Makes Human Brains Unique?
    Primate Brain Evolution
    The Neural Basis of Human Language
    The Evolution of Language-related Circuitry
    16.4 Do Brains Differ Between the Sexes?
    Mechanisms of Sexual Differentiation
    Sex Differences in Spinal Cord, Midbrain, and Hypothalamus
    Sex Differences in the Telencephalon
    16.5 Within a Sex, How Much Do Human Brains Vary?
    Implications of Brain Variability for Functional Brain Imaging
    Age-related Variability in Brains
    16.6 What Can We Learn By Comparing Diverse Brains?
    Working with Animal Models
    Taking Advantage of "Natural Experiments"


Related Titles

Pioneers of Neurobiology


Third Edition

Gordon M. Shepherd