Welcome to the laboratory component of PSYC*2410. The purpose of this lab is to introduce you to the gross anatomy of the brain. Sheep brains are used in this lab because they are easy to extract, reasonably inexpensive (they are procured from the food industry), large, and mammalian.
Before we begin our dissections, you should acquaint yourself with the directional terms used in anatomy. A structure is anterior to another structure when it is closer to the nose of an animal (see the above diagram). Some texts use the terms anterior and rostral interchangeably, but we will stick to anterior. A structure that is posterior to another is closer to the back of the head. Another word for posterior is caudal. Down is ventral. To look at the ventral surface is to look at the bottom of the brain. Dorsal is up in the brain (and up in the spinal cord of animals, but not in humans – why is this?). When a structure is lateral to another structure, it is considered to be closer to the outside (see diagram to the left). When a structure is closer to the middle (or the midline) it is considered to be medial to another structure. You should memorize these terms, they are used throughout this manual.