AP Psych

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biological psychology

a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior

neuron

a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system

sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord

motor neurons

neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands

interneurons

neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

dendrite

the busy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body

axon

the extensions of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands

myelin sheath

a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enabled vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next

action potential

a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon

threshold

the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

synapse

the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. the tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or synaptic cleft.

neurotransmitters

chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. when released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse

reuptake

a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron

endorphins

natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure

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