Gen. Psych-Module 3

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Biological psychology

a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior. (Some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists)

Neuron

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

Dendrite

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

Axon

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

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 cleft

Neurotransmitters

chemical messengers that traverse 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

Endorphins

"morphine within" - natural, opiate like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure

Nervous system

the body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems

Central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and spinal cord

Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body

Nerves

neural "cables" containing many axons. These bundled axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs

Sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system

Motor neurons

neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands

Interneurons

central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

Somatic nervous system

the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles. Also called the skeletal nervous system

Autonomic nervous system

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms

Sympathetic nervous system

the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations

Parasympathetic nervous system

the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy

Reflex

a simple, automatic response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response

Endocrine system

the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream

Hormones

chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another

Adrenal glands

a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress

Pituitary gland

the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.

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