Psych Chapter 2 neuroscience and behavior

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biology 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

dendrite

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

axon

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

myelin sheath

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

action potential

a neural impuls; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. The action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane.

threshold

level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

synapse

junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron.

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 wheter that neuron will generate a neural impulse

acetylcholine

a neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contractions

endorphins

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

nervous system

the body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, 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

interneurons

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

motor neurons

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

somatic nervous system/ skeletal nervous system

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

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

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

neural networks

interconnected neural cells. with experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. computer simulations of nerual networks show analogous learning.

lesion

tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue.

electroencephalogram (EEG)

an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp.

CT (Computed tomography) scan/ CAT scan

a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body.

PET (positron emission tomography) scan

a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computergenterated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; alows to see structures within the brain

Brainstem

The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; responsible for automatic survival functions

medulla

the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing

reticular formation

a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal

thalamus

brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory recieving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla

cerebellum

the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance

limbic system

a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and agression and drives such as those for food and sex. (Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus)

amygdala

two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion.

hypothalamus

a neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus; it directs several maintenenace activities (eating, drinking, body temp), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gand, and is linked to emotion.

cerebral

the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center

glial cells

cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons

frontal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments.

parietal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; includes the sensory cortex.

occipital lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field.

temporal lobes

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which recieves auditory information primarily from the opposite ear.

Motor cortex

an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements

sensory cortex

the area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body sensations

association areas

areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remebering, thinking, and speaking

aphasia

impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to wernicke's area (impairing understanding)

broca's area

controls language expression--an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.

Wernicke's area

controls language reception--a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe.

plasticity

the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development

corpus callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them.

split brain

a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (corpus callosum) between them.

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 glans, 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 influentioal gland. under the influence of the hypothalamus, the piutitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.

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