AP Psychology Chapter 2: Biological Foundations of Behavior

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111 terms · Definitions from Psychology: Concepts and Applications Second Edition by Jeffrey S. Nevid

Neurons

Nerve cells

Brain

Mass of nerve tissue encased in the skull that controls virtually everything we are and everything we do

Soma

Cell body of a neuron; contains the nucleus of the cell and carries out the cell's metabolic functions

Axon

The tubelike part of a neuron that carries messages away from the cell body toward other neurons

Terminal Buttons

Swellings at the tips of axons from which neurotransmitters are dispatched into the synapse

Neurotransmitters

Chemical messengers that transport nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another

Synapse

The small fluid-filled gap between neurons through which neurotransmitters carry neural impulses

Sensory Neurons

Neurons that transmit information from sensory organs, muscles, and inner organs to the spinal cord and brain

Motor Neurons

Neurons that convey nerve impulses form the central nervous system to muscles and glands

Glands

Body organs or structures that produce secretions

Hormones

Secretions from endocrine glands that help regulate bodily processes

Interneurons

Nerve cells in the central nervous system that connect neurons to neurons; in the brain, they are involved in processing information

Nerve

A bundle of axons from different neurons that transmit nerve impulses

Glial Cells

Small but numerous cells in the nervous system that support neurons and that form the myelin sheath found on many axons

Myelin Sheath

A layer of protective insulation that covers the axons of certain neurons and helps speed transmission of nerve impulses

Nodes of Ranvier

Gaps in the myelin sheath that create noninsulated areas along the axon

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheath that insulates axons is damaged or destroyed

Ions

Electrically charged chemical particles

Resting Potential

The electrical potential across the cell membrane of a neuron in its resting state

Depolarization

A positive shift in the electrical charge in the neuron's resting potential, making its less negatively charged

Action Potential

An abrupt change from a negative to a positive charge of a nerve cell, also called a neural impulse

All-or-None Principle

The principle by which neurons will fire only when a change in the level of excitation occurs that is sufficient to produce an action potential

Refractory Period

A temporary state in which a neuron is unable to fire in response to continued stimulation

Receptor Site

A site on the receiving neuron in which neurotransmitters dock

Reuptake

The process by which neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the transmitting neuron

Enzymes

Organic substances that produce certain chemical changes in other organic substances through a catalytic action

Neuromodulators

Chemicals released in the nervous system that influence the sensitivity of the receiving neuron to neurotransmitters

Antagonists

Drugs that block the actions of neurotransmitters by occupying the receptor sites in which the neurotransmitters dock

Schizophrenia

A severe and chronic psychological disorder characterized by disturbances in thinking, perception, emotions, and behavior

Hallucinations

Perceptions experienced in the absence of external stimuli

Delusions

Fixed but patently false beliefs

Parkinson's Disease

A progressive brain disease involving destruction of dopamine-producing brain cells and characterized by muscle tremors, shakiness, rigidity, and difficulty in walking and controlling fine body movements

Agonists

Drugs that either increase the availability or effectiveness of neurotransmitters or mimic their actions

Stimulant

A drug that activates the central nervous system, such as cocaine or nicotine

Amphetamines

A class of synthetically derived stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine or "speed."

Antidepressants

Drugs that combat depression by affecting the levels or activity of neurotransmitters in the brain

Endorphins

Natural chemicals released in the brain that have pain-killing and pleasure-inducing effects

Nervous System

The network of nerve cells for communicating and processing information from within and outside the body

Central Nervous System

The part of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord

Spinal Cord

The column of nerves that transmits information between the brain and the peripheral nervous system

Spine

The protective bony column that houses the spinal cord

Reflex

An automatic, unlearned response to particular stimuli

Spinal Reflex

A reflex controlled at the level of the spinal cord that may involve as few as two neurons

Peripheral Nervous System

The part of the nervous system that connects the spinal cord and brain with the sensory organs, muscles, and glands

Somatic Nervous System

Part of the peripheral nervous system; transmits information between the ventral nervous system and the sensory organs and muscles; also controls voluntary movements

Autonomic Nervous System

Part of peripheral nervous system; automatically regulates involuntary bodily processes, such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion

Sympathetic Nervous System

Branch of autonomic nervous system; accelerates bodily processes and releases the stores of energy needed to meet increased physical demands

Parasympathetic Nervous System

Branch of autonomic nervous system; regulates bodily processes, such as digestion, that replenish stores of energy

Hindbrain

The lowest and, in evolutionary terms, oldest part of the brain; includes the medulla, pons, and cerebellum

Medulla

Hindbrain; involved in regulating basic life functions, such as heartbeat and respiration

Pons

Hindbrain; Involved with sleep and wakefulness

Brainstem

The "stalk" in the lower part of the brain that connects the spinal cord to the higher regions of the brain

Cerebellum

Hindbrain; involved in controlling coordination and balance

Midbrain

The part of the brain that lies on top of the hindbrain and below the forebrain

Reticular Formation

A weblike formation of neurons involved in regulating states of attention, alertness, and arousal

Forebrain

The largest and uppermost part of the brain; contains the thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system, basal ganglia, and cerbral cortex

Thalamus

Forebrain; serves as a relay station for sensory information and that plays a key role in regulating states of wakefulness and sleep

Basal Ganglia

An assemblage of neurons lying in the forebrain that is important in controlling movement and coordination

Hypothalamus

A small, pea-sized structure in the forebrain that helps regulate many vital bodily functions; body temperature and reproduction, emotional states: aggression and response to stress

Cerebral Cortex

The wrinkled, outer layer of gray matter that covers the cerebral hemispheres; controls higher mental functions, such as though and language

Cerebrum

The largest mass of the forebrain, consisting of two cerebral hemispheres

Cerebral Hemisphere

The right and left masses of the cerebrum, which are joined by the corpus callosum

Corpus Callosum

The thick bundle of nerve fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres

Occipital Lobes

Located at the back of both cerebral hemispheres; process visual stimuli

Parietal Lobes

Located on the side of each cerebral hemisphere; process bodily sensations

Somatosensory Cortex

The part of the parietal lobe that processes information about touch and pressure on the skin, as well as the position of the parts of our bodies as we move about

Frontal Lobes

Located at the front of the cerebral hemispheres; considered the "executive center" of the brain because of their role in higher mental functions

Motor Cortex

A region of the frontal lobes involved in regulating body movement

Temporal Lobes

Lying beneath and somewhat behind the frontal lobes; involved in processing auditory stimuli

Association Areas

Parts of the cerebral cortex that piece together sensory information to form meaningful perceptions of the world and perform higher mental functions

EEG (electroencephalograph)

A device that records electrical activity in the brain

CT (computed tomography) scan

A computer-enhanced imaging technique in which an X-ray beam is passed through the body at different angles to generate a three-dimensional image of bodily structures

PET (positron emission tomography) scan

An imaging technique in which a radioactive sugar tracer is injected into the bloodstream and used to measure levels of activity of various parts of the brain

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

A technique that uses a magnetic field to create a computerized image of internal bodily structures

Lateralization

The specialization of the right and left cerebral hemispheres for particular functions; Right: Nonverbal functions; Left: Verbal Functions (logic)

Broca's Area

An area of the left frontal lob involved in speech

Wernicke's Area

An area left of the temporal lob involved in processing written and spoken language

Aphasia

Loss or impairment of the ability to understand or express language

Plasticity

The ability of the brain to adapt itself after trauma or surgical alteration

Stroke

The sudden loss of consciousness and resulting paralysis, loss of sensation, and other disability or death resulting form blockage of blood to a part of the brain or from bleeding in the brain

Prefrontal Cortex

The area of the frontal lobe that lies in front of the motor cortex and that is involved in higher mental functions, including thinking, planning, impulse control, and weighing the consequences of behavior

Laceration

A type of brain trauma in which a foreign object,, such as a bullet or a piece of shrapnel, pierces the skull and injures the brain

Concussion

A jarring of the brain caused by a blow to the head

Epilepsy

A neurological disorder characterized by seizures marked by sudden, violent discharges of electrical activity in the brain

Split-Brain Patients

Persons whose corpus callosum has been surgically severed

Endocrine System

The body's system of glands that release their secretions, called hormones, directly into the bloodstream

Pancreas

An endocrine gland located near the stomach that produces the hormone insulin; regulates the concentration of glucose in the blood

Diabetes

A metabolic disease involving the insufficient production of insulin or failure to efficiently use the insulin that is produced

Homeostasis

The tendency of systems to maintain a steady, internally balanced state

Pituitary Gland

Gland in the brain; produces various hormones involved in growth, regulation of the menstrual cycle, and childbirth

Pineal Gland

A small endocrine gland in the brain that produces the hormone melatonin, which is involved in regulating sleep-wake cycles

Adrenal Glands

A pair of glands located just about the kidneys that produce various stress-related hormones

Thyroid Glands

In the neck; secretes hormones involved in regulating metabolic functions and physical growth

Gonads

Sex glands that produce sex hormones and germ cells

Ovaries

Female gonads; secrete estrogen and progesterone and produce mature egg cells

Testes

Male gonads; produce sperm and secrete testosterone

Germ Cells

Sperm and egg cells from which new life develops

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

A cluster of physical and psychological symptoms occurring in the few days preceding the menstrual flow

Genotype

An organism's genetic code

Genes

Basic units of heredity that contain the individual's genetic code

Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

The basic chemical material in chromosomes that carries the individual's genetic code

Chromosomes

Rodlike structures in the cell nucleus that house the individual's genes

Phenotype

The observable physical and behavioral characteristics of an organism, representing the influences of the genotype and environment

Polygenic Traits

Traits that are influenced by multiple genes interacting in complex ways

Familial Association Studies

Studies that examine the degree to which disorders or characteristics are shared among family members

Identical Twins

Twins who developed form the same zygote and so have identical genes (aka Monozygotic, or MZ twins)

Zygote

A fertilized egg cell

Fraternal Twins

Twins who developed from separate zygotes and so have 50 percent of their genes in common (aka dizygotic or DZ twins)

Twin Studies

Studies taht examine the degree to which concordance rates between co-twins for particular disorders or characteristics vary in relation to whether the twins are identical or fraternal

Concordance Rates

In twin studies, the percentages of cases in which both members of twin pairs share the same train or disorder

Adoptee Studies

Studies that examine whether adoptees are more similar to their biological or adoptive parents with respect to their psychological traits or the disorders they develop

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