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Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

division that connects the central nervous system to the rest of the body; divided into somatic nervous system and autonomic nervous system

neural impulse

action potential; the firing of a nerve cell; the entire process of the electrical charge (message/impulse) traveling through inner on; can be as fast as 400 fps (with myelin) or 3 fps (no myelin)

motor projection areas

primary motor cortex; areas of the three boat cortex for response messages from the brain to the muscles and glands

endocrine glands

the bodies "slow" chemical communication by secreting hormones directly into the bloodstream

synaptic cleft

synaptic gap or synaptic space; tiny gap between the terminal of one neuron and the dendrites of another neuron (almost never touch); location of the transfer of an impulse from one neuron to the next

parasympathetic division

a branch of the autonomic nervous system that maintains normal body functions; it calms the body ever conserves energy

cerebral cortex

80% of weight of human brain; 70% of CNS's neurons; wrinkled outer portion of un-myelin aided cells (cerebrum) covering both hemispheres; processes thought, vision, language, memory, and emotions; most recently of all part of nervous system

behavioral genetics

study of hereditary influences and how it influences behavior and thinking


deoxyribonucleic acid; genetic formation in a double-helix; can replicate or reproduce itself; made of genes

acetylcholine (ACh)

distributed widely throughout CNS; involved in arousal, attention, memory, motivation, and movement; involved in muscle action at neuromuscular joints (skeletal muscles); implicated in Alzheimer's disease-loss of memory and severe language problems; too much dopamine = spasms and tremors; too little dopamine = paralysis and torpor


connection neurons; Association neurons that carry messages to another neuron


"mood molecule"; chemical that affects regulation asleep, dreaming, mood, hunger, pain, and aggressive behavior; and attaches to many receptors (receptor sites)


chemical that influences voluntary movement, learning, pleasure, memory,-is implicated in Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia; in Parkinson's disease a causes tremors, muscle spasms, increasing muscular rigidity; recently implicated in ADHD

occipital lobe

part of cerebral cortex that receives visual information


Greek for axle; a single long, fluid-filled tube that carries outgoing messages to other neurons, muscles, or glands; can be 1 or 2 mm to 3 feet in length; often referred to as a nerve or tract; bundled together

endocrine system

the body slow chemical communication system which is made up of a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream; made of the glands-pineal, pituitary, parathyroid, thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal, ovaries and testes


for glands embedded in the thyroid; secretes parathormone; controls announces level of calcium and phosphate (which influence levels of excitability)

reticular formation (RF) (RES)

netlike system of neurons that weaves through limbic system and plays an important role in attention, arousal, and alert functions; arouses and alerts higher parts of the brain; anesthetics work by temporary shutting off RF system

pituitary gland

endocrine gland that produces a large amount of hormones; it regulates growth and helps control other endocrine glands; located on underside of brain

frontal lobe

part of the cerebral cortex; coordinates messages from other cerebral lobes; involved in complex problem-solving tasks, thinking, self-control, judgment, emotion regulation, personality affects, concentration, goal directed behavior; restructures in teen years


small area of the brain that is part of the limbic system and regulates behaviors related to survival such as, eating, drinking, sexual behaviors, motivation

neural plasticity

Ability of the brain to change their experience, both structurally and chemically


top of the brain which includes the thalamus, hypothalamus, and cerebral cortex; responsible for emotional regulation, complex thought, memory aspect of personality


top of the spinal column

graded potential

shift in electrical charge in a tiny area of the neuron (temporary); transmits a long cell membranes leaving neuron and polarized state; needs higher than normal threshold of excitation to fire

strain studies

studies of hereditability it be a behavioral traits using animals that have been inbred to produce strains that are genetically similar to one another

family studies

studies of hereditability on the assumption that if a gene influences a certain trait, close relatives should be more similar on that trait in distant relative

identical twins

twins from a single fertilized oval with the same genetic makeup


adrenaline; activates a sympathetic nervous system by making the heart beat faster, stopping digestion, enlarging pupils, sending sugar into the bloodstream, preparing a blood clot faster


a curved portion of the forebrain structure that is part of the limbic system and is involved in learning and processing new memories


production of new brain cells; November 1988: cancer patients proved that new neurons grew until the end of life


"little brain"; part of the brain that coordinates balance, movement, reflexes

limbic system

a donut ring-shaped of loosely connected structures located in the forebrain between the central core and cerebral hemispheres; consists of: septum, cingulate gyrus, endowments, hypothalamus, and to campus, and amygdala; associated with emotions and memories

autonomic nervous system

a division of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary functions; it takes a message from the central nervous system to the internal organs

relative refractory period

a period after firing when a neuron is returning to its normal polarize state and will only fire again if the incoming message open parentheses impulse) is stronger than usual; returning to arresting state


hormone backpacks in the regulation of blood sugar by acting in the utilization of carbohydrates; released by pancreas; too much-hypoglycemia, too little-diabetes

synaptic vesicles

tiny oval-shaped sacs in a terminal of one neuron; assist in transferring mineral impulse from one neuron to another neuron by releasing specific neurotransmitters

absolute refractory period

a. After firing when a neuron will not fire again no matter how strong the incoming message may be; length-1000th of a second


noradrenaline; chemical which is excitatory, similar to adrenaline, and affects arousal and memory; raises blood pressure by causing blood vessels to become constricted, but also carried by bloodstream to the anterior pituitary which relaxes ACTH thus prolonging stress response


the bushy, branching extensions of the cell body that receives messages and conducts impulses; Greek for tree

human genomes

30,000 genes needed to build a human

twin studies

studies as identical and rhetorical twins to determine relative influence of heredity and environment on human behavior


chemical inhibiting the transmission of pain, often experienced during exercise, i.e. "runner's high"; discovered in 1970s when trying to find out how opiates were (morphine, heroin); "endorphins" is a pharmacological (drug/med) term

myelin sheath

a white, lipoid (fatty) material in casing many neuron fibers and enables faster transmission of an impulse; white matter; it's pinched at intervals; not on all neurons but found throughout the body; insulin to prevent interference from other neurons

sympathetic division

a branch of the autonomic nervous system and prepares the body for quick action in emergencies; fight or flight; busiest when frightened, angry, or aroused; increases heart rate, increases breathing rate, enlarges pupils, stops digestion; connects to all internal organs; sudden reaction


electrically charged particles found both inside and outside a neuron; negative ions are found inside the cell membrane in a polarized neuron

Association areas

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


study of how traits are transmitted from one generation to the next

recessive gene

member of the gene terror that controls the appearance of a certain trait only if it is paired with the same gene

thyroid gland

located in the net; it regulates metabolism by secreting two hormones: thyroxine and parathormone


the middle division of brain responsible for hearing and sight; location where pain is registered; includes temporal lobe, occipital lobe, and most of the parietal lobe


when the neuron is at rest; condition of neuron when the inside of the neuron is negatively charged relative to the outside of Enron; is necessary to generate the neuron signal in release of this polarization

resting potential

when a neuron is in polarization; more negative ions are inside the neuron cell membrane with a positive ions on the outside, causing a small electrical charge; release of this charge generates a neuron's impulse (signal/message)

glial cells

Greek for glue; forms myelin sheath; holds neuron in place; provides nourishment and removes waste; prevents harmful substances from entering bloodstream; may play important role in memory and learning; affects brain's response to new experiences

dominant genes

member of a gene terror that controls the appearance of a certain trait


part of the brain involved in sleep regulation also connects a cerebellum to the cerebral cortex; sleep and wake cycles


released by thyroid; hormone that regulates the body's metabolism; OVERACTIVE-over-excitability, insomnia, reduced attention span, fatigue, snap decisions, reduced concentration (hyperthyroidism); UNDERACTIVE-desire to sleep, constantly tired, weight gain (hypothyroidism)


bundles of axons


pair of threadlike bodies within the cell ridiculous; contains genes

somatic nervous system

division of peripheral nervous system; carries messages from afferent neurons central nervous system and between central nervous system to skeletal muscles; controls voluntary actions


reproductive glands-male, testes; female, ovaries

receptor site

a location on a receptor neurons which is like a key to a lock (with a specific nerve transmitter); allows for orderly pathways


study that focuses on biological foundations of behavior and mental processes; overlaps with neuroscience

Central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and spinal cord; 90% of the bodies neurons


part of the brain which controls living functions such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature


100 billion in brain; individual cells that are the smallest unit of the nervous system; it has three classes: efferent, afferent, and interneurons; made of Colin dendrites, axons, synaptic gap, terminal buttons, synaptic vesicles, and sometimes myelin

selection studies

studies that estimate the hereditability of a trait by breeding animals with another animal that has the same trait

(beta) endorphins

a natural painkiller released by the body, often experienced during exercise; discovered in 1970s when investigating how opiates were; beta endorphins are natural

spinal cord

a bundle of neuron axons which act like cables carrying messages to the PNS; connects brain to the rest of the body; wrapped in myelin and, surrounded and protected by vertebral bones; spinal injuries-paralysis, bowel/bladder control, low blood pressure


division which includes the cerebellum, Pons, and medulla; responsible for involuntary processes: blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, breathing, sleep cycles

adrenal glands

located above the kidney and secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine; stimulated by autonomic nervous system

motor neurons

efferent neurons; neurons that carry messages from spinal cord/brain to muscles and glands


chemical messengers released by synaptic vesicles and travel through the synaptic gap assisting neural impulses (messages) as they leave one neuron to the next; affects adjacent neurons; examples: ACh, dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and norepinephrine, glutamate, GABA, and glycine


hormone that controls imbalances levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood and tissue fluid; influences levels of excitability; secreted by parathyroids


elements that control transmission of traits; on the chromosomes


serves a function similar to neurotransmitters in that they carry messages; chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream; manufactured by glands (mostly); help regulate bodily functions


the point of communication between two neurons-includes axon terminal of the sending neuron, the synaptic space (gap), and dendrites/cell body of the receiving neuron


organ lying between the stomach and small intestine; regulates blood sugar by secreting to regulating hormones: insulin and glucagon


motor sensory relay center for four of the five senses; and with a brain stem and composed of two egg-shaped structures; integrates in shades incoming sensory signals; Mnemonic-"don't smell the llamas because the llamas smell bad"

temporal lobe

involved in complex visual tasks and processing; balance; emotional regulation and maturity; Strong oral and language comprehension; smell; hearing; still developing after age 16

ACTH (arenocorticotropic hormone)

released by adrenal glands; triggered by norepinephrine to prolong the response to stress (used in the sympathetic nervous system)

polygenic inheritance

process by which several genes interact to produce a certain trait; responsible for most important traits

parietal lobe

part of the cerebral cortex never see sensory information from skin, muscles, joints, organs, taste buds; involved in spatial/visual abilities and integrates all sensory signals; immature until age 16


collection of fetal cells and testing them for genetic abnormalities; using a long needle to withdraw cells from third trimester pregnant woman; uses amniotic fluid which surrounds fetus in the womb

axon terminal

terminal button, synaptic knob; the structure at the end of an excellent terminal branch; houses the synaptic vesicles and neurotransmitters

corpus callosum

large band of white neural fibers that connects to to brain hemispheres and carries messages between them; myelinated; involved in intelligence, consciousness, and self-awareness; does it reach full maturity until 20s


study of the brain and nervous system; overlaps with psychobiology

sensory neurons

afferent neurons; neurons that carry messages from sensory organs to the brain and spinal cords

fraternal twins

two children developed on two separate eggs that share a room; no more genetically similar than other brother and sisters (i.e. different genetic makeup)

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