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resting potential

electrical charge across the cell membrane of a neuron


minimum level of stimulus needed to activate a neuron

action potential

reversal of charges across the cell membrane of a neuron as an impulse passes

brain stem

connects brain to the spinal chord; controls information going in and out of the brain; controls involuntary actions


recieves messages from sensory receptors and relays to proper part of cerebrum

spinal chord

controls reflexes; carries signals from brain to the rest of the body

sensory division of peripheral nervous system

transmits impulses from sensory neurons to CNS

motor division of the peripheral nervous system

transmits impulses from CNS to muscles and glands

somatic nervous system

part of motor division; regulates voluntary activities

autonomic nervous system

part of motor division; regulates involuntary activities


the electrical discharge that travels along a nerve fiber


chemical "messengers" of the endocrine system that are released into the blood

protein hormones

class of hormones that cannot pass through the cell membrane; less likely to be stored in the body

steroid hormones

class of hormones that can pass through the cell membrane; can be stored in the body


local hormones that do not enter the bloodstream

positive feedback

Process that amplifies a small change (Reinforce change)

negative feedback

a response that opposes the original stimulus


Neurotransmitter chemical released at the ends of some nerve cells

motor nerves

Carry messages away from the brain and spinal cord to muscles and organs

sensory neurons

type of neurons that usually has long dendrites and short axons, and carry messages from the body to the CNS

motor neurons

usually has long axons and short dendrites, and transmits messages from the central nervous system to the body


found only in the CNS where they connect neuron to neuron and gives quick responses

saltatory conduction

process of impulses jumping from node to node

sodium potassium pump

maintains unequal concentration by actively transporting ions against concentration gradients


makes membrane more permeable to sodium and increases synaptic transmission of impulses in brain (eg. caffeine, cocaine, mescaline, nicotine)


inhibit an impulse at synapse (eg. anesthetics, botulin, curare, serotonin)

psychedelic drug

affects role of serotonin and alter perception (eg. LSD, marijuana)


they relieve pain by interfering with transmission of pain impulses to cerebral cortex.

cerebral cortex

controls intelligence, reasoning, learning, memory


regulates homeostasis, links nervous system to endocrine system


controls muscles, posture, balance, causes continuous state of muscle contraction

medulla oblongata

involved with regulation of heartbeat, breathing, vasoconstriction, reflex

cranial nerves

takes impulses to and from CNS (in PNS)

spinal nerves

takes impulses to and away from spinal chord

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