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Chapter Two Psychology Vocabulary

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Neurons
Specialized cells that conduct impulses through the nervous system and contain three major parts- a cell body, dendrites, and an axon.
Cell Body
Part of a neuron that contains the nucleus and carries out the metabolic functions of the neuron.
Dendrites
In a neuron, the branchlike extensions of the cell body that receives signals from other neurons.
Axon
Slender, tail-like extension of the neuron that transmits signals to the dendrites or cell bodies, glands, and other parts of the body.
Axon Terminal
Bulbous end of the axon where signals move from the axon of one neutron to the dendrites or cell bodies of another.
Glial Cells
Specialized cells in the brain and spinal cord that holds neurons together, remove waste products such as dead neurons, and perform other manufacturing, nourishing, and cleanup tasks.
Synapse
Junction where the axon terminal of a sending neuron communicates with a receiving neuron across the synaptic cleft.
Resting Potential
Slight negative electrical potential of the axon membrane of a neuron at rest, about -70 millivolts.
Action Potential
Sudden reversal of the resting potential, which initiates the firing of a neuron.
Myelin Sheath
White, fatty coating wrapped around some axons that acts as insulation and enables impulses to travel much faster.
Neurotransmitters
Chemical substances that are released into the synaptic cleft from the axon terminal of a sending neuron, cross a synapse, and bind to appropriate receptor sites on the dendrites or cell body of receiving neuron, influencing of a receiving neuron, influencing the cell either to fire or not to fire.
Receptors
Protein molecules on the surfaces of dendrites and cell bodies that have distinctive shapes and will interact only with specific neurotransmitters.
Reuptake
Process by which neurotransmitters are taken from the synaptic cleft back into the axon terminal for later use, thus terminating their excitatory or inhibitory effect on the receiving neuron.
Acetylcholine
Neurotransmitter that plays a role in learning new information, causes the skeletal muscle fibers to contacts. and keeps the heart from beating too rapidly.
Dopamine
Neurotransmitter that plays a role in learning, attention, movement, and reinforcement; neurons in the brain of those with Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia are less sensitive to this effect.
Norepinephrine
Neurotransmitter affecting eating, alertness, and sleep.
Epinephrine
Neurotransmitter that affects the metabolism of glucose and causes nutrient energy stored in muscles to be released during strenuous exercise.
Serotonin
Neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood, sleep, impassivity, aggression, and appetite.
Glutamate
Primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.
GABA
Primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
Endorphins
Chemicals produced naturally by the brain that reduce pain and the stress of vigorous exercise and positively affect mood.
Central nervous system (CNS)
Part of the nervous system comprising the brain and the spinal cord.
Peripheral nervous system (PNS)
Nerves connecting the central nervous system to the rest of the body.
Spinal Cord
Extension of the brain, from the base of the brain through the neck and spinal column, that transmits messages between the brain and the peripheral nervous system.
Hindbrain
Link between the spinal cord and the brain that contains structures, that regulate physiological functions, including heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
Brainstem
Structure that begins at the point where the spinal cord enlarges as it enters the brain and handles functions critical to physical survival. It includes the medulla, the pons, and the reticular formation.
Medulla
Part of the brainstem that controls heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, coughing, and swallowing.
Reticular formation
Structure in the brainstem that plays a crucial role in arousal and attention and that screens sensory messages entering the brain.
Pons
Structure that connects the halves of the cerebellum.
Cerebellum
Brain structure that helps the body execute smooth, skilled, movements and regulates muscle tone and posture.
Midbrain
Area that contains structures linking the physiological functions of the hindbrain to the cognitive functions of the forebrain.
Substantia nigra
Structure in the mid-brain that controls conscious motor movements.
Forebrain
Largest part of the brain, where cognitive functions as well as many of the motor functions of the brain are carried out.
Thalamus
Structure, located above the brain-stem that acts as a relay station for information flowing into or out of the forebrain.
Hypothalamus
Small but influential brain structure that regulates hunger, thirst, sexual behavior, internal body temperature, other body functions, and a wide variety of emotional behaviors.
Limbic System
Group of structures in the forebrain, including the amygdala and hippocampus, that are collectively involved in emotional expression, memory, and motivation.
Amygdala
Structure in the limbic system that plays an important role in emotion, particularly in response to unpleasant or punishing stimuli.
Hippocampus
Structure in the limbic system that plays a central role in the storing of new memories the response to new or unexpected stimuli, an navigational ability.
Somatic Nervous System
All the sensory and motor neurons that transmit messages between the brain and the parts of the body that make it possible to sense the environment and to move.
Autonomic Nervous System
Nerves that transmit messages between the brain and the parts of the body taht are not under voluntary control.
Sympathetic Nervous System
Division of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's resources during stress and emergencies, preparing the body for action.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
Division of the autonomic nervous system that brings the heightened bodily responses back to normal following an emergency.
Cerebrum
Largest structure of the human brain, consisting of the two cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum and covered by the cerebral cortex.
Cerebral Hemishperes
Right and left halves of the cerebrum, covered by the cerebral cortex and connected by the corpus callosum; they control movement and feeling on the opposing sides of the body.
Corpus Callosum
thick band of nerve fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and makes possible the transfer of information and the synchronization of activity between the hemispheres.
Cerebral Cortex
Gray, convoluted covering of the cerebral hemispheres that is responsible for the higher mental processes of language, memory, and thinking.
Association Areas
Areas of the cerebral cortex that house memories and are involved in thought, perception, and language.
Lateralization
Specialization of one of the cerebral hemispheres to handle a particular function.
Left Hemisphere
Hemisphere that controls the right side of the body, coordinates complex movements, and, in most people, handles most of the language functions.
Right Hemisphere
Hemisphere that controls the left side of the body and, in most people, is specialized for visual-spatial perception.
Split-brain Operation
Surgical procedure performed to treat severe cases of epilepsy, in which the corpus callousum is cut, separating that hemispheres.
Frontal Lobes
Largest of the brain's lobes, which contain the motor cortex, Broca's area, and the frontal association areas.
Motor Cortex
Strip of tissue at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary body movement and participates in learning and cognitive events,
Broca's Area
Area in the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that controls the production of speech sounds.
Broca's Aphasia
Impairment in the physical ability to produce speech sounds or, in extreme cases, and inability to speak at all; caused by damage to Broca's area.
Parietal Lobes
Lobes that contain the somatosensory cortex, and other areas that are responsible for body awareness and spatial orientation.
Somatosensory Cortex
Strip of tissue at the front of the parietal lobes where touch, pressure, temperature, and pain register in the cerebral cortex.
Occipital Lobes
Lobes that are involved in the reception and interpretation of visual information; they contain the primary visual cortex.
Primary Visual Cortex
Area at the rear of the occipital loves where vision registers in the cerebral cortex.
Temporal Lobes
Lobes that are involved in the reception and interpretation of auditory information; they contain the primary auditory cortex, Wernicke's area, the temporal association areas.
Primary Auditory Cortex
Part of each temporal love where hearing registers in the cerebral cortex.
Wernicke's Aphasia
Aphasia that results from damage to Wernicke's area and in which the person's speech is fluent and clearly articulated but does not make sense to listeners.
Pruning
Process through which the developing brain eliminates unnecessary or redundant synapses.
Plasticity
Capacity of the brain to adapt to changes such as brain damage.
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Record of brain-wave activity made by a machine called the electroencephalograph.
Beta Wave
Brain-wave pattern associated with mental or physical activity.
Alpha Wave
Brain-wave pattern associated with deep relaxation.
Delta Wave
Brain-wave pattern associated with slow-wave sleep.
Microelectrode
Small wire used to monitor the electrical activity of or stimulate activity within a single neuron.
Computerized Axial Tomography (CT scan)
Brain-scanning technique that uses a rotation, computerized X-ray tube to produce cross-selection images of the structures of the brain.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Diagnostic scanning technique that produces high-resolution images of the structures of the brain.
Positron-emission Tomography (PET scan)
Brain-imaging technique that reveals activity in various parts of the brain, based on patterns of blood flow, oxygen use, and glucose consumption.
Functional MRI (fMRI)
Brain-imaging technique that reveals both brain structure and brain activity more precisely and rapidly than PET.
Endocrine System
System of ductless glands in various parts of the body that manufacture hormones and secrete them into the bloodstream, thus affecting cells in other parts of the body.
Hormones
Chemical substances that are manufactured and released in one part of the body and affect other parts of the body.
Pituitary Gland
Endocrine gland located in the brain that releases hormones that activate other endocrine glands as well as growth hormone; often called the "master gland".
Adrenal Glands
Pair of endocrine glands that release hormones that prepare the body for emergencies and stressful situation and also release corticoids and small amounts of the sex hormones.
Genes
Segments of DNA that are located on the chromosomes and are the basic units for the transmission of all hereditary traits.
Chromosomes
Rod-shaped structures in the nuclei of body cells, which contain all the genes and carry all the genetic information necessary to make a human being.
Genotype
Individual's genetic makeup.
Phenotype
Individual's actual characteristics.
Dominant-recessive Pattern
Set of inheritance rules in which the presence of a single dominant gene causes a trait to be expressed but two genes must be present for the expression of a recessive trait.
Multifactorial Inheritance
Pattern of inheritance in which a trait is influenced by both genes and environmental factors.
Behavioral Genetics
Field of research that uses twin studies and adoption studies to investigate the relative effects of heredity and environment on behavior.