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111 terms

AP Psychology Chapter 2: Biological Foundations of Behavior

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