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theory that claimed that bumps on the skull could reveal our mental ablities (1800s)

biological psychology

a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior


an integrated perspective that incorporates biological, psychological, and social-cultural levels of analysis


a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system

sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system

motor neurons

neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands


neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs


contains the dna of the neuron


the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body

cell body

largest part of a typical neuron; contains the nucleus and much of the cytoplasm; decides if neurotransmitters should be passed on


the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands; surface is selectively permeable for passage of ions

nodes of ranvier

Gaps in the myelin sheath of the axons of peripheral neruons. Action potentials can 'hump' from node to node, thus increasing the speed of conduction (saltatory conduction).

myelin sheath

a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next

multiple sclerosis

a chronic progressive nervous disorder involving loss of myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers; autoimmune

action potential

a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon


electrically charged atoms; the interior fluid of a resting neuron has an excess of negative potassium ones; fluid outside the axon has too many positively charged sodium ones;


sodium rushes into neuron through membrane, potassium ruses out; results in a change in charge

refractory period

the time following an action potential during which a new action potential cannot be initiated; pumps the ions back to where they are supposed to be


Neurotransmitters that increase postsynaptic membrane permeability to sodium ions may trigger nerve impulses and thus are said to be ____________


other neurotransmitters decrease membrane permeability to sodium ions, thus making it less likely that threshold will be reached; this action is called ____________


activation energy needed to trigger action potential

all or none response

a nerve or muscle fibre responds completly or not at all to a stimulus


the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron

synaptic gap

space between the axon terminal of one neuron and the receptors of the next neuron


chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse; acetylcholine


a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron


a neurotransmitter that triggers muscle contraction and affects learning and memory; present at every junction between motor neuron ans skeletal muscle


neurotransmitter that influences movement learning attention and motion; lack of this linked with Parkinson's disease; too much is linked with schizophrenia


a neurotransmitter that affects hunger,sleep,arousal,and mood. appears in lower than normal levels in depressed persons


helps control alertness and arousal; undersupply of this chemical can depress mood


inhibitory neurotransmitter; unsersupply linked to seizures; stops anxiety


excitatory neurotransmitter involded in memory, can produce migranes;


naturally occuring opiate; runners high; pleasure and pain


a drug that can combine with a receptor on a cell to produce a physiological reaction; imitates neurotransmitters


a drug that neutralizes or counteracts the effects of another drug

(central nervous system) cns

The brain and spinal cord

nervous system

the body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems

(peripheral nervous system) pns

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body


bundled axons that form neural "cables" connecting the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs


in neurons, another name for sensory; go from body to cns


motor neurons, go from CNS to body

somatic (nervous system)

the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles. Also called the skeletal nervous system

autonomic (nervous system)

The part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms.

sympathetic (nervous system)

the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations; fight or flight

parasypathetic (nervous system)

the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body , conserving its energy

neural networks

interconnected neural cells; clusters

spinal chord

longer in men; controls reflexes; carries signals from brain to the rest of the body; ascending are sensory, descending are motor


a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response; autonomic

endocrine system

the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream


Chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another; travle through the bloodstream; outlast neurotransmitters

adrenal glands

a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. the adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress.

pituitary gland

the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands


tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue

(electroencephalogram) eeg

an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp.

PET scan

a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task


a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain


A technique for revealing blood flow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans.


The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions; crossover point


the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing; SIDS


just above the medulla; help coordinate movment; relay station between the brain and spine; produce chemicals necessary for sleep; slow at something, narcalepsy


the network in the reticular formation that serves an alerting or arousal function; regulates sleep/wake cycles; koma; impacts how much sleep ppl need


the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla; seeing hearing touching, but not smelling


the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement; posture, balance, linked to reading and math skills (crawling down syndrome); drunk

Limbic system

neural system (including the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus) located below the cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions and drives.


a neural center located in the limbic system; delegates memories to short term or long term;


two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion; allows you to interpret situations and facial expressions to tell you to fear or not; hypo/hyper fear


a neural structure lying below the thalamus; directs eating, drinking, body temperature; helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion; possible link to sexual preference; reward center

reward deficiency syndrome

a genetically disposed deficiency in the natural brain systems for pleasure and well-being that leads people to crave whatever provides that missing pleasure or relieves negative feelings; linked with addiction

cerebral cortex

the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center; nont the limbic system; more cortex, less programed

glial cells

cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons; neuron's bitch

frontal lobe

The lobe at the front of the brain associated with movement (motor cortex), speech (broca's left); executive functions, personality; planning, higher thinking; and problem solving

parietal lobe

portion off the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; touch and body position; sensory cortex, wernikes area (left)

occipital lobe

portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; visual areas; concussions

temporal lobe

The portion of the cerebral cortex that is just above the ears and that is involved in hearing, memory, and smell

motor cortex

An area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements/ left right right left; work with prosthetics

sensory cortex

the area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations

association areas

areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking; probing them doesnt trigger observable response; phineas gage


the brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience


the formation of new neurons

corpus callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them

split brain

a condition in which the two brain hemispheres are isolated by cutting the corpus callosum; usually meant to isolate ceisures

broca's area

controls language expression-an area of the frontal, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech, talking

wernike's area

controls language reception-- a brain area involves in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left parietal lobe.

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