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biological psychology

a branch of psychology concerned with links b/w biology and behavior


a nerve cell, basic building block of nervous system


bushy, branchy extension of a neuron that receives messages and conducts impulses toward the cell body


extension of a neuron, ending its branching terminal fibers through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands

myelin sheath

a layer of fatty tissue encasing the fibers of many neurons

action potential

a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon, generated by movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in axon's membrane


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


chemical messengers that traverse synaptic gaps between neurons


neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and triggers muscle contraction, not enough leads to contractions or paralysis, linked to alzheimer's disease


"morphine within" natural opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and pleasure


neurotransmitter that influences movement, learning, attention, emotion, implicated with schizophrenia and parkinson's


neurotransmitter that affects mood, hunger, sleep, arousal, implicated in depression


neurotransmitter that helps control alertness and arousal


a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, low levels of this are linked to anxiety

refractory period

resting pause, neurons pumps positively charged ions to outside

resting potential

fluid interior of resting axon has negatively charged ions and outside has positively charged ions


level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

all-or-none response

neurons reaction, they either "fire" or they don't


"pushing a neurons accelerator"


"pushing a neurons brake"

santiago ramon y cajal

described gaps between individual nerve cells and said individual neurons must function as independent agents within nervous system

sir charles sherrington

noticed a neural impulse that was taking an unexpectedly long time to travel a neural pathway (inferred there must be a brief interruption to the transmission)


a major excitatory neurotransmitter, involved in memory and perception of pain






a poison that can form in improperly canned food, causes paralysis by blocking ACh release from sending neuron

nervous system

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

central nervous system

CNS, the brain and spinal cord

peripheral nervous system

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


neural "cables" containing many axons, connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and organs

sensory neurons

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

motor neurons

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


central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

somatic nervous system

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

autonomic nervous system

part of peripheral nervous system that controls glands and muscles of the internal organs,

sympathetic nervous system

division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations "FIGHT"

parasympathetic nervous system

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


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

neural networks

interconnected neural cells, they can learn as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results


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

adrenal glands

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

pituitary gland

"master gland" endocrine system's most influential gland, under the influence of the hypothalamus, regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands


tissue destruction


an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface

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, show brain ANATOMY


a technique for revealing blood flow and brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans, show brain FUNCTION

brain stem

older part and central core of brain, responsible for automatic survival functions


the base of the brain stem, controls heartbeat and breathing

reticular formation

nerve network in the brain stem that plays an important role controlling arousal

medulla, pons, reticular formation, thalamaus

brain stem from bottom to top


brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of brain stem, directs messages to sensory receiving areas in cortex and transmits replies to cerebellum and medulla


the "little brain" attached to rear of brain stem, process sensory input and coordinate movement of muscles, and balance

limbic system

a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brain stem and cerebral hemispheres, associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as food and sex (includes hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus)


linked to emotion, part of limbic system, lima bean sized clusters


a neural structure lying below (hypo) the thalamus, directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, temperature of body) linked to emotion

cerebral cortex

intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres, ultimate control and information processing center

glial cells

cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons

frontal lobe

portion of the cerebral cortex lying behind forehead, involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgment, linked to personality

parietal lobe

the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear, receives sensory input for touch and body position

occipital lobe

portion of cerebral cortex lying at back of head, includes visual areas which receive visual info from opposite visual field

temporal lobe

portion of cerebral cortex lying roughly above ears, includes auditory areas, each of which receive auditory info primarily from opposite ear

motor cortex

an area at the rear of the frontal lob that controls voluntary movements

sensory cortex

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

association areas

areas of cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions, involved in higher level mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, speaking


impairment of language, caused by left hemisphere damage to broca's area of wernicke's area

broca's area

controls language expression (output), an area of frontal lobe in left hemisphere, directs muscle movements involved in speech

wernicke's area

controls language reception (input), involved in language comprehension and expressions, in left temporal lobe


brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage and in experiments on effects of experience on brain development

corpus callosum

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

split brain

a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly corpus callosum) between them

CAT scan

measures the density of the brain


triggers memory in the brain, part of the limbic system


part of the brainstem, motor skills and coordination

spinal cord

keeps the CNS and the brain connected, is like an info traveling highway


controls voluntary movement

cerebral cortex

web of nerves, is surface of whole brain, processes information

corpus collasum

connects the hemispheres, allows hemispheres to communicate


responsible for senses (except smell)


responsible for maintenance activities, (eat, drink, temperature)

reticular formation

part of brain stem, controls arousal


controls heart rate and breathing

left frontal lobe

where is broca's area?

left temporal lobe

where is wernicke's area?


what cortex comes before the sensory cortex?


what is the occipital lobe in charge mostly of?

lateral fissure

the fissure separating the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes of the cerebrum.


the process by which the presynaptic terminal of a neuron reabsorbs and recycles the molecules of neurotransmitter it has previously secreted in conveying an impulse to another neuron.

Franz Gall

Who would have been most likely to claim that a slight protrusion in a certain region of someone's skull indicated that the individual had an optimistic personality?


Natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control are called:

ACh antagonist

Botox injections smooth facial wrinkles because botulin is a(n):

synaptic gaps

Drugs that block the reuptake of serotonin will thereby increase the concentration of serotonin molecules in the:

raises, dilates

In stressful situations, the sympathetic nervous system ________ blood sugar levels and ________ the pupils of the eyes.

neural networks

While listening to operatic solos, musicians process the lyrics and the tunes in separate brain areas. This most clearly illustrates the functioning of different:


which chemical messenger is a neurotransmitter and a hormone?

pet scan

which test would be most useful for detecting the brain areas that are most active as a person performs mathematical calculations?


The successful functioning of children who have experienced the surgical removal of an entire cerebral hemisphere best illustrates the value of:

away from, toward

An axon transmits messages ________ the cell body and a dendrite transmits messages ________ the cell body.

myelin sheath

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that is most directly associated with the degeneration of:

low, low

Depressed mood states are linked to ________ levels of serotonin and ________ levels of norepinephrine.


A drug that blocks the reuptake of a particular neurotransmitter is called a(n):

sensory and motor neurons

The peripheral nervous system consists of:

bladder contractions

The autonomic nervous system most directly controls

severed spinal cord

Although Ron has no genital sensations, he is capable of an erection if his genitals are stimulated. Ron's experience is most indicative of a:

raises, raises

The release of epinephrine and norepinephrine ________ blood pressure and _______ blood sugar levels.


Research has suggested that a reward deficiency syndrome may contribute to:


Which lobe of the cerebral cortex is most directly involved in speaking?


Brain scans indicate that well-practiced pianists have a larger-than-usual auditory cortex area that encodes piano sounds. This best illustrates:

left cerebral hemisphere

Research with split-brain patients led Michael Gazzaniga to conclude that the ________ typically constructs the theories people offer to explain their own behaviors.

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