central nervous system (CNS)
Division of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body
somatic nervous system
division of the peripheral nervous system that control's the body's skeletal muscles.
sensory (afferent) neurons
neurons that carry information from the receptors to the spinal cord and brain
motor (efferent) neurons
neurons that carry information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles
autonomic nervous system (ANS)
division of the peripheral nervous system involved in the control of (generally unconscious/automatic) bodily functioning through organs and glands; its sympathetic division arouses while the parasympathetic division calms
sympathetic nervous system
subdivision of the autonomic nervous system responsible for mobilizing the body in times of stress, and preparing for flight or fight
parasympathetic nervous system
subdivision of the autonomic nervous system responsible for calming the body
automatic behavior in response to a specific stimulus; does not involve communication with the brain
the oldest part and central core of the brain; responsible for automatic survival functions and composed of medulla, pons, and reticular formation.
structure of the brainstem that allows for communication between the cerebellum, cerebral cortex, & brain stem; has nuclei that are important for sleep and arousal
band of nerve fibers that run through the center of the brain stem; important in controlling arousal levels
a group of structures located beneath the cerebral cortex that are involved in regulating emotions and motivated behaviors
subcortical structure that relays incoming sensory information to the cerebral cortex and other parts of the brain; a.k.a "sensory switchboard"
device that monitors and records waves of electric activity within the brain; measured by electrodes placed on the scalp
positron emission tomography (PET scan)
visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task
computed tomography (CT scan)
imaging technique that involves the production of a large number of X-rays interpreted by a computer
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
imaging technique that involves the use of radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce a signal that can be interpreted by computer
short, branchlike structures of a neuron that receive information from receptors and other neurons
technique for revealing bloodflow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans; capable of showing BOTH structure and function of the brain
method of clearing a neurotransmitter from the synaptic cleft, in which the neurotransmitter is reabsorbed into the terminal buttons
"morphine within"; natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure
brief electrial charge that travels down the axon; a process also called "depolarization"
period, after firing, during which the neuron is unable to fire because it is repolarizing
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream
chemicals produced by the glands of the endocrine system that are carried by the bloodstream to other body tissues
gland located below the thalamus and hypothalamus; called the "master gland" of the endocrine system because it controls many other glands
a neurotransmitter that enables muscle action, learning and memory; an undersupply is linked with Alzheimer's disease
a neurotransmitter that influences movement, learning and attention; overactivity of receptors linked to schizophrenia while an undersupply linked to Parkinson's disease
a neurotransmitter that affects mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal. An undersupply of this neurotransmitter is linked with depression.
a major excitatory neurotransmitter; oversupply can overstimulate brain, producing migraines or seizures
central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between sensory inputs and motor outputs
structure in the limbic system responsible for directing several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temp); helps govern endocrine system via the pituitary gland
responsible for discovering the area on the left frontal lobe responsible for coordinating muscle movements involved in spoken language
process of neural firing; when action potential is generated and the neuron briefly takes on a positive charge
neuron will only fire (if threshold is reached) OR not fire (if stimulation is insufficient)
the two almond-shaped nerve clusters in the limbic system believed to be responsible for fear and aggressive responses
wrinkled, gray covering of the brain that accounts for 80% of brain weight is responsible for complex processing of information, planning, learning, memory storage, etc.
located on the rear of the frontal lobes; responsible for directing voluntary movement on the opposite side of the body
located on the front of the parietal lobes; registers and processes body touch and movement sensations
portion of the cerebral cortex at the "back" of the head; contains the visual cortex
portion of the cerebral cortex located on the "sides" of the brain lying roughly above the ears; includes auditory areas, each receiving information primarily from the opposite ear
early, misguided attempt at studying the functions of parts of the brain; held that bumps on the skull revealed the person's personality traits
area (usually in the left frontal lobe) that directs the muscle movements involved in speech
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
transforms visual representations into an auditory code; damage to this leaves the person unable to speak and understand, but able to read
Brain's ability to reorganize and change its structure and function throughout the life span, in reponse to injury or new learning
This is also called lateralization; refers to the fact that the left and right hemispheres of the brain have some specific functions that exist only in those hemispheres.
The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left side.
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
A pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones that help arouse the body in times of stress.
Portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position.
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments
A condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them
The interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language).
The principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks; also known as "parallel processing"
a progressive disease of the nervous system that involves a degeneration of the myelin that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cor
Assess hereditary influence by examining the resemblance between adopted children and both their biological and their adoptive parents.
the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
Threadlike, gene-carrying structures found in a cell's nucleus (46 in body cells; 23 in sex cells). Each chromosome consists of one very long DNA molecule and associated proteins.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up chromosomes
study of how the environment can alter gene expression or function (e.g. light, nutrition, temperature, presence of other species); example of interaction of nature & nurture
The study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection.
Twins who develop from separate eggs; dizygotic (DZ) twins. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share a fetal environment.
biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
the proportion of variation among individuals that is related to genetic variation; estimates may vary depending on the range of populations and environments studied
Also known as monozygotic (MZ) twins; twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, resulting in two individuals that share the exact same DNA.
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes
A process in which individuals that have certain inherited traits tend to survive and reproduce at higher rates than other individuals because of those traits.