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Brain and Neuropsychology Glossary
Terms in this set (46)
Autonomic NS (ANS)
The system that operates involuntarily/automatically; has two main divisions, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Central NS (CNS)
Made up of the brain and spinal cord. Where all complex commands and decisions are made.
Peripheral NS (PNS)
Transmits information about voluntary activity, communicating between the CNS and the rest of the body (muscles and glands). Coordinates some reflex responses.
Nervous system (NS)
Consists of the CNS and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
Somatic NS (SNS)
Transmits information from sense organs to the CNS. It also receives information from the CNS that directs muscles to act.
Something that is detected by the sense receptors, which the nervous system will react to.
Fight or flight response
Immediate physiological response when confronted with a threatening or stressful situation. The sympathetic division of the ANS causes the release of adrenaline. This makes the body physiologically aroused and prepares the body to be able to fight the threat or flee from it.
Hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Strong arousing effect on the heart.
Consists of the heart (cardio) and the blood vessels (vascular) including those in the brain.
A chemical substance circulated in the blood that controls the activity of target cells or organs. Each hormone only affects its target cells/organs.
Means of the body.
A small structure in the brain that controls many important functions such as hunger, thirst, body temperature and fight or flight.
Theory of emotion which suggests that our experience of physiological changes come first, which the brain then interprets as an emotion. E.g. we trip on the stairs, our heart starts to pound and our brain interprets this as fear.
A strong feeling or mood that has important motivational properties, in other words it drives an individual to behave in a particular way. E. g. It increases our sensitivity to certain aspects of the E, which may help to deal with threatening situations.
Some neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline (which is also a hormone), generally increase the positive charge of the next neuron, making it more likely to fire.
Some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, generally increase the negative charge of the next neuron, making it less likely to fire.
Cells that communicate message through electrical and chemical signals throughout the nervous system. There are three different types: sensory, relay and motor.
Carries messages from PNS to the CNS.
Connect sensory neurons to motor neurons as they don't connect directly.
Carry messages from the CNS to effectors in our body such as muscles and glands.
Chemical that is released from synaptic vesicles. These send signals across the synaptic cleft from one neuron to another. Cause excitation or inhibition.
The process by which neighbouring neurons communicate with each other. Neurons send chemical messages across the gap that separates them.
The small gap between the dendrite of one neuron and the receptor site of the next one.
A process by which neurotransmitter is reabsorbed into the presynaptic neuron after it has been used during synaptic transmission.
Hebb's theory of learning and neuronal growth
An early theory of 'plasticity' in the brain which suggests that learning causes synaptic connections between groups of neurons to become stronger. The groups of neurons are called assemblies and the neuronal growth that occurs creates more efficient learning.
The 'little brain' at the base of the brain above the spinal cord that coordinates movement with sensory input (sensorimotor) and also has a role in cognition.
The very thin outer layer of brain tissue that gives the brain its pinky-grey appearance. Highly folded and complex in humans, which is what separates our brain from that of animals. Main centre of the brain's conscious awareness.
Refers to the theory that different brain areas are responsible for specific functions and behaviours. E.g. Broca's area is a region of the left frontal lobe that controls the production of speech.
Largest part of the brain in humans, consists of two hemispheres.
Area that controls cognitive processes such as thought and memory.
Lobes of the brain
Each half of the brain is divided into four areas or lobes: the frontal lobe, the temporal lobe, the parietal lobe and the occipital lobe.
Area of the brain where visual information is processed.
Area of the brain that is responsible for integrating information from other areas to form complex behaviours.
Area of the brain that is responsible for aspects such as comprehension and production of spoken language.
Area of temporal lobe where interpretations of memories are stored i.e. the emotional component of memory.
The area of the cerebral cortex associated with hearing.
An area on the frontal lobe that deals with speech production.
Area of cerebral cortex concerned with vision.
An area on the temporal lobe that deals with understanding speech.
Scientific study of how biological structures such as brain, influence or control mental processes. E.g. hippocampus is linked to formation of memories.
Illness or injury which results in neuron damage in the brain. This may lead to loss of function or change in behaviour. E.g. stroke.
A sudden interruption to the blood supply in a part of the brain.
Inability to understand and use language.
A computerised tomography scan uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body, including the brain. The result is a cross-sectional photograph.
A functional magnetic resonance imaging scan uses radio waves to measure blood oxygen levels in the brain. Those most active will use most oxygen and 3D images of activity are shown on a computer screen.
A positron emission tomography scan is a scan that allows live brain activity to be observed. An injection of a radioactive substance (such as glucose) is given. Those active areas of the brain that absorb most glucose are usually represented in red on a computer screen.
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