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AP Psychology
Chapter 2: Neuroscience and Behavior
64
Psychology
05/09/2009

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Term
nervous system
Definition
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous system.
Term
pituitary gland
Definition
the endocrine system's most influential gland;  under the influence of the hypothalamus, it regulates and controls growth and controls other endocrine glands.
Term
motor cortex
Definition
an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.
Term
GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid)
Definition
a major inhibitory neurotransmitter; undersupply linked to seizures, tremors, and insomnia.
Term
neurotransmitters
Definition
chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gap between neurons; when released by the sending neuron, these travel across the synapse and bind the receptor sites on the receving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse.
Term
reuptake
Definition
process by which neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the sending neuron.
Term
biological psychology
Definition
a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.
Term
synapse
Definition
the junction between the tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite, or cell body of the receiving neuron.
Term
split brain
Definition
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by the cutting of the connecting fibes between them.
Term
medulla
Definition
the base of the brainstem that controls heartbeat and breathing.
Term
myelin sheath
Definition
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impluses as the impulse hops from one node to the next.
Term
interneurons
Definition
central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs.
Term
axon
Definition
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands.
Term
hypothalamus
Definition
a neural structure that directs eating, drinking, body temperature, helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion.
Term
plasticity
Definition
the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children).
Term
dendrite
Definition
the bushy branching extensions of a neuron that receives messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body.
Term
occipital lobes
Definition
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field.
Term
frontal lobes
Definition
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking, muscle movements, and making plans and judgements.
Term
hippocampus
Definition
limbic system component that process memory.
Term
hormones
Definition
chemical messengers; mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another.
Term
central nervous system
Definition
the brain and the spinal cord.
Term
brainstem
Definition
the oldest part and central core of the brain where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; is responsible for autonomic survival functions.
Term
adrenal glands
Definition
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys; these secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (nonadrenaline) which help arouse the body in times of stress.
Term
sympathetic nervous system
Definition
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.
Term
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Definition
a technique that uses magnetic fields to produce computer images that show the structure of the brain.
Term
temporal lobes
Definition
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the ears.
Term
neuron
Definition
the nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system.
Term
reflex
Definition
a simple autonomic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response.
Term
parasympathetic nervous system
Definition
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy.
Term
endorphins
Definition
natural opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and pleasure.
Term
somatic nervous system
Definition
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles (sometimes called the skeletal nervous system).
Term
corpus collosum
Definition
a large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them.
Term
nerves
Definition
neural "cables" containing many axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connecting the central nervous system with the muscles, glands, and sense organs.
Term
autonomic nervous system
Definition
the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart); one of its divisions arouses; the other calms.
Term
cerebellum
Definition
the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; its functions include processing of sensory input and coordinating movement output and balance.
Term
fMRI (functional MRI)
Definition
a technique for revealing blood flow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans (MRI's show brain anatomy; these show brain function).
Term
lesion
Definition
naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue.
Term
acetycholine (AC-h)
Definition
a neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and also triggers muscel contraction.
Term
thalamus
Definition
the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.
Term
Broca's area
Definition
controls language expression--an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.
Term
glial cells (glia)
Definition
cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons.
Term
reticular formation
Definition
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.
Term
parietal lobes
Definition
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.
Term
association areas
Definition
areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor funtions or sensory functions, but rather, they are involved in higher mental functions, such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking).
Term
cerebral cortex
Definition
the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing centers.
Term
motor neurons (efferent neurons)
Definition
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscels and glands.
Term
neural networks
Definition
interconnected neural cells; with experience, these learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results.
Term
EEG (electroencephlalogram)
Definition
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.
Term
Wernicke's area
Definition
controls language--involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe.
Term
endocrine system
Definition
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of galnds that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
Term
sensory neurons (afferent neurons)
Definition
neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system.
Term
peripheral nervous system
Definition
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body.
Term
action potential
Definition
a neural impluse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon; is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane.
Term
threshold
Definition
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.
Term
PET (position emission tomography)
Definition
a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.
Term
aphasia
Definition
impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage to either Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding).
Term
sensory cortex
Definition
the area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations.
Term
blood-brain barrier
Definition
enables the brain to fence out unwanted chemicals circulating in the blood.
Term
antagonists
Definition
a molecule that inhibits a neurotransmitter's release.
Term
agonist
Definition
a molecule similar enough to a neurotransmitter to mimic its effect.
Term
seratonin
Definition
neurotransmitter that affects mood, hunger, sleep, and arousal; undersupply linked to depression.
Term
glutamate
Definition
a major excitatory neurotransmitter; invloved in memory; oversupply can overstimulate brain, producing migrains and seizures.
Term
dopamine
Definition
neurotransmitter that influences movement, learning, attention, and emotion; oversupply linked to schizophrenia; undersupply produces tremors and decreased mobility of Parkinson's disease.
Term
norepinephrine
Definition
neurotransmitter that helps control altertness and arousal; undersupply can depress mood.