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Psychology 1A
Chapter 2
89
Psychology
02/23/2008

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Term
Neuron
Definition
A specialized cell that conducts impulses through the nervous system and contains three major parts-a cell body, dendrites, and an axon. 
Term
Cell Body
Definition
The part of a neuron that contains the nucleus and carries out the metabolic functions of the neuron.
Term
Dendrites
Definition
In a neuron, the branch-like extensions of the cell body that receive signlas from other neurons.
Term
Axon
Definition
The slender, tail-like extension of the neuron that transmits signals to the dendrites or cell body of other neurons and to muscles, glands, and other parts of the body. 
Term
Glial Cells
Definition
Specialized cells in the brain and spinal cord that support neurons, remove waste products such as dead neurons, and perform other manufacturing, nourishing, and cleanup tasks. 
Term
Synapse
Definition
The junction where the axon terminal of a sending neuron communicates with a receiving neuron across the synaptic cleft. 
Term
Resting Potential
Definition
The slight negative electrical potential of the axon membrane of a neuron at rest, about -70 mV.
Term
Action Potential
Definition
The sudden reversal of the resting potential, which initiates the firing of a neuron.
Term
Myelin Sheath
Definition
The white, fatty coating wrapped around some axons that acts as insulation and enables impulses to travel much faster.
Term
Neurotransmitter
Definition
A chemical substance that is released into the synaptic cleft from the axon terminal of a sending nueron, crosses a synapse, and binds to appropriate receptor sites on the dendrites or cell body of a receiving neuron, influencing the cell either to fire or not to fire. 
Term
Receptors
Definition
Protein molecules on the surfaces of dendrites and cell bodies that have distinctive shapes and will interact only with specific neurotransmitters.
Term
Reuptake
Definition
The process by which neurotransmitters are taken from the synaptic cleft back into the axon terminal for later use, thus terminating their excitatory or inhibitory effect on the receiving neuron. 
Term
Acetylcholine
Definition
A neurotransmitter that plays a role in learning new information, causes the skeletal muscle fibers to contract, and keeps the heart from beating too rapidly. 
Term
Dopamine
Definition
A neurotransmitter that plays a role in learning, attention, movement, and reinforcement. 
Term
Norepinephrine
Definition
A neurotransmitter affecting eating, alertness, and sleep.
Term
Epinephrine
Definition
A neurotransmitter that affects the metabolism of glucose and nutrient energy stored in the muscles to be released during strenuous exercise.
Term
Serotonin
Definition
A neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood, sleep, impulsivity, aggression, and appetite.
Term
Glutamate
Definition
Primary excitatory neurotransmitter of the brain.
Term
GABA
Definition
Primary inhibitory NT in brain.
Term
Endorphins
Definition
Chemicals produced naturally by the brain that reduce pain and the stress of vigorous exercise and positively affect mood.
Term
Central Nervous System
Definition
The part of the nervous system comprising the brain and spinal cord.
Term
Peripheral Nervous System
Definition
The nerves connecting the CNS to the rest of the body.
Term
Spinal cord
Definition
An extension of the brain, from the base of the brain through the neck and spinal column, that transmits messages between the brain and the PNS
Term
Hindbrain
Definition
A link between the spinal cord and the brain that contains structures that regulate physiological functions, including heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
Term
Brainstem
Definition
The structure that begins at the point where the spinal cord enlarges as it enters the brain and handles functions critical to physical survival.  It includes the medulla, the pons, and the reticular formation. 
Term
Medulla
Definition
The part of the brainstem that controls hearbeat, blood pressure, breathing, coughing, and swallowing. 
Term
Reticular formation
Definition
A structure in the brainstem that plays a crucial role in arousal and attention that screens sensory messages entering the brain. 
Term
Pons
Definition
The bridgelike structure that connects the medulla and cerebellum. 
Term
Cerebellum
Definition
The brain structure that helps the body execute smooth, skilled movements and regulates muscle tone and posture.
Term
Midbrain
Definition
Area that contains structures linking the physiological functions of the hindbrain tot he cognitive functions of the forebrain. 
Term
Substantia Nigra
Definition
The structure in the midbrain that controls unconscious motor movements.
Term
Forebrain
Definition
The largest part of the brain where cognitive functions as well as many of the motor functions of the brain are carried out. 
Term
Thalamus
Definition
The structure, located above the brainstem, that acts as a relay station for information flowing into or out of the forebrain.
Term
Hypothalamus
Definition
A small but influential brain structure that regulates hunger, hirst, sexual behavior, internal body temperature, other body functions, and a wide variety of emotional behaviors. 
Term
Limbic System
Definition
A group of structures in the brain, including the amygdala and hippocampus, that are collectively involved in emotional expression, memory, and motivation.  
Term

Amygdala

Definition
A structure in the limbic system that plays an important role in emotion, particularly in response to unpleasant or punishing stimuli. 
Term
Hippocampus
Definition
A structure in the limbic system that plays a central role in the storing of new memories, the response to new or unexpected stimuli, and navigational ability. 
Term
Sympathetic Nervous System
Definition
The division of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's resources during stress and emergencies, preparing the body for action.
Term
Parasympathetic nervous system
Definition
The division of the autonomic nervous system that brings the heightened bodily responses back to normal following an emergency. 
Term
Electroencephalogram
Definition
A record of brain-wave activity made by a machine called the electroencephalograph.
Term
Beta Wave
Definition
The brain-wave pattern associated with mental or physical activity.
Term
Alpha Wave
Definition
The brain-wave pattern associated with deep relaxation
Term
Delta Wave
Definition
The brain-wave pattern associated with deep sleep
Term
Microelectrode
Definition
A small wire used to monitor the electrical activity of or stimulate activity within a single neuron
Term
CT scan
Definition
A brain-scanning technique that uses a rotating, computerized x-ray tube to produce cross-sectional images of the structures of the brain
Term
MRI
Definition
A diagnostic scanning technique that produces high-resolution images of the structures of the brain
Term
PET scan
Definition
A brain-imaging technique that reveals activity in various parts of the brain, based on patterns of blood flow, oxygen use, and glucose consumption.
Term
Functional MRI
Definition
A brain-imaging technique that reveals both brain structure and brain activity more precisely and rapidly than PET
Term
Cerebrum
Definition
The largest structure of the human brain, consisting of the two cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum and covered by the cerebral cortex.
Term
Cerebral hemispheres
Definition
The right and left halves of the cerebrum, covered by the cerebral cortex and connected by the corpus callosum; they control movement and feeling on the opposing sides of the body.
Term
Corpus Callosum
Definition
The thick band of nerve fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and makes possible the transfer of information and the synchronization of activity between the hemispheres.
Term
Cerebral cortex
Definition
The gray, convoluted covering of the cerebral hemispheres that is responsible for the higher mental processes of language, memory, and thinking.
Term
Association Areas
Definition
Areas of the cerebral cortex that house memories and are involved in thought, perception, and language. 
Term
Lateralization
Definition
The specialization of one of the cerebral hemispheres to handle a particular function. 
Term
Left hemisphere
Definition
The hemisphere that controls the right side of the body, coordinates complex movements, and, in most people, handles most of the language functions.
Term
Right hemisphere
Definition
The hemisphere that controls the left side of the body, and in most people, is specialized for visual-spatial perception.
Term
Split brain operation
Definition
A surgical procedure, performed to treat severe cases of epilepsy, in which the corpus callosum is cut, separating the cerebral hemispheres
Term
Frontal lobes
Definition
The largest of the brain's lobes, which contain the motor cortex, Broca's area, and the frontal association areas.
Term
Motor cortex
Definition
The strip of tissue at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary body movement and participates in learning and cognitive events.
Term
Plasticity
Definition
The capacity of the brain to adapt to changes such as brain damage. 
Term
Broca's area
Definition
The area in the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that controls the production of speech sounds.
Term
Broca's aphasia
Definition
An impairment in the physical ability to produce speech sounds or, in extreme cases, an inability to speak at all; caused by damage to Broca's area.
Term
Aphasia
Definition
A loss or impairment of the ability to use or understand language, resulting from damage to the brain.
Term
Parietal Lobes
Definition
The lobes that contan the somatosensory cortex and other areas that are responsible for body awareness and spatial orientation.
Term
Somatosensory Cortex
Definition
The strip of tissue at the front of the parietal lobes where touch, pressure, temperature, and pain register in the cerebral cortex. 
Term
Occiptial lobes
Definition
The lobes that are involved in the reception and interpretation of visual information; they contain the primary visual cortex.
Term
Primary visual cortex
Definition
The area at the rear of the occipital lobes where vision registers in the cerebral cortex. 
Term
Temporal Lobes
Definition
The lobes that are involved in the reception and interpretation of auditory information; they contain the primary auditory cortex, Wernicke's area, and the temporal association areas.
Term
Primary auditory cortex
Definition
The part of each temporal lobe where hearing registers in the cerebral cortex. 
Term
Wernicke's area
Definition
The language area in the left temporal lobe involved in comprehending the spoken word and in formulating coherent speech and written language.
Term
Wernicke's aphasia
Definition
Aphasia that results from damage to Wernicke's area and in which the person's speech is fluent and clearly articulated but does not make sense to listeners. 
Term
Pruning
Definition
The process through which the developing brain eliminates unecessary or redundant synapses. 
Term
Stroke
Definition
The most common cause of damage to adult brains, arising when blockage of an artery cuts off the blood supply to a particular area of the brain or when a blood vessel bursts. 
Term
Endocrine System
Definition
A system of ductless glands in various parts of the body that manufacture hormones and secrete them into the bloodstream, thus affecting cells in other parts of the body. 
Term
Hormone
Definition
A chemical substance that is manufactured and released in one part of the body and affects other parts of the body
Term
Pituitary Gland
Definition
The endocrine gland located in the brain that releases hormones that activate other endocrine glands as well as growth hormone; often called the "master gland". 
Term
Pineal Gland
Definition
The endocrine gland that secretes the hormone that controls the sleep/wakefulness cycle. 
Term

Parathyroid Gland

Definition
The endocrine glands that produce PTH, a hormone that helps the body absorb minerals from the diet.
Term
Thymus gland
Definition
The endocrine gland that produces hormones that are essential to immune system functioning. 
Term
Pancreas
Definition
The endocrine gland responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. 
Term
Adrenal glands
Definition
A pair of endocrine glands that releases hormones that prepare the body for emergencies and stressful situations and also release corticoids and small amounts of the sex hormones.
Term
Gonads
Definition
The ovaries in females and the testes in males; endocrine glands that produce sex hormones.
Term
Genes
Definition
The segments of DNA that are located on the chromosomes and are the basic units for the transmission of all hereditary traits.
Term
Chromosomes
Definition
Rod-shaped structures in the nuclei of body cells, which contain all the genes and carry all the genetic information necessary to make a human being.
Term
Genotype
Definition
An individual's make up
Term
Phenotype
Definition
An individual's actual characteristics
Term
Dominant-recessive pattern
Definition
A set of inheritance rules in which the presence of a single dominant gene causes a trait to be expressed but two genes must be present for the expression of a recessive trait. 
Term
Multifactorial inheritance
Definition
A pattern of inheritance in which a trait is influenced by both genes and environmental factors. 
Term
Behavioral Genetics
Definition
A field of research that uses twin studies and adoption studies to investigate the relative effects of heredity and environment on behavior.