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34 Cards in this Set

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Biological psychology
A branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.
neuron
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
action potential
A neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon
threshold
The level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse
central nervous system
The brain and spinal cord.
nerves
Neural "calbes" containing many axons
Sensory neurons
Neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system.
interneurons
Central nervous system neurons that intervene directly between the sensory inputs and motor outpus.
Nervous system
"The body's speedy electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerves of the peripheral and central nervous systems.
acetlycholine
A neurotransmitter that, amon its functions, triggers muscle contraction
Reflex
A simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimuls, such as the knee-jerk response.
hormones
Chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect other tissues.
brainstem
The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swell as it enters the skull; it is responsible for autoatic survival functions.
medulla
The base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing.
lesion
To cause tissue destruction.
amygdala
Two almond-shaped neural centers in the limbic system that are linked to emotion.
Motor cortex
An area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.
sensory cortex
The area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and process body sensations
aphasia
Impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding).
Corpus callosum
The largest bundle of neural fibers connecting and carrying messages between the two brain hemispheres.
Split brain
A condition in which the two hemisphers of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them.
Wenicke's area
An area of the left temporal lobe involved in language comprehension.
Broca's area
An area of the left frontal lobe that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.
Plasticity
The brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effets of experience on brain development.
thalamus
The brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it direcrts messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.
reticular formation
A nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.
cerebellum
The "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainsetm; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance.
CAT (computerized axial tomograph) scan
A series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite three-dimensional representation of a slice through the body.
PET (positron emission tomograph) scan
A visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
A techniques that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; this allows us to see structure within the brain.
Electroencephalogram (EEG)
An amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain’s surface. These waves are measured by placing electrodes on the scalp.
Synapse
The junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft.
Neurotransmitters
Chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether it will generate a neural impulse.
Axon
The extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers through which messages are sent to other neurons or to muscles or glands.