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84 Cards in this Set

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neuron
A specialized cell that conducts impulses through the nervous system and contains three major parts - a cell body, dendrites, and an axon.
cell body
the part of a neuron the constains the nucleus and carries out the metabolic functions of the neuron.
dendrites
In a neuron, the branchlike extensions of the cell body that receive signals from other neurons.
axon
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.
glial cells
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.
synapse
The junction where the axon terminal of a sending neuron communicates with a receiving neuron across the synaptic cleft.
permeability
The capability of being penetrated or passed through.
resting potential
The slight negative electrical potential of the axon membrane of a neuron at rest, about -70 millivolts.
action potential
The sudden reversal of the restin potential, which initiates the firing of a neuron.
myelin sheath
The white, fatty coating wrapped around some axons that acts as insulation and enables impulses to ravel much faster.
neurotransmitter
A chemical substance that is released into the synaptic cleft from the axon terminal of a sendind neuron, crosses a synapse, and binds to appropriate receptor sites in the dendrites or cell body of a receiving neuwon, influencing the cell either to fire or not to fire.
receptors
protein molecules on the surfaces of dendrites and cell bodies that have distinct shapes and will interact only with specific neurotransmitters.
reuptake
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.
acetylcholine
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.
dopamine
A neurotransmitter that plays a role in learning, attention, movement, and reinforcement
norepinephrine
A neurotransmitter affecting eating, alertness, and sleep.
epinephrine
A neurotransmitter that affects the metabolism of glucose and nutrient energy stored in muscles to be released during strenuous exercise.
serotonin
aneurotransmitter that plays an important tole in regulating mood, sleep, impulsivity, aggression, and appetite.
glutamate
Primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.
GABA (gamma-aminobutytic acid)
Primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain.
endorphins
Chemicals produced naturally by the brain that reduce pain and the stress of vigorous exercise and postively affect mood.
central nervous system (CNS)
The part of the nervous system comprising the brain and the spianl cord.
spinal cord
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 peripheral nervous system.
brainstem
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.
medulla
The part of the brain that controls heartbear, blood pressure, breathing, coughing, and swallowing.
reticular formation
A structure in the brainstem that plays a crucual role in arousal and attention and that screens sensory messages entering the brain.
cerebellum
The brain structure that helps the body execute smooth, skilled movements and regulates muscle tone and posture.
substantia nigra
The structure in the midbrain that controls unconscious motor movements.
thalamus
The structure, located above the brainstem, that acts as a relay station for information flowing into or out of the forebrain.
hypothalamus
A small but influental brain structure that regulates hunger, thirst, sexual behavior, internal body temperature, other body functions, and a wide variety of emotional behaviors.
limbic system
A group of structures in the brain including the amygdala and hippocampus, that are collectively involved in emotional expression, memory, and motivation.
amygdala
A structure in the limbic system that plays an important role in emotion, particularly in response to unpleasant or punishing stimuli.
hippocampus
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.
cerebrum
The largest structure of the human brain, consisting of the two cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum and covered by the cerebral cortex.
cerebral hemispheres
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 opposite side of the body.
corpus callosum
The thick band of nerve fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and makes possible the transfer of information and the sychronization of activity between the hemispheres.
cerebral cortex
The gray, convulted covering of the cerebral hemispheres that is responsible for the higher mental processes of language.
association areas
Areas of the cerebral cortex that house memories and are involved in thought, perception, and language.
frontal lobes
The largest of the brain's lobes, which contains the motor cortex, Broca's area, and the frontal association areas.
motor cortex
The strip of tissue at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary body movements and participles in learning and cognitive events.
plasticity
The capicity of the brain to adapt to changes such as brain damage.
Broca's area
The area in the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that controls the production of speech sounds.
Broca's aphasia
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.
aphasia
A loss or impairment of the ability to use or understand language, resulting from damage to the brain.
parietal lobes
The lobes that contain the somatosensory cortex and other areas that are responsible for body awareness and spatial orientation.
somatosensory cortex
The strip of tissue loecated at the front of the parietal lobes where touch, pressure, temperature, and pain register in the cerebral cortex.
occipital lobes
The lobes that are invloved in the reception and interpretaion of visual information; they contain the primary visual cortex.
primary visual cortex
The area at the rear of the occipital lobes where vision registers in the cerebral cortex.
temporal lobes
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.
primary auditory cortex
The part of each temporal lobe where hearing registers in the cerebral cortex.
Wernicke's cortex
The language area in the left temporal lobe involved in comprehending the spoken word and in formulating coherent speech and written language.
Wernicke's aphasia
Aphaisa 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.
lateralization
The specialization of one of the cerebral hemispheres to handle a particular function.
left hemishpere
The hemisphere that controls the right side of the body, coordinates complex movements, and, in most people, handles most of the language functions.
right hemisphere
The hemisphere that controls the left side of the body and, in most people, in specialized for visual spatial perception.
split-brain operation
A surgical procedure, performed to treat severe cases of epilipsy, in which the corpus callosum is cut, seperating the cerebral hemispheres.
electroencephalogram
A record of brain-wave activity made by a machine called the electroencephalograph.
beta wave
The brain-wave pattern associated with mental or physical activity.
alpha wave
The brain-wave pattern associated with deep relaxation.
delta wave
The brain-wave pattern associated with slow-wave (deep) sleep.
microelectrode
A small wire used to monitor the electrical activity of or simulate activity within a single neuron.
CT scan (computerized axial tomography)
A brain-scanning technique that uses a rotating, computerized X-ray tube to produce cross-sectional images of the structures of the brain.
MRI (magnetic resonance imagery)
A diagnostic scanning technique that produces high-resolution images of the structures of the brain.
PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography)
A brain-imaging technique that reveals activity in various parts of the brrain, based on patterns of blood flow, oxygen use, and glucose consumption.
functional MRI (fMRI)
A brain-imaging technique that reveals both brain structure and brain activity more precisely and rapidly than PET.
pruning
The process through which the developing brain eliminates unnecessary or redundant synapses.
stroke
The most comman 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.
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
The nerves connecting the central nervous system to the rest of the body
sympathetic nervous system
The division of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's resources during stress and emergencies, preparing the body for action.
parasympathetic nervous system
The divison of the autonomic mervous system that brings the heightened bodily responses back to normal following an emergency.
endocrine system
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.
hormone
A chemical substance that is manufactured and released in one part of the body and affects other parts of the body.
pituitary gland
The endocine gland located in the brain that releases hormones that activate other endocrine glands as well as growth hormone; often colled the "master gland."
pineal gland
The endocrine gland that secretes the hormone that controls the sleep/wakefulness cycle.
parathyroid glands
The endocrine glands that produce PTH, a hormone that helps the body absorb minerals from the diet.
thymus gland
The endocrine gland that produces hormines that are essential to immune system functioning.
pancreas
The endocrine gland responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.
adrenal glands
A pair of endocrine glands that release hormones that prepare the body for emrgencies and stressful situations and also release corticoids and small amounts of the sex hormones.
gonads
The ovaries in females and the testes in males; endocrine glands that produce sex hormones.
genes
The segments of DNA that are located on the chromosomes and are the basic units for the transmission of all hereditary traits.
chromosomes
Rod-shaped structures in the muclei of body cells, which contain all the genes and carry all the genetic information necessary to make a human being.
dominant-recessive pattern
A set of inheritance rules in which the presence of a single dominant gene casues a trait to be expressed but two genes must be present for the expression of a recessive trait.
mulitfactorial trait
A pattern in which a trait is influenced by both genes and environmental factors.
behavorial genetics
A field of research that uses twin studies and adoption studies to investigate the relative effects of heredity and environment on behavior.