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89 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Neurons
Nerve cells specialized for communication
Dendrites
Portions of neurons that receive signals.
Axons
Portions of neurons that send signals.
Synapse
Space between two connecting neurons through which messages are transmitted.
Synaptic Cleft
Space between two connecting neurons where neurotransmitters are released.
Synaptic Vesicles
Spherical sacs containing neurotransmitters.
Glia (Glial) Cells
Support cells in the nervous system that play roles in the formation of myelin and blood-brain barrier, respond to injury, and remove debris.
Blood-Brain Barrier
Glial cells forming a fatty coating that prevents certain substances from entering the brain.
Resting Potential
Electrical charge difference (-70 millivolts) across the neuronal membrane, when the neuron is not being stimulated for inhibited.
Ions
Positively or negatively charged particles produced when substances are dissolved in water.
Action Potential
An electrical impulse that travels down the axon and allows neurons to communicate.
Synaptic Knobs
Balloon-like structures at the end of the branches of an axon containing neurotransmitters.
Neutrotransmitters
Chemical messengers specialized for communication and released at the synapse.
Absolute Refractory Period
Time during which another action potential is impossible; limits maximal firing rate.
Myelin Sheath
Glial cell-wrappers around axons that act as insulators of the neuron's signal.
Graded Potentials
Postsynaptic potentials that can be excitatory of inhibitory depending on whether positively or negatively charged particles flow across the neuronal membrane and in which direction they flow.
Threshold
Membrane potential necessary to trigger an action potential.
Receptor Sites
Locations that uniquely recognize a neurotransmitter.
Reuptake
Means of recycling neurotransmitters.
Acetylcholine
Neurotransmitter used to control activity, including movement, memory, attention, and dreaming.
Dopamine
Neurotransmitters that plays a key role in movement and reward.
Endorphins
Chemicals in the brain that play a specialized role in pain reduction.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
Part of the nervous system containing the brain and spinal cord and their associated functions.
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
Nerves in the body that extend outside the central nervous sytem.
Forebrain
Forward part of the brain that allows advanced intellectual abilities; also known as the cerebrum.
Cerebral Cortex
Outermost part of forebrain, responsible for analyzing sensory processing, programming motor movements, and higher brain functions.
Cerebral Hemisphere
Two halves of the cerebral cortex, which serve different yet highly integrated cognition functions.
Corpus Collosum
Large band of fibres connecting the two cerebral hemispheres.
Frontal Lobe
Forward part of cerebral cortex containing the motor cortex and the prefrontal cortex' responsible for motor function, language, and memory.
Motor Cortex
Part of frontal lobe responsible for body movements.
Prefrontal Cortex
Part of frontal lobe responsible for thinking, planning, and language.
Broca's Area
Language area in the prefrontal cortex that helps to control speech production.
Broca's Aphasia
A speech deficit involving severe difficulty in articulating words caused by damage to an area of the prefrontal cortex known as Broca's area.
Parietal Lobe
Upper middle part of the cerebral cortex lying behind the frontal lobe specialized for touch and perceptions.
Temporal Lobe
Lower part of cerebral cortex below the temples, which plays roles in hearing, understanding language, and memory.
Wernicke's Area
Part of the temporal lobe involved in understanding speech.
Occipital Lobe
Back part of cerebral cortex specialized for vision.
Sensory Cortex
Regions of the cerebral cortex devoted to vision, touch, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.
Association Cortex
Regions of the cerebral cortex that integrate simpler functions to perform more complex functions.
Basal Ganglia
Structures in the forebrain that help to control movement.
Basal Forebrain
Region in forebrain containing acetylcholine neurons that affect activity of the cortex.
Thalamus
Part of the brain that processes sensory information and serves as a gateway to the cerebral cortex.
Brain Stem
Part of the brain between the spinal cord and cerebral cortex that contins the medulla, midbrain, and pons.
Midbrain
Part of the brain stem that lies between the forebrain and hindbrain. It helps to control head and neck reflexes and modulate motor activity.
Reticular Activating System (RAS)
Group of neurons in the brain stem that plays a key role in arousal.
Hindbrain
Part of the brain between the spinal cord and midbrain, consisting of the cerebellum, pons, and medulla.
Cerebellum
Small cerebrum in hindbrain, responsible for our sense of balance.
Pons
Part of hindbrain that connects the cerebral cortex with cerebellum.
Medulla
Part of brain stem involved in vital functions, such as heartbeat and breathing.
Cerebral Ventricles
Internal waterways of the CNS that carry cerebrospinal fluis (CSF), which provides the brain with nutrients and cushioning against injury.
Interneurons
Neurons that send messages to other neurons nearby and stimulate motor neurons.
Reflex
An automatic motor response to a sensory stimulus like muscle stretch.
Somatic Nervous System
Part of the peripheral nervous system carrying messages from the CNS through the body to control movement.
Limbic System
Emotional centre of the brain that also plays roles in smell, motivation, and memory.
Hypothalamus
Part of the brain responsible for maintaining a constant internal state.
Amygdala
Part of the limbic system that plays key roles in fear, excitement, and arousal.
Hippocampus
Part of the brain that plays a role in spatial memory.
Autonomic Nervous System
Part of the peripheral nervous system controlling the involuntary actions of our internal organs and glands, which (along with the limbic system) participates in emotion.
Sympathetic Division
Part of the autonomic nervous system engaged during a crisis, or after actions requiring fight or flight.
Parasympathetic Division
Part of the autonomic nervous system that controls rest and digestion.
Endocrine System
System of glands and hormones that controls secretion of blood-borne chemical messengers.
Hormones
Blood-borne chemicals that influence target tissues and glands.
Pituitary Gland
Master gland that, under the control of the hypothalamus, directs the other glands of the body.
Adrenal Gland
Tissue located on top of the kidneys that releases adrenaline and cortisol during states of emotional arousal.
Lesion
Area of damage due to surgery, injury, or disease.
Electroencephalography (EEG)
Recording of brain's electrical activity at the surface of the skull.
Computed Tomography (CT)
A scanning technique using multiple x-rays to construct three-dimensional images.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Technique that uses magnetic fields to indirectly visualize brain structure.
Position Emission Tomography (PET)
Imaging technique that measures uptake of glucose-like molecules, yielding a picture of regional metabolic activity in the brain in different regions.
Functional MRI (fMRI)
Technique that uses magnetic fields to visualize brain activity.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimluation (TMS)
Technique that applies strong and quickly changing magnetic fields to the surface of the skull and that can either enhance or interrupt brain function.
Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
Measure of brain activity using megnetometers that sense tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain.
Split-Brain Surgery
Procedure that involves severing that corpus callosum to reduce the spread of epileptic seizures.
Lateralization
Cognitive function that relies more on one side of the brain that the other.
Chromosomes
Slender threads inside a cell's nucleus that carry genes.
Genes
Genetic material, composed of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
Genotype
Our genetic makeup.
Phenotype
Our observable traits.
Dominant Genes
Genes that mask other genes' effects.
Recessive Genes
Genes that are expressed only in the absence of a dominant gene.
Natural Selection
Principle that organisms that possess adaptations survive and reproduce at a higher rate than other organisms.
Fitness
Organisms' capacity to pass on their genes.
Heritability
Percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is due to genes.
Family Studies
Analyses of how traits run in families.
Twin Studies
Analses of how traits differ in identical versus fraternal twins.
Adoption Studies
Analyses of how traits vary in individuals raised apart from their biological relatives.
Plasticity
Ability of the nervous system to change.
Stem Cells
Unspecialized cells that retain the ability to become a wide variety of specialized cells.
Neurogenesis
The generation of new neurons within the nervous system.