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69 Cards in this Set

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Biological Psychology
The psychological specialty that researches the physical and chemical changes that cause, and occur in response to, behavior and mental processes.
Nervous system
A complex combination of cells whose primary function is to allow an organism to gain information about what is going on inside and outside the body and to respond appropriately.
Neuron
Fundamental unit of the nervous system; the nerve cell.
Glial cell
Cell in the nervous system that holds neurons together and helps them communicate with one another.
Axon
A neuron fiber that carries signals from the body of a neuron out to where communication occurs with other neurons.
Dendrite
A neuron fiber that receives signals from the axons of other neurons and carries those signals to the cell body.
Synapse
The tiny gap between neurons across which they communicate.
Action Potential
An abrupt wave of electrochemical changes traveling down an axon when a neuron becomes depolatized.
Myelin
A fatty substance that wraps around some axons and increases the speed of action potentials.
Refractory Period
A short rest period between action potentials.
Neurotransmitter
Chemical that assists in the transfer of signals from one neuron to another.
Receptor
Site on the surface of a cell that allows only one type of neurotransmitter to fit into it, triggering a chemical response that may lead to an action potential.
Postsynaptic potential
The change in the membrance potential of a neuron that has received stimulation from another neuron.
EPSP
Excitatory postsynaptic potential - A postsynaptic potential that depolarizes the neuronal membrane, making the cell more likely to fire an action potential.
IPSP
Inhibitory postsynaptic potential - A postsynaptic potential that hyperpolarizes the neuronal membrane, making a cell less likely to fire an action potential.
Neural network
Neurons that operate together to perform complex functions.
Sensory systems
The parts of the nervous system that provide information about the environment.
Motor systems
The parts of the nervous system that influence muscles and other organs to respond to the environment in some way.
Peripheral nervous system
The parts of the nervous system not housed in bone.
Central nervous system
The parts of the nervous system encased in bone, including the brain and the spinal cord.
Axon, function, type of signal
Function: Carries signals away from the cell body.

Type: The action potential, an all-or-nothing electrochemical signal that shoots down the axon to vesicles at the tip of the axon, releasing neurotransmitters.
Dendrite, function, type of signal
Function: Detects and Carries signals to the cell body.

Type: The postsynaptic potential, an electrochemical signal moving toward the cell body.
Synapse, function, type of signal
Function: Provides an area for the transfer of signals between neurons, usually between the axon of one cell and the dendrite of another

Type: Chemicals that cross the synapse and reach receptors on another cell
Neurotransmitter, function, type of signal
Function: A chemical released by one cell tha tbinds to the receptors on another cell.

Type: A chemical message telling the next cell to fire or not to fire its own action potential.
Receptor, function, type of signal
Function: Protein on the cell membrane that recieves chemical signals

Type: Recognizes certain neurotransmitters, thus allowing it to begin a postsynaptic potential in the dendrite.
Somatic Nervous system
The subsystem of the peripheral nervous system that transmits information from the senses to the central nervous system and carries signals from the central nervous system to the muscles.
Autonomic nervous system
The subsystem of the peripheral nervous system that carries messages between the central nervous system and the heart, lungs, and other organs and glands.
Nuclei
Collections of nerve cell bodies in the central nervous system.
Fiber tracts
Axons in the central nervous system that travel together in bundles.
Spinal Cord
The part of the central nervous system within the spinal column that relays signals from peripheral senses to the brain and conveys messages from the brain to the rest of the body.
Sensory Neurons
Afferent Neurons, "coming toward", approaching neurons.
Motor Neurons
Efferent Neurons, "going away", exit neurons.
Hindbrain
An extension of the spinal cord contained inside the skull where nuclei control blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and other vital functions.
Medulla
An area in the hindbrain that controls blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and other vital functions.
Reticular Formation
A network of cells and fiber threaded throughout the hindbrain and midbrain that alters the activity of the rest of the brain.
Locus Coeruleus
A small nucleus in the reticular formation involved in attention, mood, and sleep.
Cerebellum
The part of the hindbrain whose function is to control finely coordinated movements and to store learned associations that involve movement.
Midbrain
A small structure between the hindbrain and forebrain that relays information from the eyes, ears, and skin and that controls certain types of automatic behaviors.
Substantia Nigra
An area of the midbrain involved in the smooth initiation of movement.
Striatum
A structure within the forebrain that is involved in the smooth initiation of movement.
Forebrain
The most highly developed part of the brain; it is responsible for the most complex aspects of behavior and mental life.
Thalamus
A forebrain structure that relays signals from most sense organs to higher levels in the brain and plays an important role in processing and making sense out of this information.
Hypothalamus
A structure in the forebrain that regulates hunger, thirst, and sex drives.
Suprachiasmatic Nuclei
Nuclei in the hypothalamus that generate biological rhythums.
Amygdala
A structure in the forebrain that, among other things, associates features of stimuli from two sensory modalities.
Hippocampus
A structure in the forebrain associated with the formation of new memories.
Limbic system
A set of brain structures that play important roles in regulating emotion and memory.
Cerebral Hemispheres
The left and right halves of the rounded, outermost part of the brain.
Cerebral cortex
The outer surface of the brain
Sensory cortex
The parts of the cerebral cortex that receive stimulus information from the senses.
Motor cortex
The part of the cerebral cortex whose neurons control voluntary movements in specific parts of the body.
Association cortex
Those parts of the cerebral cortex that receive information from more than one sense or that combine sensory and motor information to perform complex cognitive tasks.
Corpus callosum
A massive bundle of fibers that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres and allows them to communicate with each other.
Lateralized
Referring to the tendency for one cerebral hemisphere to excel at a particular function or skill compared with the other.
Plasticity
The ability to create new synapses and to change the strength of synapses.
Neurotransmitter system
A group of neurons that communicates by using the same neurotransmitter
Acetylcholine, ACH
A neurotransmitter used by neurons in the peripheral and central nervous systems in the control of functions ranging from muscle contraction and heart rate to digestion and memory.
Norepinephrine
A neurotransmitter involved in arousal, as well as in learning and mood regulation.
Serotonin
A neurotransmitter used by cells in parts of the brain involved with the regulation of sleep, mood, and eating.
Dopamine
A neurotransmitter used in the parts of the brain involved in regulating movement and experiencing pleasure.
GABA
A neurotransmitter that inhibits the firing of neurons.
Glutamate
An excitatory neurotransmitter that helps strengthen synaptic connections between neurons.
Endorphin
One of a class of neurotransmitters that bind to opiate receptors and moderate pain.
Endocrine System
Cells that form organs called glands and that communicate with one another by secreting chemicals called hormones.
Gland
An organ that secretes hormones into the bloodstream.
Hormone
Chemical secreted by a gland into the bloodstream, which carries it throughout the body.
Fight-or-flight syndrome
Physical reactions initiated by the sympathetic nervous system that prepare the body to fight or to run from a threatening situation.
Immune system
The body's system of defense against invading substances and microorganisms.
Autoimmune disorders
Physical problems caused when cells of the body's immune system attack normal body cells as if they were foreign invaders.