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65 Cards in this Set

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The obvious or expected reaction to something. They are not always perfect and can change.


A way psychologists subtly influence behavior. It is a phenomena by which exposure to a stimulus influences behavior.

EX: Being primed with a picture of a bubble bath will make you more likely to fill in SO__P as "SOAP" and not "SOUP"


The idea that information about reality can be obtained through observation using the senses (and tools that aid the senses), as opposed to intuition, deduction, or faith. The scientific method starts with empiricism, and rational explanations and theories are based on the data.

Dependent VS Independent Variable

Dependent Variable: what the experiment is measuring. It is affected by the treatment.

Independent Variable: the thing that is manipulated by the researcher. It is set before the experiment.

Confounding Variable

Things outside the experiment that may have an effect on the outcome. This can be managed through restriction, matching, and randomization.


The spreading of ideas and theories that have been tested and confirmed.

Knock-Out (Genetic Model)

(Animal only)

Removing a gene and studying the effects. It can target specific genes and cell types within specific tissues to tell us how that gene affects behavior.

EX: Does the oxytocin gene affect maternal behavior?

Spatial Resolution

Measuring neuron activity; Spatial resolution (related to physical space) tells you what is the smallest feature you can see based on your detector

Temporal Resolution

Measuring neuron activity: Temporal resolution (related to time) tells you how quickly you can measure things


Where a patient does not have to be subjected to painful, uncomfortable, or long-term procedures.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

Uses magnets and radio waves to determine changes in the level of blood oxygen in the brain, an indicator of neural activity. It can show activity deep within the brain. Has poor temporal resolution because there is a time lag between neuron activity and BOLD signal. It has a better spacial resolution than an EEG.

Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD)

It is an indicator of neuronal activity. There is a lag time between the BOLD signal and the activity. They differ across brain areas.


(Usually in animal subjects) Lesions are strictly performed and precise cuts in the brain. They either remove a section or turn it off. this can target a specific location or cell type.

Generalization (of a CS)

When a conditioned stimulus has a unique quality or characteristic, the subject may relate/connect all things with the same quality to the conditioned response.

EX: Little Albert and the white rat: became afraid of all small, white, fuzzy things.

Confederate (experiment)

An experimenter that is within the test and knows how to manipulate the subject or react in a certain way to observe results

EX: Milgram "Teacher-Learner" experiment

Plasticity (retraining)

In the Silver Spring Monkey Experiment, the somatosensory cortex had reorganized in response to lesions. Neurons in the brain can "rewire" following a traumatic injury. Proved the idea of Adult Plasticity. Led to idea of retraining therapy.

Informed Consent

Participants not only need to consent to be in research, they need to clearly understand what they are consenting to. There are special considerations for the disabled, mentally handicapped, non-native English speakers, children, prisoners, and the elderly.


If the subject was misled in any way for the purposes of study, they must be completely informed after the experiment has taken place.


In research publishings, talks, notes, articles, etc., the participant cannot be identified in any way, including appearances and other factors.


For animal subjects, on top of clean living situations and fresh food/water, there must be some form of stimulation to preserve animal's natural inclinations

EX: running wheel, toys, etc.


Used during procedures to block awareness and prevent pain.


The receiving end, located on the soma. This is where other cells connect to the neuron. Dendritic spines can further increase the surface area of the dentrites, allowing them to receive optimal signals


The sending end, which is located between the soma and terminal branches. This sends the signals away from the soma.

Myelin Sheath

Coats the axon. Insulates the electrical signals so they can work faster and more efficiently.

Synaptic Gap

The "connecting point" of two neurons. There is actually a gap where chemical signals are released.


Released from the presynaptic terminal and then attaches to the receptors on the dendrite.

Presynaptic Terminal

The end of the axon that specialize in the release of neurotransmitters. They receive a nerve impulse from the presynaptic neuron, which then convey information to vesicles that hold the chemical signal. The vesicles bind to the membrane of the terminal, and release the neurotransmitters into the gap.

Resting Membrane Potential

Neurons normally have a negative resting potential because they have less positive ions in the surrounding medium, and more negative ions inside. This creates concentration gradients and electrostatic force. Neurotransmitters open ion channels to create a reaction.

Ion Channel

Triggered by neurotransmitters to let ions in or out, changing the resting membrane potential. This creates an excitatory or inhibitory post synaptic potential.

Excitatory Post Synaptic Potential (EPSP)

When positive ions (like Na+) enter the post synaptic cell

Inhibitory Post Synaptic Potential (IPSP)

When positive ions (like K+) leave the cell, or a negative ion (like Cl-) enters the cell


Opens sodium (Na+) ion channels on the post synaptic cell. It is typically an excitatory NT and generates an EPSP.


Opens Cl- ion channels on post synaptic cell. It is typically an inhibitory NT and generates an IPSP


Was the first NT to be identified in 1915. Nerons that contain ACh are called "cholinergic" neurons. It is typically an excitatory NT, opening up Na+ channels. It is used in the brain and also at neuro-muscular junctions.


Increases the activity of a NT receptor


Decreases the activity of a NT receptor


Recurrent failure to control behavior. There is a positive correlation between addictiveness of a drug and its ability to activate the dopaminergic reward circuitry. Drugs activate some neural pathways and mechanisms involved in learned behaviors.


Develops after the brain has changed in response to repeated use


Higher tolerance means more is needed to produce the same effect.

Primary Motor Cortex (M1)

Pre-central gyrus that does not send direct info to muscles, but sends signals through the spine. Pulsing stimuli direct contraction of specific muscles for voluntary tasks (thinking about movement). Continuous pulses produce complex movements. It is less involved in involuntary movements.

Motor Homunculus

Specific areas of the motor cortex are responsible for control of specific areas of the body. More brain area is devoted to body parts that are needed for more complex tasks. There is a skewed distribution of brain devotion.

Posterior Parietal Cortex (PPC)

Keeps track of the position of the body relative to the rest of the world. It integrates somatosensory and visual stimuli to guide movement. Damage to this area causes difficulty in coordination. This is important for planning movement.

Basal Ganglia

Involved in doing routine things. There are direct and indirect pathways that excite or reduces stimulation to the cortex. Severe loss of dopaminergic neurons results in less excitation of the cortex.

Parkinson's Disease

Involves the loss and malfunction of neurons in the area of the basal ganglia called the substantia nigra. The dying cells produce dopamine (helps control movement and coordination). As it progresses, the amount of dopamine in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally,

Sensory Adaptation

A decrease in sensitivity to a constant level of stimulation. It is more important to detect change than to detect a continuous stimulus. The brain will ignore it, but will notice when it stops. This is so you don't use resources on irrelevant stimuli.

Bottom-Up Processing

Data are relayed in the brain from lower to higher levels of processing. This is what the actual stimulus is out in reality.

Top-Down Processing

Information at higher levels of processing can influence lower levels in the processing hierarchy. Previous knowledge, expectations, and contextual factors may affect what you actually experience.


The brain cannot process physical stimuli directly, so it must be translated into chemical and electrical signals. Transduction is the process by which sensory receptors produce neural impulses when they receive physical or chemical stimulation. Connecting neurons transmit info to the brain, usually through the thalamus.

Sensory Receptors

Taste: cells in taste buds transmit information to nerves.

Smell: sensitive ends of olfactory neurons in the mucous membranes go to the olfactory nerve.

Touch: Sensitive ends of neurons on the skin go to cranial nerves for touch.

Hearing: Pressure-sensitive hair cells in cochlea of inner ear go to the auditory nerve.

Vision: Light-sensitive rods and cones in retina go to the optic nerve.

Balance: Hair cells projects to the cerebellum, cranial nerves, and thalamus.


The sensory receptors for the eyes. They are located in the back of the eyeball in the retina.

Rods and Cones

Rods: sensory cells that respond to low levels of illumination; results in black and white perception. Important to see in dim light and for peripheral vision.

Cones: sensory cells that respond to higher levels of illumination; results in color vision and detail. Found throughout the retina, but concentrated in the fovea. (Short cones for blue-violet, Medium for yellow-green, and long for red-orange).


Greatest visual acuity and number of cones are found in the fovea, which receives light from the center of your visual field. It is dipped inwards to hold a high concentration of light.

Optic Chiasm

All information converge on ganglion cells, which gather into the optic nerve. The optic nerves cross at the chiasm. The right hemisphere processes left field of vision and vise versa. Information then travels through the thalamus, and to the primary visual cortex.

Simple Cells

Found exclusively in the primary visual cortex and respond principally to simple information about visual objects (edges, orientation, location, and motion). Each cell focuses on a specific, basic stimuli.

Ventral Visual Stream

"What" stream. Specialized for the perception and recognition of objects.

Dorsal Visual Stream

"Where" stream. Specialized for spatial perception (locating objects)

Good Continuation

The tendency to interpret intersecting lines as continuous rather than as changing direction radically. This allows differentiation of stimuli, even when there is visual overlap.

Binocular Disparity

Binocular depth cues are from both eyes and contribute to bottom-up processing. Because of the distance between a person's eyes, each eye receives a slightly different image. The brain uses the disparity to compute distances to nearby objects


(Monocular depth perception) Near objects block far away objects


Sound waves are patterns of changes in air pressure during a period of time, producing sound. These waves travel through the eardrum, causing in to vibrate. The vibrations go through middle ear to cochlea.


Contains fluid and basilar membrane. Vibrations cause pressure waves in fluid. The waves from the basilar membrane bend hair cells.

Hair Cells

These are the primary auditory receptors. They transmit to the auditory nerve and beyond.


(Touch) Receptors for temperature, pressure, and pain in skin's outer layer. Different signals and higher order mental processes combined to produce haptic experience. Sensitive regions of the body have a greater amount of the cortex devoted to them.


With the exception of the hippocampus and subventricular zone, neurogenesis is uncommon. the idea of adult neural plasticity was studied in 80's by Taub, Pons, and Merzenich.

EX: The removal of one finger ---> over time, areas of the brain devoted to other digits moved into the part where the missing finger was.

EX: Blind people visual cortex is used for tactile discrimination

Collateral Sprouts

After injury, new branches can be formed by non-damaged axons that reach out (by chemical attraction) to vacant receptors.