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101 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
neuron
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
dendrite
the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body (branches off cell body)
axon
the extension of a neuron ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands (middle structure/chain)
action potential
a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. the action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane- when a neuron receives signals from sense receptors stimulated by pressure, heat, light, or by chemical msgs from neighboring neurons, fires an impulse
myelin sheath
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next- insulates and helps speed impulses- importance is evident in multiple sclerosis, a disease in which the myelin sheath degenerates. the result is a slowing of all communication to muscles and the eventual loss of muscle control
threshold
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse- each neuron receives signals on its dendrites or cell body from hundreds or thousands of other neurons. some signals are excitatory, like pushing on a neurons accelerator, some are inhibitory, like pushing on its brake. if excitatory signals minus inhibitory signals exceed a minimum intensity AKA the threshold, the combined signals trigger an action potential. *if the excitatory party animals outvote the inhibitory party poopers, the party's on*
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
what is the largest type of neurons and what do they control?
motor neurons; control muscles
what can change the speed of the neural impulse?
the type of fiber
will increasing the stimulus above the threshold increase the intensity?
no. the neuron's reaction is an all or none response: they either fire or they don't. a strong stimulus (slap on the back rather than a tap) can trigger more neurons to fire & to fire more often but does not affect the action potential's speed.
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 that neuron will generate a neural impulse
reuptake
excess neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the sending neuron
endorphins
"morphine within" natural, opiate like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure- endorphins are released in response to pain and vigorous exercise. when the brain is flooded with artificial opiates, such as heroin & morphine, it may stop producing its own natural opiates. when the drug is withdrawn, the brain may be deprived of any form of opiate
nervous system
the body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems
central nervous system
the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body
nerves
neural "cables" containing many axons. these bundled axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs
sensory neurons
neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system
interneurons
central nervous system neurons that that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands
somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles (AKA skeletal nervous system)
autonomic nervous system
the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart) its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms
sympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations
parasympathetic nervous system
the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy
reflex
a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response
endocrine system
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the blood stream
hormones
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another- affect our interest in sex, food & aggression
adrenal glands
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. the adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which help arouse the body in times of stress
pituitary gland
the endocrine system's most influential gland. under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands
brainstem
the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions
medulla
the base of the brainstem; controls heart beat and breathing
reticular formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal
thalamus
the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla- a hub through which traffic passes en route to various destinations
cerebellum
the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance- if you injured your cerebellum you would probably have difficulty walking, keeping your balance & shaking hands. your movements would be jerky and exaggerated
limbic system
a doughnut shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem & cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and agression and drives such as those for food and sex. includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus
amygdala
2 almond shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system & are linked to emotion
hippocampus
processes memory. if animals or humans lose their hippocampus to surgery or injury, they become unable to lay down new memories of facts and episodes
hypothalamus
a neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature) helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion
cerebral cortex
the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information processing center
frontal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments
parietal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head & toward the rear, includes sensory cortex
occipital lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes the visual areas, which receive visual information from the opposite visual field
temporal lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear
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 processes body sensations
association areas
areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking & speaking
aphasia
impairment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (impairing understanding)
Broca's area
controls language expression- an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech
Wernicke's area
controls language reception- a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe
plasticity
the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (esp. in kids) & in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development
corpus callosum
the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them
split brain
a condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers between them
psychoactive drug
a chemical substance that alters perceptions and mood- caffeine, nicotine, alcohol
tolerance
the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug's effects
withdrawal
the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing the use of an addictive drug
physical dependence
a physiological need for a drug, marked by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the drug is discontinued
psychological dependence
a psychological need to use a drug, such as to relieve negative emotions
depressants
drugs (such as alcohol, barbituates, and opiates) that reduce neural activity and slow body functions
barbituates
drugs that depress the activity of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgment
opiates
opium and its derivatives, such as morphine and heroin; they depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety
stimulants
drugs (such as caffeine, nicotine, and the more powerful amphetamines and cocaine) that excite neural activity and speed up body functions
amphetamines
drugs that stimulate neural activity, causing speeded-up body functions and associated energy and mood changes
ecstacy (mdma)
a synthetic stimulant and mild hallucinogen. produces euphoria and social intimacy, but with short term health risks and longer term harm to serotonin-producing neurons and to mood and cognition
hallucinogens
psychedelic ("mind manifesting") drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absense of sensory input
LSD
a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid
near-death experience
an altered state of consciousness reported after a close brush with death (such as through cardiac arrest) often similar to drug induced hallucinations
THC
the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations
personality
an individual's characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting
free association
in psychoanalysis, a method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes and says whatever comes to mind, no matter how trivial or embarassing
psychoanalysis
freud's theory of personality that attributes our thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts; the techniques used in treating psychological disorders by seeking to expose and interpret unconscious tensions
unconscious
according to freud, a reservoir of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. according to contemporary psychologists, information processing of which we were unaware.
id
contains a reservoir of unconscious psychic energy that, according to freud, strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives. the id operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification
ego
the largely conscious, "executive" part of personality that, according to freud, mediates among the demands of the id, superego, and reality. the ego operates on the reality principle, satisfying the id's desires in ways that will realistically bring pleasure rather than pain
superego
the part of personality that, according to freud, represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment (the conscience) and for future aspirations
psychosexual stages
the childhood stages of development (oral, anal, phallic, latency, genital) during which, according to freud, the id's pleasure seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous zones
oedipus complex
according to freud, a boy's sexual desires toward his mother and feelings jealousy and hatred for the rival father
identification
the process by which, according to freud, children incorporate their parents' values into their developing superegos
fixation
according to freud, a lingering focus of pleasure seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage where conflicts were unresolved
defense mechanisms
in psychoanalytic theory, the ego's protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality
repression
in psychoanalytic theory, the basic defense mechanism that banishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness
regression
defense mechanism in which an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual stage where some psychic energy remains fixated
reaction formation
psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which the ego unconsciously switches unacceptable inpulses into their opposites. thus, people may expess feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing unconscious feelings
projection
psychoanalytic defense mechanism by which people disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others
rationalization
defense mechanism that offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening, unconscious reasons for one's actions
displacement
psychoanalytic defense mechanism that shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less threatening object or person, as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet
projective test
a personality test, such as the Rorschach or inkblot test, that provides ambiguous stimuli designed to trigger projection of one's inner dynamics
Rorschach inkblot test
the most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inblots designed by Hermann Rorschach; seeks to identify people's inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots
collective unconscious
Carl Jung's concept of a shared, inherited reservoir of memory traces from our species' history
self-actualization
according to Maslow, the ultimate psychological need that arises after basic physical and psychological needs are met and self esteem is achieved; the motivation is to fulfill one's potential
unconditional positive regard
according to Rogers, an attitude of total acceptance toward another person
self concept
all our thoughts and feelings about ourselves, in answer to the question "who am i?"
trait
a characteristic pattern of behavior or a disposition to feel and act as assessed by self-report inventories and peer reports
personality inventory
a questionnaire (often with true/false or agree/disagree questions)on which people respond to questions designed to gauge a wide range of feelings and behaviors; used to assess selected personality traits
minnesota multiphasic personality inventory
the most widely researched and clinically used of all personality tests. originally developed to indentify emotional disorders (still considered it's most appropriate use), this test is now used for many other screening purposes.
empirically derived test
a test such as the MMPI developed by testing a pool of items and then selecting those that discriminate between groups
social cognitive perspective
views behavior as influenced by the interaction between persons (and their thinking) and their social context
reciprocal determinism
the interacting influences between personality and environmental factors
personal control
our sense of controlling our environment rather than feeling helpless
external locus of control
the perception that chance or outside forces beyond one's personal control determine one's fate
internal locus of control
the perception that one controls one's own fate
learned helplessness
the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events