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128 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
biological psychology
a branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior
a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body
the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands
myelin sheath
a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impluse hops from one node to the next
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.
the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse
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.
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.
a neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contractions
"morphine within" - natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure
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 (CNS)
the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous sustem to the rest of the body
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
central nervous sustem neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
motor neurons
neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous sustem to the muscles and glands
somatic nervous system
the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles
autonomic nervous system
the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of hte internal organs. Its sympathetic division arouses; parasympathetic division calms.
sympathetic nervous system
the divistion of the autonomic nervous system that arounses 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
a simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response
neural networks
interconnected neural cells. With experience, netfeedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. Computer simulations of neural networks show analogous learning.
tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue
electroencephalogram (EEG)
an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp
CT scan
a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body.(computed tomography)
PET scan.
a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task. (positron emission tomography)
magnetic resonance imaging. a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain.
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
Basic, short term, survival reflexes.
the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing
reticular formation
a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal
sensory relay stations

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
sensory motor coordination.

the "little brain" attached to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance.
limbic system
emotional functioning. feeling emotion as well as reading others

a doughnut-shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebrral hemispheres; associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex. Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus.
two almond-shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion
long term health and survival and basic biological motivation

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
glial cells
cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons
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 and toward the rear; includes the sensory cortex
occipital lobes
the portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes teh 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 fron 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 funtions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions
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
the brain's capacity for modification, as evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and 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 (mainly those of the corpus callosum) between them
endocrine system
the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
chemical messengers, mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another
adrenal glands
a pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys. The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress
pituitary gland
endocrine gland, controls other glands in body by negative feedback

the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.
threadlike sturctures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes
a complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes
the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
the complete instructions for making an organism, consisting of all the genetic material in its chromosomes. The human genome has 3 billion weakly bonded pairs of nucleotides organized as coiled chains of DNA
natural selection
the principle that, among the range of inherited trait variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding generations
a random error in gene replication that leads to a change in the sequence of nucleotides; the source of all genetic diversity
evolutionary psychology
the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection. Natural selection has favored genes that designed both behavioral tendencies and information-processing systems that solved adaptive problems faced by our ancestors, thus contributing to the survival and spread of their genes
in psychology, the characteristics, whether biologically or socially influenced, by which people define male and female.
behavior genetics
the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior
every nongenetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us.
identical twins
twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, creating two genetically identical organisms.
fraternal twins
twins who develop from separate eggs. the are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share a fetal environment
a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity
the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied
the dependence of the effect of one factor (such as environment) on another factor (such as heredity)
molecular genetics
the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes
the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next
an understood rule for accepted and exptected behavior. Norms prescribe "proper" behavior
personal space
the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies
self-replicating ideas, fashins, and innovations passed from person to person
X chromosome
the sex chromosome found in both men and women. Females have two X chromosomes; males have one. An X chromosome from each parent produces a female child
Y chromosome
the sex chromosome found only in males. When paired with an X sex chromosome from the mother, it produces a male child.
teh most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additional testosterone in males stimulates teh growth of the male sex organs in teh fetus and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty.
a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave
gender role
a set of expected behaviors for males and for females
the acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role
social learning theory
the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded or punished
gender schema theory
the theory that children learn from their cultures a concept of what it means to be male and female and that they adjust their behavior accordingly
developmental psychology
a branch of psycholgy that studies psysical, cognitive, and social change throughout the life span
the fertilized egg; it enters a 2 week period of rapid cell division and develops into an embryo
the developing human organism from 9 weeks after conception to birth
agents, such as chemicals and viruses, that can reach the embryo or fetus during prenatal development and cause harm
fetal alcohol syndrome
physical and cognitive abnormalities in children caused by a pregnant woman's heavy drinking. In severe cases, symptoms include noticeable facial misproportions
rooting reflex
a baby's tendency, when touched on the cheek, to open the mouth and search for the nipple
biological growth processes that enable orderly changes in behavior, relatively uninfluenced by experience
a concept or framework that organizes and interprets information
interpreting one's new experience in terms of one's existing schemas.
adapting one's current understandings (schemas) to incorporate new information
all the mental activities associated with thinking
sesorimotor stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from birth to about 2 years of age) during which infants know the world mostly in terms of their sensory impressions and motor activities
object permanence
the awareness that things continue to exist even when not perceived
preoperational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage (from about 2 to 6 or 7 years of age) during which a child learns to use language but does not yet comprehend the mental operations of concrete logic
the principle (which Piaget believed to be a part of concrete operational reasoning) that properties such as mass, volume, and number remain the same despite changes in the forms of objects
in Piaget's theory, the inability of the preoperational child to take another's point of view.
theory of mind
people's ideas about their own and other's mental states - about their feelings, perceptions, and thoughts and the behavior these might predict.
a disorder that appears in childhood and is marked by deficient communication, social interaction, and understanding of others' states of mind
concrete operational stage
in Piaget's thory, the stage of cognitive development (from about 6 or 7 to 11 years of age) during which children gain the mental operations that enable them to think logically about concrete events
formal operational stage
in Piaget's theory, the stage of cognitive development (normal beginning about age 12) during which people begin to think logically abaout abstract concepts
stranger anxiety
the fear of strangers that infants commonly display, beginning by about 8 months of age.
an emotional tie with another person; shown in young children by their seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress on separation
critical period
an optimal period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain stimuli or experiences produces proper development
the process by which certain animals form attachments during a critical period very early in life
basic trust
according to Erik Erikson, a sense that the world is predictable and trustworthy; said to be formed during infancy by appropriate experiences with responsive caregivers
a sense of one's identity and personal worth
the transition period from childhood to adulthood, extending from puberty to independence
the period of sexual maturations, during which a person becomes capable of reproducing
primary sex characteristics
the body structures (ovaries, testes, and external genitalia) that make sexual reproduction possible
secondary sex characteristics
nonreproductive sexual characteristics, such as female breasts and hips, male voice quality, and body hair
the first menstrual period
one's sense of self; according to Erikson, the adolescent's task is to solidify a sense of self by testing and integrating various roles.
in Erikson's theory, the ability to form close, loving relationships; a primary developmental task in late adolescence and early adulthood.
the time of natural cessation of menstruation; also refers to the biological changes a woman experiences as her ability to reproduce declines
Alzheimer's disease
a progressive and irreversable brain disorder characterized by gradual deterioration of memory, reasoning, language, and finally, physical functioning
cross-sectional study
a study in which people of different ages are compared with one another
longitudinal study
research in which the same people are restudied and retested over a long period
crystallized intelligence
one's accumulated knowledge and verbal skills; tends to increase with age
fluid intelligence
one's ability to reason speedily and abstractly; tends to decrease during late adulthood
social clock
the culturally preferred timing of social events such as marriage, parenthood, and retirement
sleep arousal, waking behaviors
(colliculus) basic sensory reflexes. Visual tracking, localizing a visual stimulus, where a sound is in space.
reticular activiating system
spreads into hind and forebrain. Arousal system
thalamus and hypothalamus