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69 Cards in this Set

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Electrical Stimulation

Passage of an electrical current from the uninsulated tip of an electrode through the tissue, resulting in changes in the electrical activity of the tissue.


Device that measures

the flow and the strength of electrical voltage by recording the difference in electrical potential between two bodies

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Graph that records electrical activity through the skull or from the brain and represents graded potentials of many neurons.


Device that serves as a sensitive voltmeter by

registering the flow of electrons to measure voltage.


A microscopic insulated wire or a salt-water-filled glass tube of which the uninsulated tip is used to stimulate or record from neurons.


Movement of ions from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration through random motion.

Concentration Grradient

Difference in concentration of a substance among regions of a container that allow the substance to diffuse from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration.

Voltage Gradient

Difference in charge between two regions that allows a flow of current if the two regions are connected.

Resting Potential

Electrical charge across the cell membrane in the absence of stimulation; a store of potential energy produced by a greater negative charge on the intracellular side relative to the extracellular side.

Graded Potential

Small voltage fluctuation in the cell membrane restricted to the vicinity on the axon where ion concentrations change to cause a brief increase (hyperpolarization) or decrease (depolarization) in electrical charge across the cell membrane.


Increase in electrical charge across a membrane, usually due to the inward flow of chloride or sodium ions or the outward flow of potassium ions.


Decrease in electrical charge across a membrane, usually due to the inward flow of sodium ions.

Action Potential

Large, brief reversal in the polarity of an axon.

Threshold Potential

Voltage on a neural membrane at which an action potential is triggered by the opening of Na + and K + voltage sensative channels; about 50 millivolts relative to extracellular surround.

Voltage Sensitive Channel

/gated protein channel that open or closes only at specific membrane voltages.

Absolutely Refractory

Refers to the state of an axon in the repolarizing period during which a new action potential cannot be elicited (with some exceptions), because gate 2 of sodium channels, which is not voltage sensitive is closed.

Relatively Refractory

Refers to the state of an axon in the later phase of an action potential during which increased electrical current is required to produce another action potential; a phase during which potassium channels are still open.

Nerve Impulse

/propagation of an action potential on the membrane of an axon.

Node of Ranvier

The part of an axon that is not covered by myelin.

Saltatory Conduction

Propagation of an action potential at successive nodes of Ranvier; saltatory means "jumping" or "dancing"

Excitatory Postsynaptic Potential (EPSP)

Brief depolarization of a neuron membrane in response to stimulation, making the neuron more likely to produce an action potential.

Autoimmune Disease

Illness resulting from the loss of the immune system's ability to discriminate between foreign pathogens in the body and the body itself.

Inhibitory Postsynaptic Potential (IPSP)

Brief hyperpolarization of a neuron membrane in response to stimulation, making the neuron less likely to produce an action potential.

Temporal Summation

Graded potentials that occur at approximately the same time on a membrane are summed.

Spatial Summation

Graded potentials that occur at approximately the same location and time a membrane are summed.

Back Propagation

Reverse movement of an action potential into the dendritc field of a neuron; postulated to play a role in plastic changes that underlie learning.


Transgenic technique that combines genetics and light to control targeted cells in living tissue.

Stretch Sensitive Channel

Ion channel on a tactile sensory neuron that activates in response to stretching of the membrane initiating a nerve pulse.

End Plate

On a muscle, the receptor ion complex that is activated by the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from the terminal of a motor neuron.

Transmitter Sensitive Channel

Receptor complex that has both a receptor site for a chemical and a pore through which ions can flow.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Developmental disorder characterized by core behavioral symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and or inattention.


Study of how drugs affect the nervous system and behavior.

Psychoactive Drug

Substance that acts to alter mood, thought, or behavior; is used to manage neuropsychological illness, or is abused.


Substance that enhances the function of a synapse.


Substance that blocks the function of a synapse.


Decrease in response to a drug with the passage of time.

Antianxiety Agent

Drug that reduces anxiety; examples are minor tranquilizers such as benzodiazepines and sedative hypnotic agents.


Drug that produces sedation and sleep.

Cross Tolerance

Reduction of response to a novel drug because of tolerance developed in response to a chemically related drug.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Range of physical and intellectual impairments observed in some children born to alcoholic mothers.

Dopamine Hypothesis of Schizophrenia

Idea that excess activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine causes symptoms of schizophrenia.

Major Depression

Mood disorder characterized by prolonged feeling of worthlessness and guilt, the disruption of normal eating habits, sleep disturbances, a general slowing of behavior, and frequent thoughts of suicide.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI)

///antidepressant drug that blocks the enzyme monamine oxidase from degrading neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradreniline, and serotonin.

Tricyclic Antidepressant

First generation antidepressant drug with a chemical structure characterized by three rings that blocks serotonin reuptake transporter proteins.

Second Generation Antidepressant

Drug whose action is similar to that of tricyclics (first generation antidepressants) but more selective in its action on the serotonin reuptake transporter proteins; also called atypical antidepressant.

Selective Serotonin Re-uptake inhibitor

Tricyclic antidepressant drug that blocks the re-uptake of serotonin into the presynaptic terminal.

Bipolar Disorder

Mood disorder characterized by periods of depression alternating with normal periods and periods of intense excitation or mania.

Mood Stabalizer

Drug for treatment of bipolar disorder that mutes the intensity of one pole of the disorder, thus making the other pole less likely to recur.

Opioid Analgesic

Drug like morphine, with sleep inducing (narcotic) and pain relieving (analgesic) properties; originally narcotic analgesic.


Peptide hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter and may be associated with feelings of pain or pleasure; mimicked by opioid drugs such as morphine, heroin, opium, and codeine.

Competitive inhibitor

Drug such as nalorphine and naloxone that acts quickly to block the actions of opioids by competing with them for binding sites; used to treat opioid addiction.


Drug that releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into its synapse and like cocaine, blocks dopamine re-uptake.

Psychedelic Drug

Drug that can alter sensation and perception; examples are lysergic acid diethylamide, mescaline, and psilocybin.

Disinhibition theory

Explanation holding that alcohol has a selective depressant effect on the cortex, the region of the brain that controls judgement, while sparing subcortical structures responsible for more primitive instincts such as desire.

Alcohol myopia

"Nearsighted" behavior displayed under the influence of alcohol: local and immediate cues become prominent, and remote cues and consequences are ignored.

Substance abuse

Use of a drug for the psychological and behavioral changes it produces aside from its therapeutic effects.


Desire for a drug manifested by frequent use of the drug, leading to the development of physical dependence in addition to abuse; often associated with tolerance and unpleasant, sometimes dangerous, withdrawal symptoms on cessation of drug use.

Withdrawal symptom

Physical and psychological behavior displayed by an addict when drug use ends.

Psychomotor Activation

Increased behavioral and cognitive activity; at certain levels of consumption, the drug user feels energetic and in control.

Wanting and liking theory

When a drug is associated with certain cues, themselves elicit desire for the drug; also called incentive sensitization theory.


Sex hormone secreted by the testes and responsible for the distinguishing characteristics of the male.

Steroid hormone

Fat soluble chemical messenger synthesized from cholesterol

Peptide hormone

Chemical messenger synthesized by cellular DNA that acts to affect the target cell's physiology.

Homeostatic hormone

One of the group of hormones that maintain internal metabolic balance and regulate physiological systems in an organism.

Gonadal (sex) hormone

One of a group of hormones, such as testosterone, that control reproductive functions and bestow sexual appearance and identity as male or female.


One of a group of steroid hormones such as cortisol secreted in times of stress; important in protein and carbohydrate metabolism.

Organizational hypothesis

Proposal that actions of hormones in development alter tissue differentiation; for example, testosterone masculinizes the brain.

Anabolic steroid

Belongs to a class of synthetic hormones related to testosterone that have both muscle building (anabolic) and masculinizing (androgenic) effects; also called anabolic androgenic steroid.

Action Potentials and refractory periods chart.