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131 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What is a neuron

nerve cell specialized for communication

The cell body (soma):

1. structure

2. function(3)

3. location

1. contains the nucleus

2. manufactures new cell components

- the nucleus is involved in protein manufacture

- provides continual removal of cell components

3. central region of neuron


branchlike extensions for receiving information from other neurons

Portion of neuron the receives signals




2. function

- very thin near the cell body (narowness creates area that's easily activated by incoming signals)

- specialized for sending messages to other neurons

Define synaptic vessicles

- spherical sac containing neurotransmitters

Movement of synaptic vesicles:

- travels length of axon on their way to axon terminal

- once reaches synaptic terminal -> bursts -> releases neurotransmitters

What is a neurotransmitter?

chemical messenger specialized for communication from neuron to neuron

once neurotransmitters are released from the synaptic vesicles ...

they enter the synapse and quickly picked up by dendrites

Define synapse

space between two connecting neurons through which messages are transmitted chemically

The synapse consists of:

synaptic cleft: gap into which neurotransmitters are released from axon terminal

The synaptic cleft is surrounded by:

- sending axon of the first neuron and receiving dendrite of the second neuron

Define glial celll:

cell in NS that plays key role in formation of myelin and BBB, responds to injury, removes debris and enhances learning and memory

What are the most abundant glial cells? (5)


- control blood flow to the brain

- play vital role in development of embryo

- communicate CLOSELY with neurons

- abundant in BBB
- w/ of glials involved in thought, memory and immune sys

The blood brain barrier is (2)

a protective shield that protects brain from infection by bacteria and intruders

- consists of tiny blood vessels wrapped w/ fatty coating

The BBB blocks (3)

- large molecules

- highly charged particles

- molecules that dissolve in water

oligodendrocyte (2)

- promotes new connection among nerve cells and releases chemicals to aid in healing

- produces myelin sheath

What is myelin sheath?

- what is its function?

(3) total

- glial cells wrapped around axons that act as insulators of the neurons signals

- sheath contains gaps along axon (nodes)

- signal jumps from node to node (electricity is conducted more efficiently)

Multiple sclerosis (2)

-autoimmune disease where myelin sheath "eaten away" results in progressive loss of insulation of neural messages

- messages become scrambles - results in wide variety of physical and emotional symp.

neurons respond to neurotransmitters by

generating electrical activity

basis of all electrical responses in neurons depends on

uneven distribution of charged particles across membrane surrounding neuron

when no neurotransmitters are acting on a neuron, membrane is at

resting potential: electrical charge diff. across mem. when neuron is not being stimulated (-60 to -70mV)

During resting potential more positive particles are inside than outside the neuron? T of F

FALSE: during resting potential more negative particles are inside than outside the neuron

When electrical charge inside neuron reaches high enough level compared to outside (_____________) ... what happens


--> action potential triggered

Define action potential (3)

- electrical impulse that travels down the axon, triggering the release of neurotransmitters

- language of neurons (communication b/w)

- abrupt waves of electrical discharge triggered by a change in charge INSIDE AXON

Neurons obey the "all or none" rule meaning

they either fire or they don't

Action potential originates where?

- in the trigger zone near the cell body

- moves towards axon/axon terminal

Flow of charged particles in and out of axon during action potential

(+) charged particles flow rapidly into axon --> then flow back out rapidly --> causes spike in (+) charge then sudden decrease in charge --> inside charge ends up slightly more (-) than original resting value

When electrical charge reaches axon terminal ...

triggers release of neurotransmitter into synapse

What is the absolute refractory period?

- each action potential followed by absolute refractory period: time during which another action potential is impossible (this limits firing rate)

Graded potentials are

- postsynaptic potentials that can be excitatory or inhibitory

graded potentials depend on: (2)

- whether positive or negative charged particles flow across neuronal mem.

- which direction they flow

neurotransmitter binds to appropriate receptor causing receptor to open.. if positive ions allowed in...

EPSP - excitatory postsynaptic potential

- depolarizes neuron

neurotransmitter binds to appropriate receptor causing receptor to open.. if negative ions allowed in...

IPSP - inhibitory postsynaptic potential

- hyperpolarizes neuron

Graded potentials of same type

add together

graded potentials of different types

cancel out

Long term potential:

when graded potential becomes larger than it was prior to stimulation (mechanism for memory)

Define receptor sites

location that uniquely recognizes a neurotransmitter

Lock and key analogy :

neurotransmitter (key) that fits only its own type of receptor (lock)

Glutamate: (3)

- rapidly excite neurons

- release of ti associated with enhance learning and memory

- when abnormally elevated - high doses can be toxic/damage neural receptors by overstimulation (schizophrenia)

GABA: (3)

- inhibits neurons

- anti-anxiety drugs activate GABA receptors - suppress overactive brain areas linked to worrying

- workhorse in NS -> role in learning, memory and SLEEP

Acetylcholine (2)

- roles in arousal, selective attention, sleep and memory

- neurons that connect directly to muscle cells release acetylcholine (allows to trigger movement)

Acetylcholine and alzheimers

neurons containing acetylcholine progressively destroyed

What are the monoamines?

norepinepherin, dopamine and serotonin


rewarding experiences that occur when we seek out or anticipate goals

(areas rich in dopamine activate when hear a joke)

Norepinepherine and serotonin

activate or deactivate parts of brain influencing arousal and readiness to respond to stimuli


roles in eating, motivation, memory and sleep (explains symptoms of marijuana bc has same receptors as THC)


- short strings of amino acids in ns

- act like neurotransmitters but tend to be more narrowly targeted in their jobs


chemical in brain that plays role in pain reduction


binds to endorphine recpetors and mimick their effects

Psychoactive drugs:

drugs that interact w/ neurotransmitter systems (affect mood, arousal or behaviour)


Reduce emotional response to painful stimuli by binding with opoid receptors and mimicking endorphines

Ranquilizers (Xanax):

diminish anxiety by stimulating GABA receptors -> driving down neuronal activity (opiate)

Receptor anatagonists

decrease receptor site activity

Antidepressants (prozac/paxil) inhibit

- inhibit reuptake by allowing neurotransmitter to stay in synapse longer (enhance neurotransmitter effects on receptor sites)


ability of nervous system t change

Network of neurons in brain changes over the course of development in 4 primary ways:

1. growth of dendrites and axons

2. synaptogensis -formation of new synapse

3. pruning - death of certain neurons and retraction of axons to remove useless connections

4. myelination - insulation of axons w/ myelin sheath

Infantile autism theory

suggests that it is caused by inadequate pruning (they have large brains)

How is pruning helpful?

- it streamlines neural organization (enhances communication among brain structurs)


creation of new neurons in adult brian

Stem cells:

cell often originating in embryos - potential to differentiate into more specialized cell

CNS composed of

brain and spinal cord (controls mind and behvaiour)

PNS composed of

all nerves that extend outside of the CNS

- somatic NS: controls voluntary behaviour

- autonomic NS: controls non-voluntary functions

Cortex consists of

Frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital lobes

Frontal lobe

performs executive functions that coordinate other brain area, motor planning, language and memory

Parietal lobe

process touch information, integrate vision and touch

Temporal lobe

process auditory info, language and autobiographical memory

Occipital lobe

visual information

Basal Ganglia

control movement and motor plannin

Limbic system consists of (4)

1. thalamus: conveys sensory information to cortex (relay station)

2. hypothalamus: oversees endocrine and autonomic NS - key role in homeostasis

3. amygdala: regulates arousal and fear

4. hippocampus: processes memory for spatial locations


controls balance and coordinated movement
Brain stem consists of

Midbrain: tracks visual stimuli and reflexes triggers by sound (role in movement)

Pons: conveys information b/w cortex and cerebellum (connects them as well)

Medulla: regulates breathing and heartbeats

Spinal cord role in CNS

conveys information b/w brain and rest of body


3 thin layers of membrane

Cerebral ventricle and CSF

ventricle: fluid filled pockets that extend throughout brain and spinal cord

- contains CSF which bathes our brains and spinal cord

- CSF provides nutrients and cushioning against injuring (CNS shock absorber)

The cerebrum consists of

2 cerebral hemispheres connected by corpus callosu

Outermost part of the cerebrum


Central suculus

deep groove that separates frontal lobe from rest of cortex

Motor cortex structure (2)

- part of frontal lobe

- lies next to central suculus

Prefrontal cortex

1. location

2. function

1. lies in front of motor complex

2. - responsible for thinking, planning and language

- contain broca's area - plays key role in language production

- also contributes to mood, personality and self-awareness

Location of frontal lobe

lie in forward part of cerebral cortex (touch forehead)

Parietal lobe location

upper middle part of cerebral cortex (lies behind frontal)

Primary sensory cortex (3)

- part of parietal lobe

- behind motor cortex

- sensitive to touch: pressure, pain and temp

Lateral fissure:

horizontal groove that separates temporal lobe from rest of cortex

Auditory cortex

- part of temporal lobe (top of temp lobe)

- devoted to hearing

Wernick's area (3)

- language area in temporal lobe and includes lower parietal lobes as well

- located slightly above and behind left ear

- damage to: results in difficulty with understanding speech/speak gibberish

Occipital lobe location

very back of brain

Association cortex:

integrate simpler functions to perform more complex functions (pulling together size, shape, colour and location information to identify an object)

Limbic system

process informaiton about internal states: bp, heart rate, perspiration emotion

Sensory information first passes through _________ -> undergoes ___________ before travelling to ___________

Sensory information first passes through thalamus -> undergoes some processing before travelling to cortex

Which part of limbic system plays role in fear conditioning

Amygdala: fear conditioning: predict when something scary is about to happen

Damage to hippocampus

- causes problems with forming new memories but leaves of memories intact

hypothesis: hippocampus temporarily stores memories before transferring it to other sites

Relay station between cortex and rest of NS

brain stem

what part of the brain plays a role in tiggering dreams?


Reticular activating system (RAS)

- connects to forebrain and cerebral cortex

- key role in arousal

Sensory info carried from brain to body by

motor nerves


neurons that send messages to other neurons nearby

How do reflexes work

interneurons connect sensory nerves with motor nerves within spinal cord w/o having to report back to brain

Stretch reflex relies only on the _____
give an example

relies only on the spinal cord

carrying books -> over time grasp slightly releases w/o our noticing -> sensory nerve detects muscle stretch -> relay info to spc -> interneurons intervene -> motor neurons automatically send msgs -> arm muscles contract to prevent books from falling

Somatic NS conveys information b/w

CNS and the body - controls and coordinates voluntary movement

Autonomic NS controls

involuntary actions of internal organs and glands along with limbic system (participates with emotion regulation)
Autonomic NS divided into

1. sympathetic NS: fight or flight response

2. parasympathetic NS: controls rest and digestion - kicks in when no threat detected

Endocrine system:

system of glands and hormones that controls secretion of blood-borne chemical messengers

How do hormones differ from neurotransmitters? (2)

- hormones carried in blood - neurotransmitters carried in nerves

- hormones slower in their actions but tend to last longer

Pituitary gland: (3)

- master gland that controls other glands in body

- is controlled by hypothalamus

- regulating physical growth, control bp, determines how much water we retain in kidney

Oxytocin (2)

- pituitary hormone

- stretching cervix in vagina during birth and aiding milk flow in nursing mothers

Adrenal gland

- tissue located on top of kidneys that releases adrenalin and cortisol during states of emotional arousal


boosts energy production in muscle cells while conserving as much energy as possible

What signals adrenal glands to release adrenalin

nerves of the sympathetic NS

Adrenaline triggers (6)

1. contraction of heart muscles/constriction of blood vessels (provide more blood to body)

2. opening of bronchioles to allow inhalation of more air

3. breakdown of fat into fatty acids (energy)

4. breakdown of glycogen into glucose (energize muscles)

5. opening pupils to enable better sight during emergencies

6. inhibits gastrointestinal secretions


increase in response to physical and psychological stressors (elevated levels in ppl w/ anxiety disorders)

Phrenology (3)

first attempt to map mind onto brain

- incorrect map of the mind

- assessed bumps of the head (attributed to personality and intellectual characteristics)

Electroencephalograph (EEG) (5)

- measure electrical activity generated by brain

- patterns and sequences allow scientists to infer whether a person is awake or asleep (dreaming or not)

- tell which regions of brain active during specific tasks

- multiple electrodes placed on scalp surface to record electrical activity

- noninvasive

Disadvantage of EEG

show averaged neural activity that reached the surface of scalp - tells little about what is happening inside neurons

Computed tomography (CT Scans)

scanning technique using multiple X-rays to construct 3D image

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) (3)

technique that uses magnetic fields to indirectly visualize brain structure

- measures release of energy from H atoms in tissues following exposure to magnetic field

- superior t CT for detecting (brain tumors)

CT and MRI show

brain structure only

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

imaging technique - measures consumption of glucose-like molecules, yielding a picture of neural activity in diff. regions of brain

- figure out where regions most active during a task (most glucose consumed)

Functional MRI (fMRI) (2)

- uses magnetic fields to visualize brain activity

- measures change in blood oxygen level (brain cells require more oxygen as they do work)

Strength and disadvantage of fMRI

Strength: ability to provide detailed images of activity in small brain regions and over brief time intervals

Disadvantage: extremely sensitive to motion (patients can't move too much)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

technique that applies strongly and quickly changing magnetic fields to the surface of the skull (can either enhance or interrupt brain function)

What is the only noninvasive brain imaging technique that can infer causation?


Ex: if TMS interrupts functioning in temporal lobe and subject displays temporary language impairment as result - can conclude that temporal lobe plays role in language processing

Magnetoencephalography MEG

measures brain activity by detecting tiny magnetic field generated by the brain

- extremely small intervals


cognitive function that relies more on one hemisphere than the other

Split brain surgery: (2)

severing the corpus callosum to reduce spread of epileptic seizures

- difficulty integrating information presented to separate hemispheres


observable traits

According to evolutionary psychologists, aggressive behaviour is

an adaption

Behaviour genetics

to examine influence of nature and nurture on psychological traits and examine heritability of traits and diseases


percentage of the variability in a trait across individuals that is DUE to genes

Misconceptions about heritability (3)

1. heritability applies to a single individual rather than to a difference among individuals [fact: tells about the causes of differences among people not within a person]

2. heritability tells us whether a trait can be changes [fact: tells little to nothing about changeability]

3. heritability is a fixed number [fact: if reduce range of env. heredity will increase (vice verse)]

Scientists estimate heritability using 1 of 3 behavioural genetic designs

1. family studies: analysis of how characteristics run intact families

2. twin studies: analysis of how traits differ in identical vs. fraternal twins

3. adoption studies: analysis of how traits vary in individuals raised apart from their biological relative