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75 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
The area of psychology that focuses on the biological foundations of behavior and mental processes.
The study of the brain and the nervous system.
Individual cells that are the smallest units of the nervous system.
Short fibers that branch out from the cell body and pick up incoming messages.
Single long fiber extending from the cell body, it carries outgoing messages.
Nerve (tract)
Group of axons bundled together.
Myelin Sheath
White fatty covering found on some axons.
Sensory (afferent) Neurons
Neurons that carry messages from sense organs to the spinal cord or brain.
Motor (efferent) Neurons
Neurons that carry messages from the spinal cord or brain to the muscles and glands.
Neurons that carry messages from one neuron to another.
Glial Cells
Cells that form from the myelin sheath, they insulate and support neurons by holding them together, removing waste products, and preventing harmful substances from passing from the bloodstream into the brain.
Electrically charged particles found both inside and outside the neuron.
Resting potential
Electrical charge across a neuron membrane due to excess positive ions concentrated on the outside and excess negative ions concentrated on in the inside.
The condition of the neuron when the inside is negatively charged relative to the outside for example, when the neuron is at rest.
Neural impulse
The firing of a nerve cell.
Graded Potential
A shift in the electrical charge in a tiny area of a neuron.
Threshold of Excitation
The level an impulse must exceed to cause a neuron to fire.
All-or-None Law
Principle that the action potential in a neuron does not vary in strenght; the neuron either fires at full strength or it does not fire at all.
Absolute Refractory Period
A period after firing when the neuron will not fire again no matter how strong the incoming message may be.
Relative Refractory Period
A period after firing when a neuron is returning to its normal polarized state and will fire again only if the incoming message is much stronger than usual.
Synaptic Space
Tiny gap between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of the next neuron.
Chemicals released by the synaptic vessels that travel acrosss the synaptic space and affect adjacent neurons.
Receptor Site
A location on a receptor neuron into which a specific neurotransmitter fits like a key into a lock.
Terminal button
Structure at the end of an axon terminal branch.
Area composed of the axon terminal of one neuron, the synaptic space, and the dendrite or cell body of teh next neuron.
Neural Plasticity
The ability of the brain to change in response to experience.
Central Nervous System
Division of the nervous system that consists of the brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral Nervous System
Division of the nervous system that connects the central nervous system to the rest of the body.
Area containing the medulla, pons and cerebellum.
Structure in the hindbrain that controls certain reflexes and coordinates the body's movement.
Region between teh hindbrain and the forebrain; it is important for hearing and sight and it is one of the several places in the brain where pain is registered.
Forebrain region that relays and translates incoming messages from the sense receptors, except those of smell.
Forebrain region that governs motivation and emotional responses.
Reticular Formation
Network of neurons in the hindbrain, the midbrain, and part of the forebrain whose primary function is to alert and arouse the higher parts of the brain.
Limbic System
Ring of structures that play a role in learning and emotional behavior.
Cerebral Cortex
The outer surface of the two cerebral hemispheres that regulates most complex behavior.
Association Areas
Areas of the cerebral cortex where incoming messages frm teh separate senses are combined into meaingful impressions and outgoing messages from the motor areas are integrated.
Occibital Lobe
Part of the cerebral hemisphere that receives and interprets visual information.
Temporal Lobe
Part of the cerebral hemisphere that helps regulate hearing, balance and equilibrium, and certain emotions and motivations.
Parietal Lobe
Part of the cerebral cortex that receives sensory information from throughout the body.
Primary Somatosensory Cortex
Area of the parietal lobe where messages from the sense receptors are registered.
Frontal lobe
Part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for voluntary movement; it is also important for attention, goal-directed behavior, and appropriate emotional experiences.
Primary Motor Cortex
The section of the frontal lobe responsible for voluntary movement.
Corpus Callosum
A thick band of nerve fibers connecting the left and right cerebral cortex.
What are the two major language areas called and what are their functions?
Wenicke's area is crucial in understanding what others are saying. Boca's area is considered essential to our ability to talk.
Spinal Cord
Complex cable of neurons that runs down the spine, connecting the brain to most of the rest of the body.
Somatic Nervous System
The part of the peripheral nervous system that carries messages from the senses to the central nervous system and between the central nervous system and the skeletal muscles.
Autonomic Nervous System
The part of the peripheral nervous system that carries messages between the central nervous system and the internal organs.
Symathetic Division
Branch of the autonomic nervous system, it prepares the body for quick action in an emergency.
Parasympathetic Division
Branch of the autonomic nervous system; it calms and relaxes the body.
Endocrine Glands
Glands of the endocrine system that release hormones into the bloodstream.
Chemical substances released by the endocrine glands; they help regulate bodily activities.
Thyroid Gland
Endocrine gland located below the voice box; it produces the hormone thyroxin.
Four tiny glands embedded in the thyroid; they secrete parathormone.
Pineal Gland
A gland located roughly in the center of the brain that appears to regulate activity levels over the course of a day.
Organ lying between the stomach adn small intestine; it secretes insulin and glucagon to regulate blood-sugar levels.
Pituitary Glands
Gland located on the underside of the brain; it produces the largest number of the body's hormones.
The reproductive glands, testes in males and ovaries in femailes.
Adrenal Glands
Two endocrine glands located just above the kidneys.
Behavior Genetics
Study of the relationship between hereditary and behavior.
Evolutionary Psychology
A subfield of psychology concerned with the origins of behaviors and mental processes, their adaptive value, and the purposes they continue to serve.
Study of how traits are transmitted from one generation to the next.
Elements that control the transmission of traits; they are found on the chromosomes.
Pairs of threadlike bodies within the cell nucleus that contain the genes.
Deoxyribonucleic Acid
Complex molecule in a double-helix configuration that is the main ingredient of chromosomes and genes and forms the code for all genetic information.
Human Genome
The full complement of genes within a human cell.
Dominant Gene
Member of a gene pair that contrls the appearance of a certain trait.
Recessive Gene
Member of a gene pair that cna control the appearance of a certain trait only if it is paired with another recessive gene.
Polygenic Inheritance
Process by which several genes interact to produce a certain trait; responsible for our most important traits.
Strain Studies
Studies of the heritability of behavioral traits using animals that have been inbred to produce strains that are genetically similar to one another.
Selection Studies
Studies that estimate the heritability of a trait by breeding animals with other animals that have the same trait.
Family Studies
Studies of heritability in humans based on the assumption that if genes influence a certain trait, close relatives should be more similar on that trait than distant relatives.
Twin studies
Studies of identical twins and fraternal twins to determine the relative influence of hereditary and environment on human behavior.
Adoption Studies
Research carried out on children, adopted at birth by parents not related to them, to determine the relative influence of hereditary and environment on human behavior.
Natural Selection
The mechanism proposed by Darwin in his theory of evolution, which states that organisms best adapted to their environmen tend to survive, transmitting their genetic characteristics to succeeding generations, whereas organisms with less adaptive characteristics tend to vanish from the earth.