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Psy Chapt 3

Psychology chapters 3

neurons The basic units of the nervous system; cells that receive, integrate, and transmit information in the nervous system. They operate through electrical impulses, communicate with other neurons through chemical signals, and form neural networks.
central nervous system (CNS)  The brain and the spinal cord.
peripheral nervous system (PNS) All nerve cells in the body that are not part of the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system includes the somatic and autonomic nervous systems.
sensory neurons  One of the three types of neurons; these neurons detect information from the physical world and pass that information to the brain.
motor neurons One of the three types of neurons; these neurons direct muscles to contract or relax, thereby producing movement.
interneurons One of the three types of neurons; these neurons communicate within local or short-distance circuits.
dendrites Branchlike extensions of the neuron that detect information from other neurons.
cell body or soma The site in the neuron where information from thousands of other neurons is collected and integrated.
axon A long narrow outgrowth of a neuron by which information is transmitted to other neurons.
terminal buttons At the ends of axons, small nodules that release chemical signals from the neuron into the synapse.
synapse The gap between the axon of a “sending” neuron and the dendrites of a “receiving” neuron; the site at which chemical communication occurs between neurons.
resting membrane potential  The electrical charge of a neuron when it is not active.
action potential or neural firing The electrical signal that passes along the axon and subsequently causes the release of chemicals from the terminal buttons.
myelin sheath  A fatty material, made up of glial cells, that insulates some axons to allow for faster movement of electrical impulses along the axon.
nodes of Ranvier Small gaps of exposed axon, between the segments of myelin sheath, where action potentials take place.
all-or-none principlet  The principle that when a neuron fires, it fires with the same potency each time; a neuron either fires or not—it cannot partially fire, although the frequency of firing can vary.
neurotransmitters   Chemical substances that transmit signals from one neuron to another.
receptors  In neurons, specialized protein molecules on the postsynaptic membrane; neurotransmitters bind to these molecules after passing across the synapse.
reuptake  The process whereby a neurotransmitter is taken back into the presynaptic terminal buttons, thereby stopping its activity.
acetylcholine (ACh)   The neurotransmitter responsible for motor control at the junction between nerves and muscles; it is also involved in mental processes such as learning, memory, sleeping, and dreaming.
epinephrine A monoamine neurotransmitter responsible for bursts of energy after an event that is exciting or threatening.
norepinephrine A monoamine neurotransmitter involved in states of arousal and attention.
serotonin A monoamine neurotransmitter important for a wide range of psychological activity, including emotional states, impulse control, and dreaming.
dopamine  A monoamine neurotransmitter involved in motivation, reward, and motor control over voluntary movement.
GABA  Gamma-aminobutyric acid; the primary inhibitory transmitter in the nervous system.
glutamate The primary excitatory transmitter in the nervous system.
endorphins Neurotransmitters involved in natural pain reduction and reward.
Broca’s area A small portion of the left frontal region of the brain, crucial for the production of language.
electroencephalograph (EEG) A device that measures electrical activity in the brain.
positron emission tomography (PET) A method of brain imaging that assesses metabolic activity by using a radioactive substance injected into the bloodstream.
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)   A method of brain imaging that uses a powerful magnetic field to produce high-quality images of the brain.
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) An imaging technique used to examine changes in the activity of the working human brain by measuring changes in the blood’s oxygen levels.
transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)  The use of strong magnets to briefly interrupt normal brain activity as a way to study brain regions.
brain stem An extension of the spinal cord; it houses structures that control functions associated with survival, such as heart rate, breathing, swallowing, vomiting, urination, and orgasm.
cerebellum A large, convoluted protuberance at the back of the brain stem; it is essential for coordinated movement and balance.
thalamus The gateway to the brain; it receives almost all incoming sensory information before that information reaches the cortex.
hypothalamus A brain structure that is involved in the regulation of bodily functions, including body temperature, body rhythms, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels; it also influences our basic motivated behaviors.
hippocampus A brain structure that is associated with the formation of memories.
amygdala A brain structure that serves a vital role in learning to associate things with emotional responses and in processing emotional information.
basal ganglia A system of subcortical structures that are important for the planning and production of movement.
cerebral cortex  The outer layer of brain tissue, which forms the convoluted surface of the brain; the site of all thoughts, perceptions, and complex behaviors.
occipital lobes Regions of the cerebral cortex—at the back of the brain—important for vision.
parietal lobes Regions of the cerebral cortex—in front of the occipital lobes and behind the frontal lobes—important for the sense of touch and for attention to the environment.
temporal lobes Regions of the cerebral cortex—below the parietal lobes and in front of the occipital lobes—important for processing auditory information, for memory, and for object and face perception.
frontal lobes Regions of the cerebral cortex—at the front of the brain—important for movement and higher-level psychological processes associated with the prefrontal cortex.
prefrontal cortex The frontmost portion of the frontal lobes, especially prominent in humans; important for attention, working memory, decision making, appropriate social behavior, and personality.
split brain  A condition that occurs when the corpus callosum is surgically cut and the two hemispheres of the brain do not receive information directly from each other.
somatic nervous system (SNS) A component of the peripheral nervous system; it transmits sensory signals and motor signals between the central nervous system and the skin, muscles, and joints.
autonomic nervous system (ANS ) A component of the peripheral nervous system; it transmits sensory signals and motor signals between the central nervous system and the body’s glands and internal organs.
sympathetic division A division of the autonomic nervous system; it prepares the body for action.
parasympathetic division A division of the autonomic nervous system; it returns the body to its resting state.
endocrine system A communication system that uses hormones to influence thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
hormones Chemical substances, released from endocrine glands, that travel through the bloodstream to targeted tissues; the tissues are subsequently influenced by the hormones.
gonads The main endocrine glands involved in sexual behavior: in males, the testes; in females, the ovaries.
pituitary gland A gland located at the base of the hypothalamus; it sends hormonal signals to other endocrine glands, controlling their release of hormones.
plasticity A property of the brain that allows it to change as a result of experience or injury.
gene expression  Whether a particular gene is turned on or off.
chromosomes Structures within the cell body that are made up of DNA, segments of which comprise individual genes.
genes  The units of heredity that help determine the characteristics of an organism.
dominant gene A gene that is expressed in the offspring whenever it is present.
recessive gene  A gene that is expressed only when it is matched with a similar gene from the other parent.
genotype The genetic constitution of an organism, determined at the moment of conception.
phenotype  Observable physical characteristics, which result from both genetic and environmental influences.
monozygotic twins  Also called identical twins; twin siblings that result from one zygote splitting in two and therefore share the same genes.
dizygotic twins Also called fraternal twins; twin siblings that result from two separately fertilized eggs and therefore are no more similar genetically than nontwin siblings.
heritability A statistical estimate of the extent to which variation in a trait within a population is due to genetics.
Created by: Haleyannestes