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Unit #3A -Vocabulary

Terms and Concepts to Remember

Neuron A nerve cell,the basic building block of the nervous system
Biological Psychology A branch of psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior.
Sensory Neurons Neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord.
Motor Neurons Neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands.
Interneurons Neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs.
Dendrite The bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body.
Axon 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 impulse hops from one not to the next.
Action Potential A neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon.
Threshold The level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.
Synapse 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 synaptic cleft.
Neurotransmitters Chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, they travel across the synapse and bind to the receptor sites on the receiving neuron,influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse.
Reuptake A neurotransmitter's reabsorbtion by the sending neuron.
Endorphins "Morphine within"-natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked t main control and to pleasure.
Nervous System The body's speedy, electrochemical communication network, 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 system to the rest of the body.
Nerves Bundled axons that form neural "cables" connecting the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs.
Somatic Nervous System The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the gland and the muscles of the internal organs. Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic divisions calms.
Sympathetic Nervous System The division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.
Endocrine System The body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream.
Hormones Chemical messengers that are manufactured by the endocrine glands, travel through the bloodstream, and affect other tissues.
Adrenal Glands A pair of endocrine glands that sit just about the kidneys and secrete hormones that help arouse the body in times of stress.
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