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Glossary of AP Psychology Definitions

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Dendrites
*Recieve Information
*Branching, bushy fibers
Axon
*Fibers that pass on information along to other neurons or to muscle glands
*Surrounded by Myelin sheath which helps insulate and speed up reactions
Action Potential
*Impulse
*Brief electrical charge that travels down the axon, rather like a line of dominos falling, each on tripping the next.
Autonomic Nervous System
*The part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs.
*Sympathetic=arouses
*Parasympathetic=calms
Interneurons
*Central nervous system neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor inputs
Sensory Neurons
*Neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system
Nerves
*Neural cables containing many axons which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the CNS with the muscles, glands, and sense organ
Nervous System
*The body's speedy communication system consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and Central Nervous System
Central Nervous System
*CNS
*The brain and the spinal cord
*Connected to sense organ by nerves
Peripheral Nervous System
*The sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body
*Information recieved by Sensory Neurons
*Contain nerves
Endorphins
*"Morphine Within"
*Natural opiate like neurotransmitters linked up to pain control and to pleasure
*In response to pain and vigorous exercise.
Acetylcholine
*ACH
*Works on neurons involved in muscle action, learning, and memory
*Not enough =alzheimers
GABA
*Serves Inhibitory functions
*Implicated sometimes in eating and sleep disorders
*Produced in the Caudate Nucleus in the Forebrain
Dopamine
*Influences movement, learning, attention and emotion
*Excess=Schizophrenia
*Produced in Caudate Nucleus in the Forebrain
Serotonin
*Affects mood, hunger, sleep and arousal.
*Antidepressents raise serotonin
Norepinephrine
*Helps control alertness and arousal
Neurotransmitters
*Chemical Messengers that traverse the synaptic gap btwn neurons.
*Agonist=Attracts neurotransmitters
*Antagonist: Blocks/repels
*Travel across snyapse and bind to receptor sites influenceing whether or not it will generate an impulse
Somatic Nervous System
*The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletol muscles.
*Also called Skeletal Nervous System
Threshold
*Combination of excitatory(push) and inhibitory(stop) signals
*If exc minus inhib is more than the minimum exc=fire
*All or nothing
Motor Neurons
*The neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands
Synapse
*A gap less than a millionth of an inch wide of which the axon terminal is sperated from the recieving neuron
*Also called "cleft" or "synaptic gap"
Myelin Sheath
*A layer of fatty tissue that insulates the axons of some neurons and helps speed up the impulses
*Made up of glial cells
Neurons
*Nerve cells
*Building blocks
*Made up of axons and dendrites
*Send and recieve messages
Biological Psychology
*Studying the links btwn biological activity and psychological events, to get a better understanding of sleep and drams, depression and schizophrenia, hunger and sex, stress and disease.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
*The division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving it's energy
Neural Networks
*Interconnected neural cells.
*With experience, networks can learn, as feedback strengthens or inhibits connections that produce certain results.
*The more complicated the task, the more neuronetworks needed.
Sympathetic Nervous System
*The division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body mobilizing it's energy in stressful situations.
Reflexes
*A simple, automatic, inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee jerk response.
Lesion
*Tissue destruction.
*A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue.
*Used to study the brain
Electroencephalogram
*EEG
*An amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp
Computed Tomography Scan
*CT scan
*A series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body.
*Also called CAT scan
*Can reveal brain damagage
Positron Emission Tomography Scan
*PET scan
*A visual display of brain activity that detects where a a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task
*Which parts of the brain are most active during a certain activity.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
*MRI
*A technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain.
*Helps show when brains are working, when.
Brain Stem
*The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; the brainstem is responsible for automatic survival functions
*ie Heartbeat and Breathing.
Medulla
*The base of the brainstem.
*Controls heartbeat and breathing.
*Involuntary response, keeps us alive
*Connects spinal cord and brain
Reticular Information
*A nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.
*Relays important information to other parts of the brain
*Stretches from brainstem to thalamus.
*If damaged=unconsciousness to death
*Ascending=wake up
*Descending=sleep
Thalamus
*The brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory recieving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla
*Sends signals from body to brain
Cerebellum
*The "little brain"
*Attatched to the rear of the brainstem; it helps coordinate voluntary movement and balance
*Injury=can't do any movement with coordination (compromised writing)
Limbic System
*A doughnut shaped system of neural structures at the border of the brainstem and cerebral hemisphere.
*Associated with emotions such as fear and aggression and drives such as those for food and sex.
*Includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamusm and Cingulate Gyrus.
Amygdala
*Two almond shaped neural clusters that are components of the limbic system and are linked to emotion.
*Integrates coordinates and directs emotional activities.
*Affects memory by attatching emotional significants.
*High Activity=Offensive and Agressive behavior.
Hypothalamus
*A neural structure lying below the thalamus
*Directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking...)
*Helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion
*Releases chemicals to pituitary gland
Cerebral Cortex
*The intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres.
*The body's ultimate control and information processing center.
*80% of brain's weight
*Higher and broader range of functioning
Glial Cells
*Cells in the nervous system that are not neurons but that support, nourish, and protect neurons.
*Make up the myelin sheath on axons
*Repair and rebuild
Frontal Lobe
* The portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead.
*Involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgements.
*Contains Broca's Area (L.F.L)
*Reasoning, motor cortex
Parietal Lobe
*The portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear.
*Includes sensory cortex
*Sumato sensory, facial recognition, spacial orginization
*Damage=Apraxia: don't understand what your doing.
Occipital Lobe
*The portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head
*Includes the visual areas, which recieve visual information from the opposite visual field
*Perception, recognition and memory
Temporal Lobe
*The portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears
*Includes the auditory areas, each of which recieves auditory information primarily from the opposite ear
*Wernicke's Area. (L.H)
Motor Cortex
*An area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.
Sensory Cortex
* The area at the front of the parietal lobe that registers and process body sensations
Association Areas
*Areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions
*Involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking.
Aphasia
*Impariment of language, usually caused by left hemisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or to Wernicke's area (Impairing understand)
Broca's Area
* An area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.
*Damage= Aphasia: Impaired speaking, can understand but can't use it.
Wernicke's Area
* A brain area involved in language comprehension and expression, usually in the left temporal lobe
*Damage= can speak but can't understand
Plasticity
* The brain's capacity for modification
* As evident in brain reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experience on brain development
*Molding of the brain
Corpus Callosum
*The large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages btwn them.
*Transmition of information
*Right to left hem and vise versa
Split Brain
*A condition in which the two hemispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers (corpus callosum) between them
*Helps to relieve siezures
Endocrine System
*The body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream
Hormones
*Chemical Messengers.
*Mostly those manufactured by the endocrine glands, that are produced in one tissue and affect another
Adrenal Glands
* A pair of endocrine glands just above the kidneys.
*The adrenals secrete the hormones epinephrine (adrenaline), and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which help to arouse the body in times of stress
Pituitary Gland
*The endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.

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