Glossary of Ciccarelli's Psychology Chapter 2

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What is a neuron?
nerve cell
Parts of the neuron:
Dendrites, axon, axon terminals, soma, Myelin sheath, synaptic knobs,
branchlike structures that receive messages from other neurons
the cell body of the neuron responsible for maintaining the life of the cell
tube-like structure that carries the neural message to other cells
glial cells
grey fatty cells that provide support for the neurons to grow on and around, deliver nutrients etc.
fatty substances produced by certain glial cells that coat the axons of neurons to insulate, protect, and speed up the neural impulse.
axon terminals
branches at the end of the axon
synaptic knob
rounded areas on the end of the axon terminals
synaptic vessels
saclike structures found inside the synaptic knob containing chemicals
chemical found in the synaptic vesicles that, when released, has an effect on the next cell
synapse(synaptic gap)
microscopic fluid-filled space between the synaptic knob of one call and the dendrites of surface of the next cell
receptor sites
holes in the surface of the dendrites or certain cells of the muscles and glands, which are shaped to fit only certain neurotransmitters
excitatory neurotransmitter
Turns cells on - neurotransmitter that causes the receiving cell to fire
inhibitory neurotransmitter
turns cells off - neurotransmitter that causes the receiving cell to stop firing
chemical substances that mimic or enhance the effects of a neurotransmitter on the receptor sites of the next cell, increasing or decreasing the activity of that cell
chemical substances that block or reduce a cell’s response to the action of other chemicals or neurotransmitters.
resting potential
the state of the neuron when not firing a neural impulse
action potential
the release of the neural impsulse consisting of a reversal of the electrical charge within the axon
amino acids, manoamine, acetylcholine, neuropeptide
the major classes of neurotransmitters
stimulates the muscles to contract/also involved with memory
GABA-gamma aminobutyric acid(type of amino acid)
(the traffic cop)the most common inhibitory neurotransmitter; reduces overall arousal and tempers ones emotions
seratonin(type of manoamine)
regulates people's moods/anxiety
dopamine(type of manoamine)
causes ordinary pleasures(joy)
affects emotions
epinephrine(type of manoamine)
norepinepherine(type of manoamine)
makes one more alert during "fight-flight" mode
process by which neurotransmitters are taken back into the synaptic vesicles
what is the central nervous system?
composed of brain and spinal cord.
sensory neurons(afferent)

carry message FROM senses TO the spinal cord
motor neurons(efferent)

carry message FROM the spinal cord TO muscles and glands

connect the sensory neurons to the motor neurons(and make up the spinal cord and the brain itself)
stem cells
cells that can make any other cell -

special cells found in all the tissues of the body that are capable of manufacturing other cell types when those cells need to be replaced due to damage or wear and tear.
peripheral nervous system
all the nerves and neurons that are not contained in the brain and spinal cord.
somatic nervous system(cns)
system consisting of the brain and spinal cord
mchine designed to record the brain wave patterns produced by electrical activity of the surface of the brain
deep lesioning
interstion of a thin, insulated wire into the brain through which an electrical current is sent that destroys the brain cells at the tip of the wire
EEGs, CT scans, MRIs and PET scans.
methods of studying the brain
responsible for life-sustaining functions such as breathing and heart rate.
connects top of brain to bottom... just above the medulla. plays a part in sleep, dreaming, left-right body coordination and arousal

directly above medulla
reticular formation(RF)
an area of neurons running through the middle of the medulla and the pons and slightly beyond that is responsible for selective attention
part of the lower brain located behind the pons that controls and coordinates involuntary, rapid, fine motor movement
thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, & amygdala
main 4 parts of the limbic system
relay station for sensory information from the lower part of the brain to the proper areas of the cortex
just below and in front of thalamus. regulates body temp, thirst, hunger, sleeping and waking, sex and emotions. right below is the pituitary gland.
curved structure in each temporal lobe, responsible for the formation of long-term memories and the storage of memory for location of objects.
brain structure located near the hippocampus, responsible for fear responses and memory of fear.
brain cortex
outermost covering of the brain consisting of densely packed neurons, responsible for higher thought processes and interpretation of sensory input.

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