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AP Psych Ch2 vocab part 1


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A nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
Action Potential
A neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon. The action potential is generated by movement of positively charged atoms in and out of channels in the axon's membrane.
The level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.
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 synatic gap or cleft.
Checmical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between neurons.
A neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contradiction.
Morphine within- natural opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and pleasure.
Nervous System
The body's speedy electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous system.
Central Nervous System
The brain and spinal chord.
Peripheral Nervous System
The sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body.
Neural cables containing many axons. these bundles of axons which are part of the peripheral nervous system connect the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs.
Sensory neurons
Neurons that carry incoming information from the sense receptors to the central nervous system.
Central neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs.
Motor Neurons
Neurons that carry outgoing information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands.
Somatic Nervous System
The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles.
Autonomic Nervous System
The part to the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of it s internal organs (such as the heart). It's sympathetic division arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
The division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy.
A simple, automatic inborn response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response.
Neural Networks
Interconnected neural cells with experiece, networks can learn, as feedback strenghtens or inhibits connections that produce certain results. Computer simulations of neural networks show analogous learning.
Tissue destruction. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of the brain tissue.
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
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 a cat scan.
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.
PET Scan
A visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.
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.

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