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AP Psychology- Chapter 2 Terms


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Biological Psychology
A branch of Psychology concerned with the links between biology and behavior
A nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system
The bushy, branching extenstions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body
The extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers, through which messages are sent to other neurons or to muscles or glands
Myelin sheath
A layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; makes possible vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses
Action potential
A neural impulse; a breif electrical charge that travels down an axon. The action potential is generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and our 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 "synaptic gap" or "cleft"
Chemical messengers that transverse the synaptic gap between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to the receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether it will generate a neural impulse
A neurotransmitter that, among its functions, triggers muscle contraction
The "morphine within"- natural opiate;ole neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure
Nervous system
The body's speedy, electrochemical communication system, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and sentral 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 (CNS) to the rest of the body
Neural "cables" containing many axons, which are part of the peripheral nervous system, connect the cemtral nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs
Sensory neurons
Neurons that carry incoming information for the sensed receptors to the CNS
CNS neurons that internally communicate and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs
Motor neurons
The neurons that carry outgoing information from the CNS to the muscles and glands
Skeletal nervous system
The division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles
Autonomic nervous system
The part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs. Its sympathetic division arouses;its parasympathetic division calms
Sympathetic nervous system
The division of the autonomic nervous system that 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
The oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; it is responsible for automatic survival functions
The base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing
Reticular formation
A nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal
The brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainste,; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla
A neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activites (eating drinking body temp), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion
Cerebral cortex
The inricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center
Glial cells
Non-neural nervous system cells that support, nourish, and protect neurons
Frontal lobes
The portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgments
Parietal lobes
The portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; includes the sensory cortex
Occipital lobes
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
Temporal lobes
The portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each of which receives auditory information primarily from the opposite ear
Motor cortex
An area that is located at the rear of the fronatal lobes and that controls voluntary movements
Sensory cortex
The area that is located at the front of the parietal lobes and that registers and processes body sensations
Association areas
Areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in high mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking
Impairment of language, usually caused by left hempisphere damage either to Broca's area (impairing speaking) or Wernicke's area (impairing understanding)
Broca's area
An area of the frontal lobe, in the left hempisphere for most people that directs the muscle movements involved in speech
Wernicke's area
An area of the left temporal lobe involved in language comprehension
The brain's capacity for modification, as evident in reorganization following damage (especially in children) and in experiments on the effects of experiance on brain development
Corpus callosum
The large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hempispheres and carrying the messages between them
A condition in which the two hempispheres of the brain are isolated by cutting the connecting fibers between them
Endocrine system
The body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete horomones into the bloodstream
Chemical messangers, 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 horomones epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) which help to arrouse the body in times of stress
Pituitary gland
The endocrine's system most influential gland. Under the influenceof the hyupothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands
threadlike structures made from DNA molecules that contains the genes
A complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes
The biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes
Evolutionary psychology
The study of the evolution of behavior using the principles of natural selection, which presumably favor behavioral tendencies that contribute to the preservations and spread of one's genes
Behavior genetics
The study of the power and limits of genetic and enviornmental influences on behavior
Identical twins
Twins who develop from and single zygote that splits into two creating to genetic replicas
Fraternal twins
Twins who develop from seperate zygotes. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share the same fetal enviornment
The proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes

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