Unit 4: Biological Bases of Behavior

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Central Nervous System (CNS)


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72 Terms

Central Nervous System (CNS)

brain and spinal cord

Peripheral Nervous System

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body

Autonomic Nervous System

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (consists of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system)

sympathetic nervous system

fight or flight (arouses)

parasympathetic nervous system

rest and digest (calms)

endocrine system

the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream

pituitary gland

Under the influence of the hypothalamus, it regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands (master gland)

adrenal gland

Just above the kidneys and secretes hormones that help arouse the body in times of stress (adrenaline)


chemical messengers made by endocrine glands


brain hemispheres are functionally different

corpus callosum

neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and allowing communication between them

split brain

a condition resulting from surgery that isolates the brain's two hemispheres by cutting the corpus callosum

brain plasticity

the brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing or building new pathways


nerve cell


knowt flashcard image


neurotransmitters that didn't bind to receptor sites are taken back into the synaptic vesicles


chemicals that transmit information from one neuron to another

acetylcholine (ACh)

neurotransmitter involved in learning, memory and muscle movement (linked the Alzheimer’s)


neurotransmitter that affects hunger, sleep, arousal, and mood


neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention and learning and the brain's pleasure and reward system (linked to Parkinson’s, too little dopamine vs and schizophrenia, too much dopamine)


natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure

resting potential

the state of the neuron when not firing a neural impulse

action potential

a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon

all-or-nothing principle

Once action potential reaches threshold, either fires or doesn't

refractory period

a period of inactivity after a neuron has fired

stimulant drugs

drugs that stimulate or excite the central nervous system (ex. caffeine, cocaine)

depressant drugs

drugs that tend to slow down the central nervous system (ex. alcohol, Xanax)


distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input (ex. LSD, cannabis)


depress neural activity, temporarily lessening pain and anxiety (ex. heroin)

circadian rhythm

the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24-hour cycle (ex. wakefulness, body temp)

agonist drug

mimics and enhances a neurotransmitter's effect

antagonist drug

binds to a receptor and blocks a neurotransmitter's effect

dendrites, cell body, axon, axon terminals/terminal buttons (contains neurotransmitters)

parts of a neuron

<p>parts of a neuron</p>

afferent neurons

sensory neurons ("as")

efferent neurons

motor neurons ("em")

left hemisphere

controls the right side of the body; analytical, language, math

right hemisphere

controls the left side of the body; creative, intuitive, spacial

effect of split brain

able to say the word on right side of the dot but only able to draw the word on the left side of the dot

<p>able to say the word on right side of the dot but only able to draw the word on the left side of the dot</p>

parallel processing

process many aspects simultaneously, used to process well-learned info and solve familiar problems


falling asleep, brain still active but everything is slowing down, high amplitude theta wave


light sleep, less aware of surroundings, sleep spindles, eye movements stop, body temp drops


deep sleep, muscles completely relaxed, brain consolidates memories, delta waves


rapid eye movement, vivid dreams occur, brain consolidates emotional memories, brain activity similar to when awake but body paralyzed


inhibitory neurotransmitter that blocks signals going through neurons, good for calming stress and anxiety


excitatory neurotransmitter important in controlling alertness, wakefulness, mood, and attention


part of brain stem that is the sensory switchboard, directs all sensory messages except smell


part of brain stem that controls heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing

reticular formation

part of brainstem that controls alertness

limbic system

system that consists of hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala (associated with emotional drives, memory formation, sexual drive, etc.)