AP Psychology - Unit 2

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DNA

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146 Terms

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DNA

a long, complex molecule that encodes genetic characteristics

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gene

segment of a chromosome that encodes the directions for the inherited physical and mental characteristics of an organism; the functional units of chromosomes

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neuron

cell specialized to receive and transmit information to other cells in the body; also called nerve cell

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nerves

bundles of many neurons

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sensory neuron

nerve cell that carries messages from sense receptors toward the central nervous system; also called an afferent neuron

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motor neuron

nerve cell that carries messages away from the central nervous system toward the muscles and glands; also called an efferent neuron

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interneuron

a nerve cell that relays messages between nerve cells, especially in the brain and the spinal cord

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dendrite

a branched fiber that extends outward from the main cell body and carries information into the neuron

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soma

the part of a cell (such as a neuron) containing the nucleus, which includes the chromosomes; also called the cell body

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axon

in a nerve cell, an extended fiber that conducts information from the soma to the terminal buttons; information travels along the axon in the form of an electric charge called the action potential

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resting potential

the electrical charge of the action in its inactive state, when the neuron is ready to "fire"

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action potential

the nerve impulse caused by a change in the electrical charge across the cell membrane of the axon; when the neuron "fires," this charge travels down the axon and causes neurotransmitters to be released by the terminal buttons

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all-or-none principle

refers to the fact that all the action potential in the axon occurs either full-blown or not at all

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synapse

the microscopic gap that serves as a communications link between neurons; also occur between neurons and the muscles or glands they serve

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terminal buttons

tiny bulb-like structures at the end of the axon, which contain neurotransmitters that carry the neuron's message into the synapse

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synaptic transmission

the relaying of information across the synapse by means of chemical neurotransmitters

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dopamine

produces sensations of pleasure and reward; used by CNS neurons in voluntary movement; problems can cause schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease

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serotonin

regulates sleep and dreaming, mood, pain, aggression, appetite, and sexual behavior; problems can cause depression, certain anxiety disorders, and OCD

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norepinephrine

controls heart rate, sleep, sexual responsiveness, stress, vigilance and appetite; problems can cause high blood pressure and depression

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acetylcholine

primary transmitter used by neurons carrying messages from CNS; involved in some kinds of learning and memory; problems can cause certain muscular disorders, and Alzheimer's disease

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GABA

most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in neurons of CNS; problems can cause anxiety and epilepsy

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glutamate

primary excitatory neurotransmitter in CNS; involved in learning and memory; problems can cause brain damage after stroke

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endorphins

control pleasurable sensations and control of pain; lowered levels resulting from opiate addiction

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hindbrain

oldest part of the brain; responsible for basic life functions, including breathing, respiration, and sleeping

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midbrain

second oldest brain structure; includes the reticular activating system/RAS and several neural centers that act as lower-level control centers for some limited motor, auditory, and visual functions

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forebrain

newest part of brain; contains cerebral cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, and hippothalamus

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medulla

portion of brain stem associated with basic life functions, such as heartbeat and respiration

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pons

portion for brain stem that is involved in coordinating muscular action and facial expression

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cerebellum

portion of hindbrain that helps to control posture, balance, and muscle coordination

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limbic system

group of brain structures involved with emotions, the autonomic nervous system, and olfactory processing

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thalamus

portion of brain whose primary function is to relay information from sensory systems to the cerebral cortex

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hippothalamus

region of hindbrain involved in regulating hunger, thirst, sex drive, body temperature, and more; secretes hormone that triggers pituitary gland

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hippocampus

part of limbic system involved in long-term memory

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amygdala

portion of limbic system linked to emotions and forming long-term memories

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cerebral cortex

outer layer of nerve cells covering cerebrum that is responsible for most higher cognitive function

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corpus callosum

bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain

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central fissure

long, deep groove on the lateral surface of the cerebral cortex

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threshold

the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

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reuptake

a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron

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somatic nervous system

the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body's skeletal muscles

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autonomic nervous system

the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs

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sympathetic nervous system

division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations

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parasympathetic nervous system

division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy

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reflex

a simple, automatic response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response

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nervous system

the body's speedy electrochemical communication network consisting of all the nerves of the peripheral and central nervous systems

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central nervous system

the brain and the spinal cord

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peripheral nervous system

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

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lateral fissure

fissure that separates the different lobes of the cerebrum

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EEG

record the brain-wave pattern of electrical activity in different parts of the brain; can detect the activity of a single neuron

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CAT

a series of x-rays that, when combined, show a composite representation of horizontal slices of the brain

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MRI

displays high-resolution pictures of structures and different types of soft tissues deep inside the brain

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PET

provides color coded map of areas showing high activity in the brain

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pituitary gland

gland located at the base of the brain producing hormones that control other glands and affect metabolism, bone growth, and sexual maturity

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thyroid

an endocrine gland located in the necks of people and other vertebrates that secretes the hormones that control metabolism and growth

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pancreas

a gland situated near the stomach that secretes a digestive fluid into the intestine and produces the hormone insulin

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adrenal glands

small glands that produce steroid hormones, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other important bodily functions; there are two, one located on top of each kidney

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epinephrine

a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla that is stimulated by the CNS in response to stress or fear; increases heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and carbohydrate metabolism

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norepinephrine

hormone secreted by the adrenaline gland that increases blood pressure and rate and the depth of breathing, raises the level of blood sugar, and decreases activity in the intestines; main neurotransmitter of sympathetic nerve endings supplying the major organs and skin

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thymus

an organ, located at the base of the neck, that is involved in the development of cells of the immune system, particularly T cells

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gonads

sex organs in a male or female animal that make the cells needed to produce babies

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ovaries

pair of organs in a female's body that produce eggs

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testes

pair of male reproductive glands that produce sperm and are contained in the scrotum in most mammals

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chromosomes

structures made of DNA that contain genes; located in cell nucleus; humans normally have 23 pairs, or 46 total

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temperament

a person's characteristic emotional reactivity and intensity

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behavior genetics

the study of the relative power and limits of genetic and environmental influences on behavior

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genome

the complete instructions for making an organism consisting of all the genetic material in that organism's chromosomes

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heretability

the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes; may vary on particular traits, depending on the range of populations/environments studied

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interaction

the interplay that occurs when the effect of one factor (such as environment) depends on another factor (such as heredity)

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molecular genetics

the subfield of biology that studies the molecular structure and function of genes

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mutation

a random error in gene replication that leads to a change

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individualism

giving priority to one's own goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications

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collectivism

giving priority to goals of one's group (often one's extended family or work group) and defining one's identity accordingly

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absolute threshold

the lowest amount of stimulation needed to detect a particular stimulus 50 percent of the time

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accommodation

the process in which the lens of the eye changes shape in response to external conditions so that an object remains in focus

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adaptation

the process by which the eye adjusts to varying levels of light or color

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amplitude

the height of the sound waves developed by an auditory stimulus

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binocular cues

a visual depth cue that requires the use of both eyes

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blind spot

an area or direction in which a person's vision is obscured because no receptor cells are located there

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cochlea

the snail shaped, fluid filled organ in the inner ear that contains the basilar membrane

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conduction deafness

hearing loss related to problems with the ossicles, the bones of the inner ear

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cones

receptors in the retina that allow us to see color, but do not function as well in low light conditions

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confabulation

an imagined but plausible memory that fills in the gaps of what a person actually remembers

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convergence

a binocular cue that perceives depth; the eyes converge inwards when looking at an object

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cornea

the clear part of the eye that lies in front of the retina and is part of the eye's protective covering

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depth perception

the ability to visually perceive the world and understand spacial relationships in order to gauge the distance between objects

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eardrum

another term for the tympanic membrane

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feature detection cells

cells in the cortex of the brain that respond to different characteristics of a visual stimulus

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feature detection theory

an explanation for pattern recognition; the theory that we process images in terms of their constituent parts and then match the features of a pattern to those features stored in memory

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figure and ground

an aspect of perception where the perceived is separated into at least two parts, with different attributes, but influencing one another

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fovea

a depression near the center of the retina that is densely packed with cones; vision is most accurate here

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gate control theory

theory of pain perception that there is a spinal "gate" that can be closed by the brain; closed gate would prevent brain from feeling bodily pain

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frequency theory

a theory that sound is heard when pulses travel up the auditory nerve and carry the information to the brain for processing, and that the rate of this pulse exactly matches the frequency of whatever tone is heard

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gustation

sense of taste

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induced motion

an optical illusion in which a stationary object appears to be moving in one direction because of the movement of objects on either side in the opposite direction

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iris

the colored portion of the eye that controls how much light enters through the pupil

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kinesthetics

the sense of body position; also known as proprioception

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law of effect

proposed by Edward Thorndike; states that a behavior is more likely to be repeated if it maximizes pleasure and/or minimizes pain

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lens

the portion of the eye that changes shape to focus the visual image on the retina

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light adaptation

the changes that occur in the eye to permit vision when moving from darkness to light

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monocular cue

a visual depth cue that makes use of only one eye

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