AP Psychology Unit 2

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biological psychology

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108 Terms

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biological psychology

the scientific study of the links between biological and psychological processes

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neuron

a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system

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dendrites

a neuron's bushy, branching extensions that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body

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axon

the neuron extension that passes messages through its branches to other neurons or to muscles or glands

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myelin sheath

a fatty tissue layer segmentally encasing the axons of some neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed as neural impulses hop from one node to the next

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action potential

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

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refractory period

a period of inactivity after a neuron has fired

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threshold

the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

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all-or-none response

a neuron's reaction of either firing (with a full-strength response) or not firing.

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synapse

the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron

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synaptic gap

the tiny gap at the synapse

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neurotransmitters

chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons

When released by the sending neuron, they travel across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse.

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reuptake

a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron

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acetylcholine

A neurotransmitter that enables learning and memory and also triggers muscle contraction

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dopamine

A neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention and learning and the brain's pleasure and reward system.

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serotonin

A neurotransmitter that affects hunger,sleep, arousal, and mood.

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Norepinephrine

A neurotransmitter involved in arousal and alertness

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GABA

a major inhibitory neurotransmitter

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endorphins

"morphine within"—natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure.

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agonist

a molecule that, by binding to a receptor site, stimulates a response

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antagonist

a molecule that, by binding to a receptor site, inhibits or blocks a response

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nervous system

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

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central nervous system

brain and spinal cord

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peripheral nervous system

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system to the rest of the body

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nerves

bundled axons that form neural "cables" connecting the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense organs

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sensory neurons

neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord

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afferent neurons

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motor neurons

neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands

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efferent neurons

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interneurons

neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between the sensory inputs and motor outputs

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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 (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms.

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sympathetic nervous system

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

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parasympathetic nervous system

the 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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endocrine system

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

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hormones

chemical messengers that are manufactured by the endocrine glands, travel through the bloodstream, and affect other tissues

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adrenal glands

a pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that help arouse the body in times of stress.

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pituitary gland

The endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.

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lesion

tissue destruction

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electroencephalogram (EEG)

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.

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CT scan

a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice of the brain's structure

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PET scan

a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task

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MRI

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

shows brain anatomy

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fMRI

A technique for revealing blood flow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans.

shows brain function as well as its structure

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brainstem

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

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medulla

the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing

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thalamus

the brain's sensory control center, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory receiving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla

all senses except smell

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pons

A brain structure that relays information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain

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reticular formation

a nerve network that travels through the brainstem and thalamus and plays an important role in controlling arousal

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cerebellum

the "little brain" at the rear of the brainstem; functions include processing sensory input, coordinating movement output and balance, and enabling nonverbal learning and memory

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limbic system

neural system located below the cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions and drives

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amygdala

two lima bean-sized neural clusters in the limbic system; linked to emotion.

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hypothalamus

A neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion and reward.

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cerebral cortex

The intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells covering the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center.

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glial cells

cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons

may play a role in learning and thinking

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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

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parietal lobes

portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position

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occipital lobes

portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes areas that receive information from the visual fields

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temporal lobes

portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each receiving information primarily from the opposite ear

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motor cortex

an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements

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somatosensory cortex

area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations

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association areas

areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking

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plasticity

the brain's ability to change, especially during childhood, by reorganizing after damage or by building new pathways based on experience

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neurogenesis

the formation of new neurons

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corpus callosum

the large band of neural fibers connecting the two brain hemispheres and carrying messages between them

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split brain

a condition resulting from surgery that isolates the brain's two hemispheres by cutting the fibers (mainly those of the corpus callosum) connecting them

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consciousness

our awareness of ourselves and our environment

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dual processing

the principle that information is often simultaneously processed on separate conscious and unconscious tracks

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environment

every external influence, from prenatal nutrition to the people and things around us

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71

chromosomes

threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes

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DNA

A complex molecule containing the genetic information that makes up the chromosomes.

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genes

the biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes; a segment of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein

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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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identical twins

twins who develop from a single fertilized egg that splits in two, creating two genetically identical organisms

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fraternal twins

twins who develop from separate fertilized eggs. They are genetically no closer than brothers and sisters, but they share a fetal environment.

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heredity

the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes. The heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied

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epigenetics

the study of environmental influences on gene expression that occur without a DNA change

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circadian rhythm

the biological clock; regular bodily rhythms that occur on a 24-h

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80

REM sleep

rapid eye movement sleep

a recurring sleep stage during which vivid dreams commonly occur. Also known as paradoxical sleep because the muscles are relaxed but other body systems are active

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alpha waves

the relatively slow brain waves of a relaxed, awake state

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hallucination

false sen

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NREM sleep

non-rapid eye movement sleep

encompasses all sleep stages except for REM sleep

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85

suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)

a pair of cell clusters in the hypothalamus that controls circadian rhythm. In response to light, it causes the pineal gland to adjust melatonin production, thus modifying our feelings of sleepness

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insomnia

recurring problems in falling or staying asleep

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narcolepsy

a sleep disorder characterized by uncontrollable sleep attacks

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sleep apnea

a sleep disorder characterized by temporary cessations of breathing during sleep and repeated momentary awakenings

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night terrors

a sleep disorder characterized by high arousal and an appearance of being terrified

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manifest content

according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream

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latent content

according to Freud, the underlying meaning of a dream

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REM rebound

tendency for REM sleep to increase following REM sleep deprivation

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substance use disorder

continued substance craving and use despite significant life disruption and/or physical risk

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psychoactive drug

a chemical substance that alters perceptions and moods

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tolerance

the diminishing effect with regular use of the same dose of a drug, requiring the user to take larger and larger doses before experiencing the drug’s effect

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addiction

compulsive craving of drugs or certain behaviors despite known adverse consequences

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withdrawal

the discomfort and distress that follow discontinuing an addictive drug or behavior

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depressants

drugs such as alcohol, barbiturates, and opiates that reduce neural activity and slow body functions

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barbiturates

drugs that depress central nervous system activity, reducing anxiety but impairing memory and judgmento

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opiates

opium and its derivatives (morphine and heroin)

they depress neural activity temporarily lessening pain and anxiety

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