AP Psychology Unit 2

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Neuron

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122 Terms

1

Neuron

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

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cell body

the part of a neuron that contains the nucleus; the cell's life-support center

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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 layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the impulse hops from one node to the next.

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glial cells

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

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action potential

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

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threshold

the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse

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refractory period

(1) a period of inactivity after a neuron has fired.;subsequent action potentials cannot happen until the axon returns to its resting state (2) a resting period after orgasm, during which a man cannot achieve another.

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10

all-or-none response

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

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11

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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12

neurotransmitters

chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons

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13

reuptake

a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron

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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 increases a neurotransmitter's action

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antagonist

a molecule that inhibits or blocks a neurotransmitter's action

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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

the brain + 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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21

sensory (afferent) neurons

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

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22

motor (efferent) neurons

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

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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. (AKA Skeletal Nervous System)

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autonomic nervous system (ANS)

a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal.

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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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29

endocrine system

a network of glands across the body that secrete chemical messages called hormones.

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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. A brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue

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34

EEG (electroencephalogram)

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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MEG (magnetoencephalography

a brain imaging technique that measures magnetic fields from the brain's natural electrical activity

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CT (computed tomography) scan

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 CAT scan.

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PET (positron emission tomography) 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 (magnetic resonance imaging)

a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images of soft tissue. MRI scans show brain anatomy.

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fMRI (functional MRI)

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

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40

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 switchboard, 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

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reticular formation

a nerve network in the brainstem that 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 and coordinating movement output and balance

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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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Hippocampus

A neural center located in the limbic system; helps process for storage explicit (conscious) memories of facts and events.

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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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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

an 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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neurogensesis

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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61

consciousness

our subjective awareness of ourselves and our environment

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62

cognitive neuroscience

the interdisciplinary study of the brain activity linked with cognition (including perception, thinking, memory, and language)

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dual processing

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

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blindsight

a condition in which a person can respond to a visual stimulus without consciously experiencing it

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parallel processing

The processing of several aspects of a problem simultaneously; the brain's natural mode of information processing for many functions.

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sequential processing

processing one aspect of a problem at a time; generally used to process new information or to solve difficult problems

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67

behavior genetics

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

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heredity

the genetic transfer of characteristics from parents to offspring

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environment

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

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70

chromosomes

threadlike structures made of DNA molecules that contain the genes

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71

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

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 (monozygotic) twins

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

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fraternal (dizygotic) twins

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

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heritability

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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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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78

molecular genetics

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

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molecular behavior genetics

the study of how the structure and function of genes interact with our environment to influence behavior

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epigenetics

"above" or "in addition to" (epi) genetics; the study of environmental influences on gene expression that occur without a DNA change

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81

evolutionary psychology

the study of the evolution of behavior and the mind, using principles of natural selection

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natural selection

the principle that inherited traits that better enable an organism to survive and reproduce in a particular environment will (in competition with other trait variations) most likely be passed on to succeeding generations

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mutation

a random error in gene replication that leads to a change

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84

social script

a culturally modeled guide for how to act in various situations

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85

Methamphetamine

a powerfully addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system, with speeded-up body functions and associated energy and mood changes; over time, appears to reduce baseline dopamine levels

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86

Ecstasy (MDMA)

a synthetic stimulant and mild hallucinogen. Produces euphoria and social intimacy, but with short-term health risks and longer-term harm to serotonin-producing neurons and to mood and cognition.

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87

Hallucinogens

psychedelic ("mind-manifesting") drugs, such as LSD, that distort perceptions and evoke sensory images in the absence of sensory input

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88

near-death experience

an altered state of consciousness reported after a close brush with death (such as through cardiac arrest); often similar to drug-induced hallucinations

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LSD

a powerful hallucinogenic drug; also known as acid (lysergic acid diethylamide)

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THC

the major active ingredient in marijuana; triggers a variety of effects, including mild hallucinations

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91

hypnosis

a social interaction in which one person suggests to another that certain perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur

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posthypnotic suggestion

a suggestion, made during a hypnosis session, to be carried out after the subject is no longer hypnotized; used by some clinicians to help control undesired symptoms and behaviors

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dissociation

a split in consciousness, which allows some thoughts and behaviors to occur simultaneously with others

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sleep

a periodic, natural loss of consciousness--as distinct from unconsciousness resulting from a coma, general anesthesia, or hibernation

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circadian rhythm

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

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96

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 (except for minor twitches) 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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NREM Sleep

non-rapid eye movement sleep; encompasses all sleep stages except for REM sleep

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hallucinations

false sensory experiences, such as seeing something in the absence of an external visual stimulus

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hypnagogic sensations

bizarre experiences, such as jerking or a feeling of falling or floating weightlessly, while transitioning to sleep

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