Psychology from Inquiry to Understanding – Chapter 3 Terms

Nerve cell specialized for communication
Portion of neuron that receives signals
Portion of neuron that sends signals
synaptic vesicle
Spherical sac containing neurotransmitters
Chemical messenger specialized for communication from neuron to neuron
Space between two connecting neurons through which messages are transmitted chemically
synaptic cleft
A gap into which neurotransmitters are released from the axon terminal
glial cell
Cell in the nervous system that plays a role in the formation of myelin and the blood-brain barrier, responds to injury, removes debris, and enhances learning and memory
myelin sheath
Glial cells wrapped around axons that act as insulators of the neuron’s signal
resting potential
Electrical charge difference (-60 millivolts) across the neuronal membrane, when the neuron is not being stimulated or inhibited
membrane potential necessary to trigger action potential
action potential
electrical impulse that travels down the axon, triggering the release of neurotransmitters; positive particles rapidly flow into the axon until a maximal level is reached
absolute refractory period
time during which another action potential is impossible; limits maximal firing rate
graded potential
postsynaptic potentials that can be excitatory or inhibitory depending on whether positively or negatively charged particles flow across the neuronal membrane and in which direction they flow
excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP)
graded potential in a dendrite that is caused by excitatory synaptic transmission; positive ions allowed in which depolarizes the neuron
inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP)
graded potential that is caused by inhibitory synaptic transmission; negative ions move in which hyperpolarizes the neuron
receptor site
location that uniquely recognizes a neurotransmitter
means of recycling neurotransmitters; process by which the synaptic vesicle reabsorbs the neurotransmitter
chemical in the brain that plays a specialized role in pain reduction
ability of the nervous system to change
stem cell
a cell, often originating in embryos, having the capacity to differentiate into a more specialized cell
creation of new neurons in the adult brain
central nervous system
part of the nervous system containing the brain and spinal cord that controls the mind and behaviour
peripheral nervous system
nerves in the body that extend outside the central nervous system
cerebral ventricles
pockets in the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which provides the brain with nutrients and cushions against injury
forward part of the brain that allows advanced intellectual abilities; aka cerebrum
frontal lobe
forward part of the cerebral cortex responsible for motor function, language, memory and planning
motor cortex
part of the frontal lobe responsible for body movement
prefrontal cortex
part of the frontal lobe responsible for thinking, planning and language
Broca’s area
language area in the prefrontal cortex that helps to control speech production
parietal lobe
upper middle part of the cerebral cortex lying behind the frontal lobe that is specialized for touch and perception
temporal lobe
lower part of the cerebral cortex that plays roles in hearing, understanding language, and memory
Wernicke’s area
part of the temporal lobe involved in understanding speech
occipital lobe
back part of the cerebral cortex specialized for vision
primary sensory cortex
regions of the cerebral cortex that initially process information from the senses
association cortex
regions of the cerebral cortex that integrate simpler functions to perform more complex functions
basal ganglia
structures in the forebrain that help to control movement
limbic system
emotional centre of the brain that also plays roles in smell, motivation and memory
gateway from the sense organs to the primary sensory cortex
part of the brain responsible for maintaining a constant internal state
part of the limbic system that plays key roles in fear, excitement and arousal
part of the brain that plays a role in spatial memory
brain stem
part of the brain between the spinal cord and the cerebral cortex that contains the midbrain, pons, and medulla
part of the brain stem that contributes to movement, tracking of visual stimuli, and reflexes triggered by sound
reticular activating system
brain area that plays a key role in arousal
region below the midbrain that contains the cerebellum, pons, and medulla
brain structure responsible for our sense of balance
part of the brain stem that connects the cortex with the cerebellum
part of the brain stem involved in basic functions such as heartbeat and breathing
spinal cord
thick bundle of nerves that conveys signals between the brain and the body
neuron that sends messages to other neurons nearby
automatic motor response to a sensory stimulus
somatic nervous system
part of the nervous system that conveys information between the CNS and the body, controlling and coordinating voluntary movement
autonomic nervous system
part of the nervous system controlling involuntary actions of our internal organs and glands; along with the limbic system, it participates in emotion regulation
sympathetic nervous system
division of the autonomic NS engaged during a crisis or after actions requiring fight or flight
parasympathetic nervous system
division of autonomic nervous system that controls rest and digestion
endocrine system
system of glands and hormones that controls secretion of blood-borne chemical messengers
chemical released into the bloodstream that influences particular organs and glands
pituitary gland
master gland that, under the control of the hypothalamus, directs the other glands of the body
adrenal gland
tissue located on top of the kidneys that releases adrenalin and cortisol during states of emotional arousal
cognitive function that relies more on one side of the brain than the other
cerebral hemispheres
two halves of the cerebral cortex, each of which serves distinct yet highly integrated functions
corpus callosum
large band of fibres connecting the two cerebral hemispheres
cerebral cortex
outermost part of forebrain, responsible for analyzing sensory processing and higher brain functions