Psychology Terms Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

Chapter Three Vocabulary
1. Biopsychology – The specialty in psychology that studies the interaction of biology, behavior, and mental processes.

2. Neuroscience – A relatively new interdisciplinary field that focuses on the brain and its role in psychological processes.

3. Evolution – The grateful process of biological change that occurs in a species as it adapts to its environment.

4. Natural Selection – The driving force behind evolution, by which the environment “selects” the fittest organisms.

5. Genotype – An organism’s genetic makeup.

6. Phenotype – An organism’s observable physical characteristics.

7. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – A long, complex molecule that ...view middle of the document...

17. 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.

18. Resting Potential – The electrical charge of the axon in its inactive state, when the neuron is ready to “fire.”

19. 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.

20. All-or-None Principle – Refers to the fact that the action potential in the axon occurs either full-blown or not at all.

21. Synapse – The microscopic gap that serves as a communications link between neurons. Synapses also occur between neurons and the muscles or glands they serve.

22. Terminal Buttons – Tiny bublike structures at the end of the axon, which contain neurotransmitters that carry the neuron’s message into the synapse.

23. Synaptic Transmission – The relaying of information across the synapse by means of chemical neurotransmitters.

24. Synaptic Vesicle – A small “container” holding neurotransmitter molecules that then connects to the presynaptic membrane, releasing the neurotransmitter into the synapse.

25. Neurotransmitters – Chemical messengers that relay neural messages across the synapse. Many neurotransmitters are also hormones.

26. Plasticity – The nervous system’s ability to adapt or change as the result of experience. Plasticity may also help the nervous system adapt to physical damage.

27. Gilal Cells – Cells that bind the neurons together. Gilal cells also provide an insulating covering (the myelin sheath) of the axon for some neurons, which facilities the electrical impulse.

28. Nervous System – The entire network of neurons in the body, including the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and their subdivisions.

29. Central Nervous System – The brain and the spinal cord.

30. Reflex – A simple, unlearned response triggered by stimuli – such as the knee-jerk reflex set off by tapping the tendon just below your kneecap.

31. Peripheral Nervous System – All parts of the nervous system lying outside the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system includes the autonomic and somatic nervous system.

32. Somatic Nervous System – A division of the peripheral nervous system that carries sensory information to the central nervous system and also sends voluntary messages to the body’s skeletal muscles.

33. Autonomic Nervous System – The portion of the peripheral nervous system that sends communications between the central nervous system and the internal organs and glands.

34. Sympathetic Division – The past of the autonomic nervous system that sends messages to internal organs and glands that help us respond to stressful and emergency situations.

35. Parasympathetic Division – The...

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