Psychology: Biological Approach Key Terms Revision

Edexcel AS Level Psychology: Biological approach revision fact-sheet of key terms including genes, central nervous system and PET/MRI scans. 

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PET Scans: Functional Central Nervous System: CNS
- Illustrate how the brain is working so doctors can see damaged areas. - The brain and spinal cord.
- Patients are injected with water or glucose containing a radioactive - Protected by cerebrospinal fluid, supplying nutrients and cushioning it from
tracer which travels around the body to the brain. Here, it decays, movements of the skull and spinal column.
giving off positrons which are then detected by a scanner as they - Sends high speed electrical signals to allow rapid interactions with the
collide with electrons and produce gamma rays. environment.
MRI Scans: Structural
- A scanner sends a strong magnetic field through a patient's head,
causing the nuclei in hydrogen molecules found in the brain to spin in a
particular way, which the scanner can then pick up.
- It is possible to create a detailed image because hydrogen
concentrations vary in different parts of the brain.
Hormones: Chemicals in the blood Chromosomes: Carry the genes Neurone: Nerve cell
- Affect psychological and behavioural - 46 chromosomes in each human cell, - Transmits information.
functions. arranged in 23 pairs. - Contains a cell body which extends
- Hormones that affect behaviour act - 22 pairs are non-sex linked whilst the the axon and dendrites.
on certain receptor sites in the brain: final pair are sex linked. - When in close contact with another
for example, testosterone can cause an - Sperm determines gender: XX neuron, a synapse is formed and nerve
increase in aggressive behaviour of arrangement produces a female whilst impulses are transmitted.
males. XY produces a male.
- The endocrine system, through Neurotransmitter: Chemical
hormones, controls activities that - A chemical that is released by one
involve slower responses. neuron, crossing the synaptic gap and
received by receptor sites on the next.
Brain lateralisation: Genes: Made up of DNA - Acetylcholine and dopamine.
- The extent to which each hemisphere - Contained on chromosomes found in - Regulate behaviour.
of the brain is involved in different the nuclei of cells. Synapse:
activities. - Carry information from one Receptor: Lock and keys - The junction between the end of one
- Examples: language is confined to the generation to the next. - Found at the dendrites. neuron's axon and the dendrite of
left and spatial processing to the right. - Influence development by triggering - If a neurotransmitter fits the certain another.
- Males and females have differences in the production of enzymes and proteins shaped receptor, the message is - The gap between cells at a synapse is
brain lateralisation but it has been involved in the production of specific received and can continue to the next called a synaptic gap, where
found in species other than humans. cells. neuron. information is passed.


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