Psychology: Biopsychology

  • Created by: GhostRat
  • Created on: 25-02-19 18:34


  1. The Divisions of the Nervous System

  2. The Structure & Function of Neurons

  3. Synaptic Transmission

  4. Excitation & Inhibition

  5. Endocrine System

  6. Fight or Flight Response

  7. Localisation of Function & Hemispheric Lateralisation

  8. Language Centres

  9. Split Brain Research

  10. Plasticity & Functional Recovery

  11. Ways of Studying The Brain

  12. Circadian Rhythms56

  13. Infradian Rhythms

  14. Ultradian Rhythms

1.The Divisions of the Nervous System

  • Nervous System: primary internal communication system: collects, processes & responds to info from the environment; coordinates the working of different organs/cells in the body

  • CNS:

    • Brain:  involved in conscious / voluntary processes

    • Spinal Cord: relays information between the brain and the rest of the body: regulates and monitors involuntary bodily processes such as digestion & breathing + coordinating voluntary movements: nerve cells = simple reflexes without the direct involvement of the brain

  • PNS:

    • Somatic NS: voluntary muscle movement & recieves info from sensory receptors, involved in reflex actions

    • Autonomic NS: involuntary/automatic functions such as breathing & heart rate

      • Sympathetic branch: fight or flight response, helps to prepare the body for the rapid action needed when facing a threat (increased HR)

      • Parasympathetic branch: restores the body back to its resting state after the emergency has passed… rest and digest system

2. The Structure & Function of Neurons

  • Nucleus: control centre of a cell → chromosomal DNA

  • Dendrite: receives nerve impulse → carries towards the cell body

  • Axon: carries the impulse away away from the cell body

  • Myelin Sheath: protects the axon from external influences that may affect transmission

  • Nodes of Ranvier: speed up transmission by causing the impulse to ‘jump’

  • Terminal Buttons: end of an axon, communicate with next neuron in the chain across the synapse

  • Sensory Neuron:

    • PNS, in sensory organs, receive info from the environment and carry message from the PNS to the brain & spinal cord

    • Long dendrites and short axons

  • Relay Neuron:

    • CNS, transfers messages from sensory neurons to other interconnecting ones/motor neurons

    • Short dendrites and long/short axons

  • Motor Neuron:

    • PNS, Carry messages from CNS → effectors (muscles/glands)

    • Short dendrites, long axons

3. Synaptic Transmission

  1. Action potential (explosion of electrical activity) occurs when a neuron sends info down an axon → away from the cell body

  2. Electrical impulse & end of the neuron → vesicles bind with the presynaptic membrane

  3. Bind→ release neurotransmitters across the synaptic cleft & attach to receptors on the postsynaptic membrane

  4. Chemical → electrical impulse that travels in one direction


  • ‘Synaptic vesicles containing the neurotransmitters are only present on the presynaptic membrane → diffusion in one direction, high to low concentration

  • A neurotransmitter = chemical messengers that carry signals from neurons to other cells, they are released from axon terminals after action potential occurs. They have a specific molecular structure, lock and key with the receptor!

  • Examples:

    • ACH → motor neurons & muscles, when released the muscle contracts

    • Dopamine → regulation of pleasure & motivation. Reward system: high levels in schizophrenic patients, low in Parkinson's

4. Excitation & Inhibition

  • Excitatory neurotransmitters = noradrenaline → on switches, increase likelihood of neuron firing. Binds


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