Biopsychology definitions

Nervous system
Consits of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system
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Central nervous system (CNS)
Consists of the brain and the spinal cord and is the origin of all complex commands and decisions
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Peripheral nervous system
sends information to the central nervous system from the outside world and transmits messages from the CNS to muscles and glands in the body
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Somatic nervous system
transmits information from receptor cells in the sense organs to the central nervous system. It also recieves information from the CNS that directs muscles to act
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Autonomic nervous system
Transmits information to and from internal bodily organs. It is autonomic as it is an involuntary system. It has two main divisions the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems
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Endocrine system
One of the body's major information systems that instructs glands to release horrmones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones are carried towards a target organ in the body
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Gland
An organ in the body that synthesises substances such as hormones
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Hormones
chemical substances that circulate in the bloodstream and only affect target organs. They are produced in large quantities but dissapear quickly. Their effects are very powerful
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Fight or flight response
The way an animal responds when stressed. The body becomes psychologically aroused in readiness to fight the danger or flee from it
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Adrenaline
A hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is part of the human body's immediate stress response system. Adrenaline has a strong effect on the cells of the cardiovascular system - stimulating the heart rate, contracting blood vessels and dilating
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Neuron
The basic building blocks of the nervous system, neurons are nerve cells that process and transmit messages through electrical and chemical signals
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Sensory neurons
These carry messages from the PNS to the CNS. They have long dendrites and short axons
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Relay neurons
These connect the sensory neurons to the motor or other relay neurons, they have short dendites and short axons
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Motor neurons
These connect the CNS to effectors such as muscles and glands, they have short dendrites and long axons
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Synaptic transmission
The process by which neighbouring neurons communicate with each other by sending chemical messages across the gap that separates them
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Neurotransmitter
Brain chemicals released from synaptic vesicles that relay signals across the synapse from one neuron to anothe, they can be divided into those that perform an excitory function and those that perform an inhibitory function
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Excitation
When a neurotransmitter increases the positive charge of the postsynaptic neuron, this increases the likelihood that the neuron will fire and pass on the electrical impulse
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Inhibition
When a neurotransmitter makes the charge of the postsynaptic neuron more negative, this decreases the likelihood that the neuron will fire and pass on the electrical impulse
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Localisation of function
The theory that different areas of the brain are responsible for different behaviours, processes or activities
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Motor area
A region of the frontal lobe involved in regulating movement
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Somatosensory area
Aan area of the parietal lobe that processes sensory information such as touch
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Visual area
A part of the occipital lobe that receives and processes visual information
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Auditory area
Located in the temporal lobe and concerned with the analysis of speech based information
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Broca's area
An area of the frontal lobe of the brain in the left hemisphere responsible for speech production
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Wernicke's area
An area of the temporal lobe in the left hemisphere responsible for language comprehension
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Plasticity
This describes the brains tendency to change and adapt as a result of experience and new learning
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Functional recovery
A form of plasticty. Following damage through trauma, this is the brain's ability to redistribute or transfer functions usually performed by a damaged area to other undamaged areas
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Hemispheric lateralisation
The idea that the two halves of the brain are functionally different and that certain mental processes and behaviours are mainly controlled by one hemisphere rather than the other
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Split brain research
A series of studies which began in the 1960s involving epileptic patients who had experienced a surgical separation of the hemispheres of the brain. This allowed researchers to investigate the extent to which brain function is lateralised
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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
A method used to measure brain activity while a person is performing a task that uses MRI technology. This enables researchers to detect which regions of the brain are rich in oxygen and therefore active
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Electroencephalogram (EEG)
A recored of the tiny electrical impulses produced by the brain's activity. By measuring characteristic wave patterns, the EEG can help diagnose certain conditions of the brain
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Event-related potentials (ERPs)
The brains electrophysical response to a specific sensory, cognitive or motor event can be isolated through statistical analysus of EEG data
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Post-mortem
The brain is analysed after death to determine whether certain observed behaviours during the patient's lifetime can be linked to abnormalities in the brain
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Biological rhythms
Distinct patterns of changes in body activity that conform to cyclical time periods. Biological rhythms are influences by internal body clocks (endogenous pacemakers) as well as external changes to the environment (exogenous zeitgebers)
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Circadian rhythm
A type of biological rythm subject to a 24 hour cycle, which regulates a number of body processes such as the sleep/wake cycle and changes in core body temperature
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Infradian rhythm
A type of biological rythm witha frequency of less than one cycle in 24 hours, such as mensturation and seasonal affective disorder
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Ultradian rhythm
A type of biological rhythm with a frequencey of more than one cycle in 24 hours, such as the stages of sleep
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Endogenous pacemakers
Internal body clocks that regulate many of our biological rhythms, such as the influence of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) on the sleep/wake cycle
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Sleep/wake cycle
A daily cycle of biological activity based on a 24 hour period that is influence by regular variations in the environment
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Consists of the brain and the spinal cord and is the origin of all complex commands and decisions

Back

Central nervous system (CNS)

Card 3

Front

sends information to the central nervous system from the outside world and transmits messages from the CNS to muscles and glands in the body

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

transmits information from receptor cells in the sense organs to the central nervous system. It also recieves information from the CNS that directs muscles to act

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Transmits information to and from internal bodily organs. It is autonomic as it is an involuntary system. It has two main divisions the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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