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Neuroscience

The scientific study of the nervous system

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What are neurons

cells that are highly specialized to receive and transmit information from one part of the body to another.

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Sensory neurons

Communicate information from the environment to the central nervous system

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Motor neurons

Communicate information from the central nervous system to the muscles

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Inter neurons

Communicate information from one neuron to another; basic unit

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Cell body

Processes nutrients and provides energy for the neuron to function; contains the cell’s nucleus; also called the soma.

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Dendrites

Multiple short fibers that extend from the neuron’s cell body and receive information from other neurons or from sensory receptor cells.

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Axons

The long, fluid-filled tube that carries a neuron’s messages to other body areas.

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Stimulus threshold

The minimum level of stimulation required to activate a particular neuron.

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Synaptic gap

The tiny space between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrite of an adjoining neuron

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Neurotransmitters

Chemical messengers manufactured by a neuron.

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6 important neurotransmitters

Acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, endorphins

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Two major communication systems

Nervous system and endocrine system

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Peripheral nervous system

Division of the nervous system that includes all the nerves lying outside the central nervous system.

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Somatic nervous system

Subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that communicates sensory information to the central nervous system and carries motor messages from the central nervous system to the muscles

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Biological psychology

Specialized branch of psychology that studies the relationship be-tween behavior and bodily processes and systems; also called biopsychology or psychobiology

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Forebrain

Largest and most complex brain region, which contains centers for complex behaviors and mental processes; also called the cerebrum

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Cerebral cortex

The wrinkled outer portion of the forebrain; which contains the most sophisticated brain centers

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Four lobes of the cerebral cortex

Temporal, occipital, parietal,frontal

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Function of the temporal lobe

Receives auditory information

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Function of the occipital lobe

Where visual information is received

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Function of the parietal lobe

Involved in processing bodily, or somatosensory information, including touch, temperature, pressure and information from receptors in muscles and joints

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Function of the frontal lobe

Largest lobe; involved in planning, initiating and executing voluntary movements

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Parasympathetic nervous system

Branch of the autonomic nervous system that maintains normal bodily functions and conserves the body’s physical resources.

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Sympathetic nervous system

Branch of the autonomic nervous system that produces rapid physical arousal in response to perceived emergencies or threats.

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Neurogenesis

The development of new neurons

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Plasticity

The brain’s ability to change function and structure

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Functional plasticity

The brain’s ability to shift functions from damaged to undamaged brain areas

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Structural plasticity

The brain’s ability to change its physical structure in response to learning, active practice, or environmental influences.

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The brainstem

A region of the brain made up of the hindbrain and the midbrain.

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Hindbrain

A region at the base of the brain that contains several structures that regulate basic life functions.

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Medulla

A hindbrain structure that controls vital life functions such as breathing and circulation.

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Pons

A hindbrain structure that connects the medulla to the two sides of the cerebellum; helps coordinate and integrate movements on each side of the body.

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Cerebellum

A large, two-sided hindbrain structure at the back of the brain; responsible for muscle coordination and maintaining posture and equilibrium.