PSYC 1000 Lecture 4: Psych notes - module 4 - sep 22.docx
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Psych Notes – Module 4 – Sep 22
Biological perspective: concerned with the links between biology and behavior. Includes
psychologists working in neuroscience, behavior genetics, and evolutionary psychology. These
researchers may call themselves behavioral neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior
geneticists, physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists.
Neuron: a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system.
Dendrites: a neurons bushy, branching extensions that receive messages and conduct impulses
toward the cell body.
Axon: the neuron extension that passes messages through its branches to other neurons or to
muscles or glands.
Myelin sheath: a fatty tissue layer segmentally encasing the axons of some neurons, enables
vastly greater transmission speed as neural impulses hop from one node to the next.
Action potential: a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon.
Threshold: the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.
Synapse: the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body
of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft.
Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When
released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to
receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a
Reuptake: a neurotransmitters reabsorption by the sending neuron.
Endorphins: “morphine within” – natural, opiate-like neurotransmitters linked to pain control and
Nervous system: the body’s speedy, electrochemical communication network, consisting of all
the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Central nervous system (CNS): the brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral nervous system (PNS): the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central
nervous system to the rest of the body.
Nerves: bundled axons that form neural cables connecting the CNS with muscles, glands, and
Sensory neurons: neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the
brain and spinal cord.
Motor neurons: neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the
muscles and glands.
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