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PSYC100 Neuroscience Summary Notes.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 100
Professor
Prof.
Semester
Fall

Description
Psyc100: Biology of Behaviour (Chap. 4) Terms and Definitions Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord. Spinal cord: A long, thin collection of nerve cells attached to the base of the brain and running the length of the spinal column. Nerve: A bunch of fibres that transmits information between the central nervous system and the body’s sense organs, muscles, and glands. Peripheral nervous system: The cranial and spinal nerves; the part of the nervous system peripheral to the brain and spinal cord. Cranial nerve: A bundle of nerve fibres attached to the base of the brain; conveys sensory information from the face and head and carries messages to muscles and glands. Spinal nerve: A bundle of nerve fibres attached to the spinal cord; conveys sensory information from the body and carries messages to muscles and glands. Brain stem: The ‘stem’ of the brain, including the medulla, pons, and midbrain. Cerebral hemisphere: The largest part of the brain; covered by the cerebral cortex and containing most recently evolved parts of the brain. Cerebellum: A pair of hemispheres resembling the cerebral hemisphere but much smaller and lying beneath and in back of them; controls posture and movements, especially rapid ones. Vertebra: One of the bones that encase the spinal cord and constitute the vertebral column. Meninges: The three-layered set of membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF): The liquid in which the brain and spinal cord floats; provides a shock absorbing cushion. Blood-brain barrier: A barrier between the blood and the brain produced by the cells in the walls of the brain’s capillaries; prevents some substances from passing the blood into the brain. Cerebral cortex: The outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain, approximately 3mm thick. Grey matter: The portions of the central nervous system that are abundant in cell bodies of neurons rather than axons. The colour appears grey relative to white matter. White matter: The portions of the central nervous system that are abundant in axons rather than the cell bodies of neurons. The colour derives from the presence of the axons’ myelin sheaths. Neuron: A nerve cell; consists of a cell body with dendrites and an axon whose branches end in terminal buttons that synapse with muscle fibres, gland cells, or other neurons. Glial cell: A cell of the central nervous system that provides support for neurons and supplies them with some essential chemicals. Dendrite: A tree-like part of a neuron on which other neurons form synapses. Dendrite spine: A small bud-like protuberance on the surface of a neuron’s dendrite. Soma: A cell body; the largest part of a neuron. Axon: A long, thin part of a neuron attached to the somas; divides into few or many branches ending in terminal buttons. Terminal button: The rounded swelling at the end of the axon of a neuron; releases a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitter: A chemical released by the terminal buttons that causes the postsynaptic neuron to be excited or inhibited. Myelin sheath: The insulating material that encases most large axons. Action potential: A brief electrochemical event that is carried by an axon from the soma of the neuron to its terminal buttons; causes the release of a neurotransmitter. Ion: A positively or negatively charged particle; produced when many substances dissolve in water. Ion channel: A special protein molecule located in the membrane of a cell; controls the entry or exit of particular ions. Ion transporter: A special protein molecule located in the membrane of a cell; actively transports ions in and out of the cell. All-or-none law: The principle that once an action potential is triggered in an axon, it is propagated – without getting smaller – to the end of the axon. Sensory neuron: A neuron that detects changes in the external or internal environment and sends information about these changes to the central nervous system. Motor neuron: A neuron whose terminal buttons form synapses with muscle fibres; when an action potential travels down its axon, the associated muscle fibres twitch. Synapse: The junction between the terminal button of one neuron and the membrane of a muscle fibre, a gland, or another neuron. Presynaptic neuron: A neuron whose terminal buttons form synapses with and excites or inhibits another neuron. Postsynaptic neuron: A neuron with which the terminal buttons of another neuron form synapses and that is excited or inhibited by that neuron. Synaptic cleft: A fluid-filled space between the presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes; the terminal button releases a neurotransmitter into this space. Neurotransmitter receptor: A special protein molecule located in the membrane of the postsynaptic neuron that responds to molecules of the neurotransmitter. Reuptake: The process by which a terminal button retrieves the molecules of a neurotransmitter that it has just relaxed; terminates the effect of the neurotransmitter on the receptors of the postsynaptic cell. Glutamate: The most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord. GABA: “gamma-amino butyric acid”; the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain and spinal cord. Barbiturate: A drug that causes sedation; one of the several derivatives of barbituric acid. Anti-anxiety drug: A ‘tranquilizer’ which reduces anxiety. Benzodiazepine: A class of drugs having anxiolytic (‘tranquilizing’) effects. Acetylcholine (ACh): A neurotransmitter found in the brain, spinal cord, and parts of the peripheral nervous system; responsible for muscle contraction. Botulinum toxin: A drug that prevents the release of acetylcholine by terminal buttons. Black widow spider venom: A drug that stimulates the release of acetylcholine by terminal buttons. Neostigmine: A drug that enhances the effects of acetylcholine by blocking the enzyme that destroys it. Nicotine: A drug that binds with and stimulates acetylcholine receptors, mimicking the effects of this neurotransmitter. Curare: A drug that binds with and blocks acetylcholine receptors, preventing the neurotransmitter from exerting its effects. Monoamine: A category of neurotransmitters that includes dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Dopamine (DA): A monoamine neurotransmitter involved in control of brain mechanisms of movement and reinforcement. Parkinson’s disease: A neurological disorder characterized by tremors, rigidity of the limbs, poor balance, and difficulty in initiating movements; caused by the degeneration of a system of dopamine-secreting neurons. Norepinephrine (NE): A monoamine neurotransmitter involved in alertness and vigilance and control of REM sleep. Serotonin: A monoamine neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood; in the control of eating, sleep, and arousal as well as in the regulation of pain. LSD: “Lysergic acid diethylamide”; a hallucinogenic drug that blocks a category of serotonin rece
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