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Chapter

PSYA01H3 Chapter Notes -Peripheral Nervous System, Myelin, Neuroplasticity


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYA01H3
Professor
Steve Joordens

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PSY – Chap 4 Terms
Central nervous system: the brain and the spinal cord
Spinal cord: a long, thin collection of nerve cells attached to the back of the brain and running
the length of the spinal column
Nerve: a bundle of fibers 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, that part of the nervous system
peripheral to the brain and spinal cord
Cranial nerve: a bundle of nerve fibers attached to the base of the brain; conveys sensory info
from the face and head and carries messages to muscles and glands
Spinal nerve: a bundle of nerve fibers attached to the spinal cord; conveys sensory info 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: (left and right) the largest part of the brain, covered by the cerebral
cortex and containing parts of the brain that evolved most recently
Cerebellum: a pair of hemispheres resembling the cerebral hemispheres 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 float, 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 from 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.
White matter: the portions of the central nervous system that are abundant in axons rather than
cell bodies of neurons. The colour is from the presence of the axons’ myelin sheaths.

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Neuron: a nerve cell: consists of a cell body with dendrites and an axon whose branches end in
terminal buttons that synapse with muscle fibers, gland cell of 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 the neuron on which other neurons form synapses.
Dendritic spine: (post-synaptic) 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 soma, divides into a few or many branches,
ending in terminal buttons.
Terminal button: (pre-synaptic) the rounded swelling at the end of the axon of a neuron,
releases transmitter substance.
Neurotransmitter: a chemical released by the terminal buttons that causes the postsynaptic
neuron to be excited of 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 transmitter substance.
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 into or out of a 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
info about these changes to the central nervous system.
Motor neuron: a neuron whose terminal buttons form synapses with muscle fibers. When an
action potential travels down its axon, the associated muscle fibers will twitch.
Synapse: the junction between the terminal button of one neuron and the membrane of a muscle
fiber, a gland, or another neuron.
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