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Chapter 3

Psy100- Chapter 3.doc

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University of Toronto St. George

CHAPTER 3Genetic and Biological FoundationsP87Nervous systemA communication network comprised of billions of specialized cells evaluates info from the external world then produces behaviours or makes bodily adjustments to adapt to the environmentNeuronThe basic unit of the nervous systemCells that specialize in communicationOperate through electrical impulses and communicate with other neurons through chemical signalsThey differ from most other cells because they are excitableHave 3 functions oReception take in info from neighboring neuronsoConduction integrate those signalsoTransmission pass signals to other neuronsCome in a wide assortment of shapes and sizes but typically share 4 structural regions that assist theneurons communication functions1Dendrites branchlike extensions of the neuron that detect info from other neurons2Cell body in the neuron where info from thousands of other neurons is collected and processed3Axon a long narrow outgrowth of a neuron by which info is transmitted to other neurons4Terminal buttons small nodules at the end of axons that release chemical signals from the neuron to an area called synapseSynapse the site for chemical communication between neuronsLipids double layer of fatty molecules of the membrane the boundary of a neuron Membrane involved in communication between neurons by regulating the concentration of electrically charged molecules that are the basis of the neurons electrical activityA neuron messages are received by the dendrites processed in the cell body transmitted along the axon and sent to other neurons via chemical substances released from the terminal buttonsTypes of Neurons1Sensory neurons these afferent neurons detect info from the physical world and pass that info along to the brain usually via the spinal cordAfferent neurons receptors send signals from the body to the brain to produce a response2Motor neurons these efferent neurons direct muscles to contract or relax thereby producing movementEfferent neurons receptors send signal that travel from the brain to the body3Interneurons these neurons communicate only with other neurons typically within a specific brain region communicate within local or shortdistance circuits that is interneurons integrate neural activity within a single area rather than transmitting info to other brain structures or to the body organs Together sensory and motor neurons control movementThe nerves that provide info from muscles are referred to as somatosensory which is the general term for sensations experienced from within the bodyNeurons dont communicate randomly or arbitrarily they selectively communicate with other neurons to form circuits or neural networks These networks develop through maturation and experience forming permanent alliances among groups of neuronsAction potentials cause neuronal communicationAction potential neuronal firing the neural impulse electrical signal that passes along the axon and subsequently causes the release of chemicals from the terminal buttons to other neuronsThe resting membrane potential is negatively charged Resting membrane potential the electrical charge of a neuron when it is not activeThe differential electrical charge inside and outside of the neuron is a condition known as polarization The roles of sodium and potassium ions
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