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Chapter 3

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Georgia Institute of Technology
PSYC 1101

Neurons - Nerve cells specialized in communication with each other - Parts of Neurons o Cell Body  Soma  Central region o Dendrites  Branchlike extensions for receiving information from other neurons o Axons and Axon Terminals  Tail like extension protruding from the cell body  Narrowness near the cell body creates a trigger zone o Synapses  Neurotransmitters enter the synapse, a fluid-filled space between neurons  Sir Charles Sherrington  First to hypothesize on the existence of synapses o Glial Cells  Glial = glue  Astrocytes: most abundant glial cells  Blood Brain Barrier: a fatty coating that wraps around tiny blood vessels; protects it from infection by bacteria o Myelin Sheath  Insulates axon Electrical Thought - Neurons respond to neurotransmitters by generating electrical activity - Resting Potential o No neurotransmitters acting on the neuron - Action Potential o Abrupt waves of electrical discharge triggered by a change in charge inside the axon o Positively charged particles flow rapidly into the axon and then just as rapidly flow out - Absolute Refractory Period o Each action potential is followed by an ARP o A brief interval during which an action potential can’t occur Neurotransmitters - Glutamate o Most common neurotransmitters in CNS o Main excitatory neurotransmitter o Relay of sensory information and learning - GABA o Main inhibitory neurotransmitter in CNS o Alcohol and anxiety drugs increase GABA activity - Acetylcholine o Plays a role in arousal, selective attention, sleep, and memory o Muscle Contraction o Cortical Arousal - Norepinephrine o Brain arousal and other functions like mood, hunger, and sleep o Monomine - Dopamine o Rewarding experiences when we seek to accomplish goals - Serotonin o Mood and temperature regulation o Aggression o Sleep cycles - Anadamide o Pain reduction o Increase in appetite - Endorphins o Pain reduction Neural Plasticity - The nervous system’s ability to change - Neural Plasticity over development occurs in 4 ways o Growth of dendrites and axons o Synaptogenesis – formation of new synapses o Pruning – death of certain neurons and retraction of axons o Myelination – the insulation of axons with a myelin sheath Neural Plasticity and Learning - L
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