a neurotransmitter that plays multiple roles in the central and peripheral nervous systems, including the excitation of muscle contractions
the all-or-none electrical signal that travels down a neuron's axon
a trait that has been selected by nature because it increases the reproductive "fitness" of the organism.
the collection of nerves that control the more automatic needs of the body (such as heart rate, digestion, blood pressure); part of the peripheral nervous system.
the long tail-like part of a neuron that serves as the cell's transmitter
the brain and the spinal cord
central nervous system
a hindbrain structure at the base of the brain that is involved in the coordination of complex motor skills
the outer layer of the brain considered to be the seat of higher mental processes
the use of highly focused beams of X-Rays to construct detailed anatomical maps of the living brain
computerized tomography scan (CT scan)
the collection of nerve fibers that connects the two cerebral hemispheres and allows information to pass from one side to the other
the fibers that extend outward from a neuron and receive information from other neurons
a neurotransmitter that often leads to inhibitory effects; decreased levels have been linked to Parkison disease, and increased levels have been linked to schizophrenia.
a device used to monitor the gross electrical activity of the brain
a network of glands that uses the blood stream, rather than neurons, to send chemical messages that regulate growth and other internal functions
morphine like chemicals that act as the brain's natural painkillers
the similarities and differences among biological (blood) relatives are studied to help discover the role heredity plays in physical and psychological traits
the outer portion of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and the structures of the limbic system
one of the four anatomical regions of each hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, located on the top front of the brain; it contains the motor cortex and may be involved in higher level thought processes
a neurotransmitter that may play a role in the regulation of anxiety, it generally produces inhibitory effects
gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA)
segments of chromosomes that contain instructions for influencing and creating particular hereditary characteristics
the actual genetic information inherited from one's parents
cells that fill in space between neurons, remove waste, or helps neurons to communicate efficiently
a primitive part of the brain that sits at the juncture point where the brain and spinal cord merge. Structures in the hindbrain including the medulla, pons, and reticular formation, act as the basic life support system for the body
chemicals released into the blood by the various endocrine glands to help control a variety of internal regulatory functions
a forebrain structure thought to play a role in the regulation of various motivational activities, including eating, drinking, and sexual behavior
cells that transfer information from one neuron to another; inter neurons make no direct contact with the outside world
a system of structures thought to be involved in motivational and emotional behaviors (the amygdala) and memory (the hippocampus)
a device that uses magnetic fields and radio-wave pulses to construct detailed three dimensional images of the brain; "functional" MRIs can be used to map changes in blood oxygen use as a function of task activity
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
the middle portion of the brain, containing such structures as the tectum, superior colliculus, and inferior colliculus; midbrain structures serve as neural relay stations and may help coordinate reactions to sensory events
cells that carry information away from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands that directly produce behavior
a spontaneous change in the genetic material that occurs during the gene replication process
an insulating material that protects the axon and helps to speed up neural transmission
bundles of axons that make up neural "transmission cables"
the cells in the nervous system that receive and transmit information
an interdisciplinary field of study directed at understanding the brain and its relation to behavior
chemical messengers that relay information from one neuron to the next
one of the four anatomical regions of each hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, located at the back of the brain, visual processing is controlled here
one of the four anatomical regions of each hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, located roughly on the top middle portion of the brain; it contains the somatosensory cortex, which controls the sense of touch
the network of nerves that links the central nervous system with the rest of the body
peripheral nervous system
a person's observable characteristics, such as red hair. The phenotype is controlled mainly by the genotype but it can also be influenced by the environment
a kind of master gland in the body that controls the release of hormones in response to signals from the hypothalamus
a method for measuring how radioactive substances are absorbed in the brain, it can be used to detect how specific tasks activate different areas of the living brain
position emission tomography (PET)
largely automatic body reactions--such as the knee jerk--that are controlled primarily by spinal cord pathways
the period of time following an action potential when more action potentials cannot be generated
the tiny electrical charge in place between the inside and outside of the resting neuron.
cells that carry environmental messages toward the spinal cord and brain.
a neurotransmitter that has been linked to sleep, dreaming, and general arousal and may also be involved in some psychological disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
the cell body of a neuron
the collection of nerves that transmits information toward the brain and connects to the skeletal muscles to initiate movement; part of the peripheral nervous system
the small gap between the terminal buttons of a neuron and the dendrite or cell body of another neuron
one of the four anatomical regions of each hemisphere of the cerebral cortex; located roughly on the sides of the brain, its involved in certain aspects of speech and language perception
the tiny swellings at the end of the axon that contain chemicals important to neural transmission.
a relay station in the forebrain thought to be an important gathering point for input from the senses
identical twins, who share genetic material, are compared to fraternal twins in an effort to determine the role heredity and environment play in psychological traits