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Unit 3

Unit 3

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Items (48)

  • a nerve cell; the basic building block of the nervous system.


  • neurons that carry incoming information from the sensory receptors to the brain and spinal cord.

    sensory neurons

  • neurons that carry outgoing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles and glands.

    motor neurons

  • neurons within the brain and spinal cord that communicate internally and intervene between sensory inputs and motor outputs.


  • the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron that receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell body.


  • the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fivers through which messages pass to other neurons or to muscles or glands.


  • a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fivers of many neurons; enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as the pulse hops from one node to the next.

    myelin sheath

  • a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon.

    action potential

  • the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.


  • the junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron. The tiny gap at the junction is called the synaptic gap or synaptic cleft.


  • chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons. When released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and bind to the receptor sites on the receiving neuron, thereby influencing whether that neuron will generate a neural impulse.


  • a neurotransmitter's reabsorption by the sending neuron.


  • morphine within - natural, opiatelike neurotransmitters linked to pain control and to pleasure.


  • the body's speedy electrochemical communication network, consisting of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

    nervous system

  • the brain and spinal cord.

    central nervous system (CNS)

  • the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous system (CNS) to the rest of the body.

    peripheral nervous system (PNS)

  • bundled axons that form neural cables connecting the central nervous system with muscles, glands, and sense of organs.


  • the division of the peripheral nervous system that controls the body'd skeletal muscles. Also called the skeletal nervous system.

    somatic nervous system

  • the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls the glands and the muscles of the internal organs (such as the heart). Its sympathetic division arouses; its parasympathetic division calms.

    autonomic nervous system

  • the division of the autonomic nervous system that arouses the body, mobilizing its energy in stressful situations.

    sympathetic nervous system

  • the division of the autonomic nervous system that calms the body, conserving its energy.

    parasympathetic nervous system

  • a simple automatic response to a sensory stimulus, such as the knee-jerk response.


  • the body's "slow" chemical communication system; a set of glands that secrete hormones into the blood stream.

    endocrine system

  • chemical messengers that are manufactured buy the endocrine glands, travel through the bloodstream, and affect other tissues.


  • a pair of endocrine glands that sit just above the kidneys and secrete hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine) that help arouse the body in times of stress.

    adrenal glands

  • the endocrine system's most influential gland. Under the influence of the hypothalamus, the pituitary regulates growth and controls other endocrine glands.

    pituitary gland

  • tissue destruction; a brain lesion is a naturally or experimentally caused destruction of brain tissue.


  • an amplified recording of the waves of electrical activity that sweep across the brain's surface. These waves are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp.


  • a series of X-ray photographs taken from different angles and combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice through the body. Also called CAT scan.

    CT (computed tomography) scan

  • a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.

    PET (positron emission tomography) scan

  • a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images of soft tissue. Shows brain anatomy.

    MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • a technique for revealing bloodflow and, therefore, brain activity by comparing successive MRI scans. Shows brain function.

    fMRI (functional MRI)

  • the oldest part and central core of the brain, beginning where the spinal cord swells as it enters the skull; is responsible for automatic survival functions.


  • the base of the brainstem; controls heartbeat and breathing.


  • a nerve network in the brainstem that plays an important role in controlling arousal.

    reticular formation

  • the brain's sensory switchboard, located on top of the brainstem; it directs messages to the sensory reviving areas in the cortex and transmits replies to the cerebellum and medulla.


  • the "little brain" at the rear of the brainstem; functions include processing sensory input and coordinating movement output and balance.


  • doughnut-shaped neural system (including the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus) located below the cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions and drives.

    limbic system

  • two lima bean-sized neural clusters in the limbic system; linked to emotion.


  • a neural structure lying below the thalamus; it directs several maintenance activities (eating, drinking, body temperature), helps govern the endocrine system via the pituitary gland, and is linked to emotion and reward.


  • the intricate fabic of interconnected neural cells covering the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center.

    cerebral cortex

  • cells in the nervous system that support, nourish, and protect neurons.

    glial cell

  • portion of the cerebral cortex lying just behind the forehead; involved in speaking and muscle movements and in making plans and judgements.

    frontal lobes

  • portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the top of the head and toward the rear; receives sensory input for touch and body position.

    parietal lobes

  • portion of the cerebral cortex lying at the back of the head; includes areas that receive information from the visual fields.

    occipital lobes

  • portion of the cerebral cortex lying roughly above the ears; includes the auditory areas, each receiving information primarily from the opposite ear.

    temporal lobes

  • an area at the rear of the frontal lobes that controls voluntary movements.

    motor cortex

  • area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations.

    sensory cortex