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Psychology Terms

  • Date Submitted: 10/16/2011 01:47 PM
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Chapter Three Vocabulary
1. Biopsychology – The specialty in psychology that studies the interaction of biology, behavior, and mental processes.

2. Neuroscience – A relatively new interdisciplinary field that focuses on the brain and its role in psychological processes.

3. Evolution – The grateful process of biological change that occurs in a species as it adapts to its environment.

4. Natural Selection – The driving force behind evolution, by which the environment “selects” the fittest organisms.

5. Genotype – An organism’s genetic makeup.

6. Phenotype – An organism’s observable physical characteristics.

7. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – A long, complex molecule that encodes genetic characteristics.

8. Gene – Segment of a chromosome that encodes the directions for the inherited physical and mental characteristics of an organism. Genes are the functional units of a chromosome.

9. Chromosome – Tightly coiled threadlike structure along which the genes are organized, like beads on a necklace. Chromosomes consist primarily of DNA.

10. Sex Chromosomes – The X and Y chromosomes that determine our physical sex characteristics.

11. Neuron (nerve cell) – Cell specialized to receive and transmit information to other cells in the body. Bundles of many neurons are called nerves.

12. Sensory Neuron (afferent neuron) – Nerve cell that carries messages from sense receptors toward the central nervous system.

13. Motor Neuron (efferent neuron) – Nerve cell that carries messages away from the central nervous system toward the muscles and glands.

14. Interneuron – A nerve cell that relays messages between nerve cells, especially in the brain and spinal cord.

15. Dendrite – A branched fiber that extends outward from the main cell body and carries information in the neuron.

16. Soma (cell body) – The part of a cell (such as a neuron) containing the nucleus, which includes the chromosomes.

17. Axon – In a nerve cell, an extended fiber that...

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