Behavioral Sciences

Phrenology (Franz Gall)

the detailed study of the shape and size of the cranium as a supposed indication of character and mental abilities.

Extripation (ablation) (Pierre Flourens)

the idea of removing areas of the brain and observe the complications

Functionalism (William James)

a school of psychology that focused on how mental and behavioral processes function - how they enable the organism to adapt, survive, and flourish.

Broca's area (Paul Broca)

Controls language expression - an area of the frontal lobe, usually in the left hemisphere, that directs the muscle movements involved in speech.

Herman von Helmholtz

first to measure the speed of nerve impulses

Sir Charles Sherrington

first inferred the existence of synapses

Central Nervous System (CNS)

consists of the brain and spinal cord

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

the sensory and motor neurons that connect the CNS to the rest of the body

somatic nervous system

A subdivision of the peripheral nervous system. Enables voluntary actions to be undertaken due to its control of skeletal muscles

autnomic nervous system

the involuntary movements. comprised of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

sympathetic nervous system

a set of nerves that prepares the body for action in challenging or threatening situations

parasympathetic nervous system

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


An area of the brain that coordinates information coming into and out of the spinal cord (Pons, cerebellum, Medulla Oblongata)


A brain structure that relays information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain. Sleep and arousal

medulla oblongata

Part of the brainstem that controls vital life-sustaining functions such as heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, and digestion.


A small part of the brain above the pons that integrates sensory information and relays it upward.


The largest and most complicated region of the brain, including the thalamus, hypothalamus, limbic system, and cerebrum.

superior colliculus

receives visual sensory input

inferior colliculus

auditory reflexes


The study of functions and behaviors associated with specific regions of the brain.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Graphical record of brain-wave activity obtained through electrodes placed on the scalp and forehead

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

brain-imaging method using radio waves and magnetic fields of the body to produce detailed images of the brain

functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)

an imaging technique used to examine changes in the activity of the working human brain by measuring changes in the blood's oxygen levels

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

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

computed tomography (CT)

brain-imaging method using computer-controlled X-rays of the brain

regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF)

detects broad patterns of neural activity based on increased blood flow to different parts of the brain

limbic system

neural system located below the cerebral hemispheres; associated with emotions and drives


- Relay station for sensory impulses to the cerebral cortex
-Memory Processing


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.

lateral hypothalamus (LH)

The part of the hypothalamus that produces hunger signals

ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH)

the part of the hypothalamus that can cause one to stop eating

anterior hypothalamus

controls sexual behavior

posterior pituitary

ADH and oxytocin


A limbic system structure involved in memory and emotion, particularly fear and aggression.


a neural center located in the limbic system; helps process explicit memories for storage

Septal Nuclei (limbic system)

- one of primary pleasure centres in the brain

anterograde amnesia

an inability to form new memories

retrograde amnesia

an inability to retrieve information from one's past

cerebral cortex

the intricate fabric of interconnected neural cells that covers the cerebral hemispheres; the body's ultimate control and information-processing center

frontal lobe

associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving

cerebral hemispheres

the two sections of the cortex on the left and right sides of the brain

Gyri (gyrus)

Large folds of tissue covering the surface of the cerebrum

Sulci (sulcus)

~shallow grooves separating the gyri
~ Divides the cerebral hemispheres into lobes

association areas

areas of the cerebral cortex that are not involved in primary motor or sensory functions; rather, they are involved in higher mental functions such as learning, remembering, thinking, and speaking

projection areas

perform simple perceptual and motor tasks

primary motor cortex

the section of the frontal lobe responsible for voluntary movement - located on the precentral gyrus

central sulcus

divides frontal and parietal lobes

parietal lobe

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

somatosensory cortex

area at the front of the parietal lobes that registers and processes body touch and movement sensations - located on postcentral gyrus

occipital lobe

visual processing

visual cortex

The visual processing areas of cortex in the occipital and temporal lobes.

temportal lobe

sense of hearing, smell, memory, thought, and judgment

Wernicke's area

controls language reception - a brain area involved in language comprehension and expression; usually in the left temporal lobe

Ipsilateral control

same side control

contralateral control

each hemisphere of the brain controls the opposite side of the body

Dominant hemisphere (Left)

language, logic, and math skills

nondominant hemisphere

Usually the right. Associated with intuition, creativity, music cognition, and spatial processing


chemical messengers that cross the synaptic gaps between neurons


neurotransmitter associated with voluntary muscle control, attention, and arousal


A neurotransmitter associated with movement, attention and learning and the brain's pleasure and reward system.


A neurotransmitter that affects hunger,sleep, arousal, and mood.

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)

A major inhibitory neurotransmitter. Undersupply linked to seizures, tremors, and insomnia.


Neurotransmitter secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress. Also known as adrenaline.


A neurotransmitter involved in arousal, as well as in learning and mood regulation

adrenal glands

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 medulla

secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine

adrenal cortex

outer section of each adrenal gland; secretes cortisol, aldosterone, and sex hormones


A group of hormones, including cortisol, released by the adrenal glands at times of stress


stress hormone released by the adrenal cortex


the most important of the male sex hormones. Both males and females have it, but the additional testosterone in males stimulates the growth of the male sex organs in the fetus and the development of the male sex characteristics during puberty


Female sex hormone


ovaries and testes


sexual desire


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

hypophyseal portal system

a blood vessel system that directly connects the hypothalamus with the anterior pituitary

innate behavior (instinct)

Genetically determined behavior that is inherited rather than learned; rigidly patterned throughout a species.

learned behavior

a behavior that has been learned from experience or observation


heritable characteristic that increases an organism's ability to survive and reproduce in an environment

natrual selection

the theory that organisms better suited to their environment are more likely to survive

Nature vs. Nurture

name for a controversy in which it is debated whether genetics or environment is responsible for driving behavior

family studies

researchers assess hereditary influence by examining blood relatives to see how much they resemble one another on a specific trait

adoption studies

assess hereditary influence by examining the resemblance between adopted children and both their biological and their adoptive parents

monozygotic twins

identical twins formed when one zygote splits into two separate masses of cells, each of which develops into a separate embryo

dizygotic twins

twins who are produced when two separate ova are fertilized by two separate sperm at roughly the same time