Introduction to Psychology unit 5

� Accessibility

When a memory has been encoded and stored, and you are also able to retrieve it.

� Acetylcholine

The most common neurotransmitter, which is used in movement in the peripheral nervous system and related to attention and memory in the brain.

� Action Potential

The state in which a neuron reaches its Threshold of Excitation and fires, or sends an electrical impulse down the axon.

� Adrenal Glands

Endocrine glands located on top of the kidneys which secrete hormones related to stress and arousal.

� Agnosia (visual and facial)

When a person has damage to the left occipital lobe and can describe what they see but not say what it is, or cannot create meaning out of the visual information.

� Amygdala

A small, almond-shaped structure related to emotional responses in people, especially fear.

� Aphasia

When patients with damage to Broca's area were able to understand speech but had trouble producing it.

� Association Areas

Parts of the brain that help to process information and form memories- sensory information.

� Autonomic Nervous System

Nerves connected to internal organs, which control internal, involuntary body functions (like breathing, heart rate, and digestion).


Where there is no problem with the encoding or storage of the memory and you have the memory.

� Axon

The long tail-like structure that comes off of the cell body and sends signals along the cell and out to other cells.Storage

� Brain

Central processing unit located in the head, where all mental information about a person is kept and used to control the rest of the body.

� Brainstem

Structures of the brain at the center or core of the brain, connected directly to the spinal cord; also referred to as the hindbrain (cerebellum, pons, medulla oblongata).

� Broca's Area

An association area in the frontal lobe related to language production.

� Central Nervous System

The control center of the nervous system, which collects information from the rest of the body and causes the body's responses; contains the brain and spinal cord.

� Cerebellum

The structure at the back of the brain, behind medulla and pons that helps to control movement and to regulate coordination and balance.

� Cerebral Cortex

The outer layer of wrinkled grey matter on the outside of the brain, responsible for a person's personality, thought, language, storage of memory, movement, and senses.

� Chunk

Information put into a meaningful group, which allows a person to remember more.

� Computed Tomographic (CT) Scan

A specialized x-ray device that takes multiple images to create a 3D model of the brain.

� Consolidation

The process of forming permanent, long-term memories.

� Corpus Callosum

A large bundle of neurons that joins the two hemispheres of the brain.


Environmental stimuli present when a person learns the information that help a person to remember, or retrieve, information later.

� Curve of Forgetting

A graph created by Herman Ebbinghaus that shows that people immediately begin forgetting large amounts of information up to 2 days after learning, then forgetting slows down between 6 and 31 days, after which, it remains relatively stable.

� Declarative Memory

Long-term memory of more explicit, factual information, like words, numbers, and symbols.

� Dendrites

The part of the neuron that branches out into many smaller parts, which receive signals from other neurons.

� Echoic memory

Auditory/hearing sensory memory.

� Electrical Stimulation of the Brain (ESB)

Providing electrical shocks directly to certain parts of brain to activate them and measuring responses.

� Electroencephalograph (EEG)

A device placed on a person's head that can amplify and measure the brain's electrical activity.

� Encoding

The first stage of forming a memory, where the brain processes the sensory information into a form that can be remembered.

� Encoding Failure

The inability to form a memory and store it in the long-term memory.

� Epinephrine

An excitatory hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and related to fear; a.k.a. adrenaline.

� Episodic memory

Personal memory of specific events and experiences.

� Explicit Memory

Long-term memory of factual information, like words, numbers, and symbols; a.k.a. declarative memory.

� Functional MRI (fMRI)

A device like an MRI that uses magnetic field to measure blood flow to areas of the brain over time to measure how it works.

� Growth Hormone

A hormone secreted during childhood, from the pituitary gland, that affects the physical growth of a person; too little can result in dwarfism while too much can result in gigantism.

� Hemisphere

Half of the brain (left or right), divided by the longitudinal fissure; each hemisphere controls certain parts of the brain and can have certain specialized functions.

� Hippocampus

Crescent-shaped structures on both sides of the brain, related to the formation of memories.

� Hormone

A chemical secreted by a gland that affects internal and external activities.

� Hypothalamus

A smaller, circular center in front of thalamus, involved in motivation and emotions in people.

� Iconic memory

Visual/sight sensory memory.

� Implicit Memory

Long-term memory of actions and skills, or how to do certain things; a.k.a. procedural memory.

� Information Bits

Individual pieces of information that a person can retain in their short-term memory (which holds between 7 and 9 bits at a time).

� Interference

When new and old memories compete with each other and make it difficult to remember.

� Ion Channels

Small tunnels along a neuron that to pump ions from one side of the cellular membrane to the other, which creates an electrical charge.

� Keyword Method

When a person uses familiar words or images to remember new words or information.

� Limbic System

Areas of the forebrain involved in emotions, motivation, and memory formation.

� Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex

Specific or generally defined areas of the cerebral cortex related to different functions.

� Localization of Function

The idea that specific areas and structures of the brain relate to certain behaviors or mental processes.

� Long-Term Memory

The system of memory that allows information to be filed or stored away for later retrieval and use.

� Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A device that uses magnetic field to provide images of the internal structures of the brain in 3D.

� Medulla Oblongata

The area directly connected to the spinal cord; related to reflexive, involuntary body processes important to living.

� Memory Cue

A stimulus associated with a memory that can assist in retrieval.

� Mnemonics

Different systems or techniques that help people to remember and recall information. (example ROYGBIV)

� Myelin Sheath

A layer of fatty cells that covers some neurons' axons and allows them to transmit information faster in the brain.

� Nerves

Cord or cable-like bundles of axons which carry messages to and from the body and brain.

� Nervous System

The body's communication system, which sends information to and from the brain and allows it to control the rest of the body.

� Neurologic Soft Signs

Minor signs of more non-specific brain disorders, like clumsiness or poor hand-eye coordination.

� Neuropeptides

A special class of neurotransmitters that regulate the activity of neurons and systems in the brain.

� Neurotransmitter

Chemical messengers that allow neurons to communicate with other neurons across the synapse.

� Norepinephrine

An excitatory hormone secreted by the adrenal glands and related to anger.

� Occipital Lobe

The part of the cerebral cortex related to the processing of visual information and seeing.

� Organization

Placing information into meaningful groups.

� Ovaries

Female sex glands which secrete estrogen affecting secondary sex characteristics such as the development of breasts and affects female sexual functioning.

� Over-Learning

When learning information, a person continues to study after he or she is able to simply remember it.


A gland in both the endocrine and digestive systems which produces and secretes insulin to control blood sugar and hunger.

� Parasympathetic Nervous System

Helps to maintain normal body functions and calm it down when excited by the sympathetic nervous system.

� Peripheral Nervous System

The neurons in the rest of the body outside of the brain and spinal cord, which control muscles, carry sensory information from the environment, and control involuntary actions.

� Phineas Gage

Railroad construction foreman who survived an explosion which shot a tamping rod through his left frontal cortex. His personality changed after: from being a stable, steady temperament to being immature, moody, and angry.

� Pituitary Gland

The "master gland" of the endocrine system; secretes hormones that affect other glands.

� Pons

The area just above the medulla and pons that transfers information between medulla and brain, as well as the rest of the brain structures.

� Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

A device that uses a radioactive fluid, usually attached to glucose, injected into a person to measure which areas of the brain are active.

� Prefrontal Cortex (Prefrontal Cortex)

The foremost part of the frontal lobe, involved with sense of self: awareness, impulse control, emotion.

� Primary Auditory Area

The area at top of the temporal lobe near primary motor/somatosensory cortices related to hearing and language understanding.Groups

� Primary Motor Cortex (Primary Motor Area)

The area of the frontal lobe bordering the parietal lobe related to movement and control of body's muscles.

� Priming

Giving limited clues to activate unconscious memories and test implicit memory.

� Procedural Memory

Long-term memory of actions and skills, or how to do certain things.

� Recall

Direct retrieval of information, where a person reproduces information learned.

� Receptor Sites

Areas on neurons that connect and respond to neurotransmitters.

� Recognitio

Being able to recognize information that was previously stored to retrieve information.

� Reflex Arc

Simple, automatic responses to stimuli.

� Rehearsal

Repeating information to oneself, which allows one to retain information longer in the short-term memory.

� Relearning

Retrieval of memory where a person attempts to learn information that they have previously learned.

� Repetition/Rehearsal

A way of keeping information in a person's short term memory, where the person says it to himself or herself and practices it, which puts it back into the short term memory for longer times.

� Repression

Unconsciously forgetting a usually unpleasant memory.

� Resting Potential

The state in which a neuron is not firing or sending a neural impulse and when there is a negative electrical charge inside the neuron.

� Reticular Activating System (RAS)

A system that heightens other areas of the cerebral cortex and keeps a person awake and alert.

� Reticular Formation (RF)

A network of neurons inside the medulla related to attention and alertness.

� Retrieval

The third stage, in which the person remembers the information that was stored, or they retrieve the information from storage.

� Recognition

Recognizing important information to remember and changing it into smaller, more digestible parts.

� Semantic memory

Fact-based, impersonal knowledge of the world.

� Sensory Memory

Brief, normally unconscious copies of sensory information around us, which can either be discarded or remembered for later use.

� Sensory Neurons

Neurons that send information to brain from sense organs.

� Serial Position Effect

When learning a list of information, a person is more likely to remember the first and last items on the list.

� Short-Term Memory

The system of memory that holds small amounts of information that we are consciously aware of for short periods of time.

� Soma

The central part of the neuron, which contains all the basic parts of a cell (nucleus, mitochondria, etc.); the cell body.

� Somatic Nervous System

Nerves connected to the sense organs and skeletal muscles, which control voluntary movement, reflexes, and sensory neurons.

� Spinal Cord

A thick bundle of nerves that connects to the brain and acts as an "information superhighway", conducting info to and from the brain along the back.

� State-Dependent Learning

Memory retrieval can be affected by a person's bodily state at the time of learning.

� Storage

The second stage, in which the brain holds on to and retains the information for later use.

� Suppression

Consciously attempting to forget a memory.

� Sympathetic Nervous System

Controls body responses related to "flight or fight" response, when feel like in danger.

� Synapse

The small space between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrites of other neurons.

� Temporal Lobe

The part of the cerebral cortex located on side of brain, related to the processing of hearing.

� Testes

Males sex glands which secrete the hormone testosterone affecting secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair and also affects male sexual functioning.

� Thalamus

A small, football-shaped structure central to brain; acts as conduction and switching center for sensory information being sent to the cerebral cortex.

� Threshold of Excitation

The level or point at which a neuron fires, or a neural impulse is triggered.

� Thyroid Gland

Gland located in the neck which is responsible for the regulation of metabolism.

� Wernicke's Area

The area near occipital lobe related to creating meaning and understanding language.

� Whole versus Part Learning

Remembering larger, more meaningful pieces as a whole, which is easier than shorter, less meaningful pieces.

� Working Memory

Memory which allows us to not only take in information like short-term memory but also examine, manipulate and process it.