The Biological Bases of Behavior
Communication in the Nervous System
* Nervous Tissue: The Basic Hardware
* Neurons are individual cells in the nervous system that receive, integrate, and transmit information.
* The soma, or cell body, contains the cell nucleus and much of the chemical machinery common to most cells.
* Dendrites are the parts of a neuron that are specialized to receive information.
* The axon is a long, thin fiber that transmits signals away from the soma to other neurons or to muscles or glands.
* The axon ends in a cluster of terminal buttons, which are small knobs that secrete chemicals called neurotransmitters.
* The Neural Impulse: Using Energy to Send Information
* The Neuron at Rest: A Tiny Battery
* The resting potential of a neuron is its stable, negative charge when the cell is inactive.
* The Action Potential
* An action potential is a very brief shift in a neuron’s electrical charge that travels along an axon.
* The absolute refractory period is the minimum length of time after an action potential during which another action potential cannot begin.
* The All-or-None Law
* The neural impulse is an all-or-none proposition.
* The Synapse: Where Neurons Meet
* Sending Signals: Chemicals as Couriers
* The synaptic cleft is a microscopic gap between the terminal button of one neuron and the cell membrane of another neuron.
* Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit information from one neuron to another.
* Receiving Signals: Postsynaptic Potentials
* Postsynaptic potential is a voltage change at a receptor site on a postsynaptic cell membrane.
* Reuptake is a process in which neurotransmitters are sponged up from the synaptic cleft by the presynaptic membrane.
* Integrating Signals: A Balancing Act
* The elimination of old synapses appears to... [continues]
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