Biological Bases of Behavior Rapid Review for AP Psychology

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Apr 4, 2011

More in-depth study guides for this review can be found at:

Neuropsychologists—those who explore the relationships between brain/nervous systems and behavior. Neuropsychologists are also called biological psychologists or biopsychologists, behavioral geneticists, physiological psychologists, and behavioral neuroscientists.

Studying patients with brain damage linked loss of structure with loss of function.

Lesions—precise destruction of brain tissue, enables more systematic study of the loss of function resulting from surgical removal (also called ablation), cutting of neural connections, or destruction by chemical applications.

CT scans and MRIs show structure.

Computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT)—creates a computerized image using x-rays passed through the brain to show structure and/or the extent of a lesion.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)—creates more detailed computerized images using a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves that cause emission of signals that depend upon the density of tissue.

EEGs, PET scans, and fMRIs show function.

EEG (electroencephalogram)—an amplified tracing of brain activity produced when electrodes positioned over the scalp transmit signals about the brain's electrical activity ("brain waves") to an electroencephalograph machine.

Evoked potentials—EEGs resulting from a response to a specific stimulus presented to the subject.

Positron emission tomography (PET)—shows brain activity when radioactively tagged glucose rushes to active neurons and emits positrons.

Functional MRI (fMRI)—shows brain activity at higher resolution than the PET scan when changes in oxygen concentration near active neurons alter magnetic qualities.

Central nervous system (CNS)—brain and spinal cord.

Peripheral nervous system (PNS)—portion of the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord; includes all of the sensory and motor neurons, and subdivisions called the autonomic and somatic nervous systems.

Autonomic nervous system (ANS)—subdivision of PNS that includes motor nerves that innervate smooth (involuntary) and heart muscle. Its sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for "fight or flight"; the parasympathetic nervous system causes bodily changes for maintenance or rest.

Sympathetic nervous system—subdivision of PNS and ANS whose stimulation results in responses that help your body deal with stressful events.

Parasympathetic nervous system—subdivision of PNS and ANS whose stimulation calms your body following sympathetic stimulation by restoring normal body processes.

Somatic nervous system—subdivision of PNS that includes motor nerves that innervate skeletal (voluntary) muscle.

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