By Robert Biswas-Diener
Nervous System development across the human lifespan
The Central Nervous System (CNS): The Neurons inside the Brain
The Central Nervous System: Looking at the Brain as a Whole
The Peripheral Nervous System
How we study the brain
- Video: Animation of Neurons
- Video: Split Brain Patient
- Web: Animation of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Web: Animation of the Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- Web: Teaching resources and videos for teaching about the brain, from Colorado State University:
- Web: The Brain Museum
- Action Potential
- A transient all-or-nothing electrical current that is conducted down the axon when the membrane potential reaches the threshold of excitation.
- Part of the neuron that extends off the soma, splitting several times to connect with other neurons; main output of the neuron.
- Brain Stem
- The “trunk” of the brain comprised of the medulla, pons, midbrain, and diencephalon.
- Broca’s Area
- An area in the frontal lobe of the left hemisphere. Implicated in language production.
- Central Nervous System
- The portion of the nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord.
- The distinctive structure at the back of the brain, Latin for “small brain.”
- Usually refers to the cerebral cortex and associated white matter, but in some texts includes the subcortical structures.
- Literally “opposite side”; used to refer to the fact that the two hemispheres of the brain process sensory information and motor commands for the opposite side of the body (e.g., the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body).
- Corpus Callosum
- The thick bundle of nerve cells that connect the two hemispheres of the brain and allow them to communicate.
- Part of a neuron that extends away from the cell body and is the main input to the neuron.
- Diffuse Optical Imaging (DOI)
- A neuroimaging technique that infers brain activity by measuring changes in light as it is passed through the skull and surface of the brain.
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- A neuroimaging technique that measures electrical brain activity via multiple electrodes on the scalp.
- Frontal Lobe
- The front most (anterior) part of the cerebrum; anterior to the central sulcus and responsible for motor output and planning, language, judgment, and decision-making.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): A neuroimaging technique that infers brain activity by measuring changes in oxygen levels in the blood.
- Limbic System
- Includes the subcortical structures of the amygdala and hippocampal formation as well as some cortical structures; responsible for aversion and gratification.
- Myelin Sheath
- Fatty tissue, that insulates the axons of the neurons; myelin is necessary for normal conduction of electrical impulses among neurons.
- Nervous System
- The body’s network for electrochemical communication. This system includes all the nerves cells in the body.
- Individual brain cells
- Chemical substance released by the presynaptic terminal button that acts on the postsynaptic cell.
- Occipital Lobe
- The back most (posterior) part of the cerebrum; involved in vision.
- Parietal Lobe
- The part of the cerebrum between the frontal and occipital lobes; involved in bodily sensations, visual attention, and integrating the senses.
- Peripheral Nervous System
- All of the nerve cells that connect the central nervous system to all the other parts of the body.
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- A neuroimaging technique that measures brain activity by detecting the presence of a radioactive substance in the brain that is initially injected into the bloodstream and then pulled in by active brain tissue.
- Cell body of a neuron that contains the nucleus and genetic information, and directs protein synthesis.
- Spatial Resolution
- A term that refers to how small the elements of an image are; high spatial resolution means the device or technique can resolve very small elements; in neuroscience it describes how small of a structure in the brain can be imaged.
- Split-brain Patient
- A patient who has had most or all of his or her corpus callosum severed.
- Junction between the presynaptic terminal button of one neuron and the dendrite, axon, or soma of another postsynaptic neuron.
- Synaptic Gap
- Also known as the synaptic cleft; the small space between the presynaptic terminal button and the postsynaptic dendritic spine, axon, or soma.
- Temporal Lobe
- The part of the cerebrum in front of (anterior to) the occipital lobe and below the lateral fissure; involved in vision, auditory processing, memory, and integrating vision and audition.
- Temporal Resolution
- A term that refers to how small a unit of time can be measured; high temporal resolution means capable of resolving very small units of time; in neuroscience it describes how precisely in time a process can be measured in the brain.