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Unformatted text preview: CHAPTER 2: NEUROSCIENCE AND BEHAVIOR Neural Communication The body’s circuitry, the nervous system, consists of billions of individual cells called neurons. A neuron receives signals from other neurons through its branching dendrites and cell body, combines these signals in the cell body, and transmits an electrical impulse (the action potential) down its axon. When these signals reach the end of the axon, they stimulate the release of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. These molecules pass on their excitatory or inhibitory messages as they traverse the synaptic gap between neurons and combine with receptor sites on neighboring neurons. Researchers are studying neurotransmitters to discern their role in behavior and emotion. Some drugs (agonists) excite by mimicking particular neurotransmitters or blocking their reuptake; others (antagonists) inhibit by blocking neurotransmitters. The Nervous System The central nervous system’s neurons in the brain and spinal cord communicate with the peripheral nervous system’s sensory and motor neurons. The peripheral nervous system has two main divisions. The somatic nervous system directs voluntary movements and reflexes. The autonomic nervous system, The somatic nervous system directs voluntary movements and reflexes....
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This note was uploaded on 05/17/2008 for the course PS 101 taught by Professor Yost during the Spring '08 term at John Carroll.
- Spring '08