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The ability to understand something for its function, not just for its physical form.
Wiring your brain to the concepts of another culture.
Your mood—the general sense of feeling that comes from your body. It is always present and continually fluctuates between pleasant and unpleasant, and between idle and activated.
The scientific name for body-budgeting.
A little worm-like creature that lived in the ocean 550 million years ago (and is still around today).
Autonomic nervous system
The part of your peripheral nervous system devoted to involuntary movements of the organs and tissues in your body.
A trunk-like structure that extends from the body of a neuron and carries information to other neurons.
Body budget
A metaphor for how your brain allocates energy resources within your body. The scientific term is allostasis.
Brain network
A population of neurons that operates as a unit. Different neurons within the population participate at different times, like a sports team with some players in the game while others are on the bench.
Brain region
A grouping of neurons that are treated as a unit. Examples are the amygdala (a subcortical region) and the prefrontal cortex (a cortical region).
Central nervous system
The brain and spinal cord.
Cerebral cortex
The outer layer of neural tissue of the cerebrum of the brain.
Common brain-manufacturing plan
The observation that the brains of many animals follow a common plan as they develop before birth.
A brain’s ability to configure itself into an enormous number of distinct neural patterns.
Neurons arranged in layers that lay atop the subcortical regions of your brain. Also called “gray matter.”
A hormone that gives you a quick burst of energy when you need it. Mistakenly called a "stress hormone."
The observation that many different combinations of neurons can contribute to the same outcome.
A bushy, branch-like structure that extends from the body of a neuron and receives information from other neurons.
Five Cs
A suite of abilities: creativity, communication, copying, cooperation, and compression.
A cluster of neurons that is densely connected to other clusters, making communication more efficient in the brain.
The brain’s representation of sensations from your body’s organs, tissues, hormones, and immune system.
Limbic system
A mythical system in the brain that allegedly houses your emotions. The word “limbic” has scientific meaning, regarding the structure of certain brain tissue, but there is no brain system dedicated to emotion.
Meatloaf Brain
An imaginary brain in which every neuron is connected to every other.
Mental inference
Guessing what is going on in another person's mind.
Motor system
A brain system that controls the movement of the body.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
A so-called personality test that collects information about an individual and assigns them to one of 16 so-called personality types.
Natural selection
Charles Darwin’s idea that organisms that are best adapted to their environment will best survive to reproduce.
Nature vs. nurture
A false distinction that attempts to separate what is innate from what is learned. They are too intertwined to be separable.
The alleged rational part of the human brain, according to the triune brain idea. More appropriately called isocortex.
A collection of parts that are connected together to function as a single unit. See also Brain network.
The most common type of brain cell.
A chemical that increases or decreases the effects of neurotransmitters.
A chemical that enables signals to pass between neurons.
Everything that has any relevance to your body budget in the present moment.
Occipital cortex
A brain region, more commonly called visual cortex, that is associated with seeing.
Changes in brain wiring, due to aging or experiences.
Pocketknife Brain
An imaginary brain structure that is carved into puzzle pieces that serve dedicated functions.
A guess made by the brain of what sense data will arrive in the next moment.
The weakening and dying-off of connections between neurons
Segregating and integrating
The phenomenon that over evolutionary time, a single brain region may split into multiple regions that integrate their activity.
Sense data
Anything that reaches your sensory organs to travel to your brain: light, air pressure, chemicals, and so on. This includes input from your organs, tissues, hormones, and immune system.
Sensory integration
Your brain's process of assembling different sensations into a cohesive whole.
Sensory systems
Brain systems that carry data about senses such as vision or touch
Social reality
Agreement by a group of people that something is real, which they share by way of language.
Somatosensory cortex
Part of the brain that senses body movements and help create the sense of touch.
Clumps of neurons beneath the cortex.
A gap between neurons that signals travel across.
Triune brain
The myth that the brain evolved like a layer cake, with “cognitive” circuitry wrapped around “emotional” circuitry, allegedly permitting thoughts to control feelings.The three parts are the so-called lizard brain for instincts, the so-called limbic system for emotion, and the so-called neocortex for rational thought.
Strengthening the connections between neurons.
A short-hand term referring to axons, dendrites, and the connections between them across synapses.