CARTA Glossary

Displaying 601 - 700 of 933 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Neuropsychology

The study of the relationship between behavior, emotion, and cognition and brain function.

Neuroscience

A multidisciplinary science that is concerned with the study of the structure and function of the nervous system. It encompasses the evolution, development, cellular and molecular biology, physiology, anatomy and pharmacology of the nervous system, as well as computational, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.

Neurostransmitter

A type of chemical messenger that transmits signals across a chemical synapse, such as a neuromuscular junction, from one neuron (nerve cell) to another “target” neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell.

Neurotransmitter

A chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells.

Neurotransmitter receptors

A membrane receptor protein that is activated by a neurotransmitter.

Neurotypical

Not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior.

Never

A bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs.

Niche construction

A form of ecological inheritance in which organisms alter the environment in ways that affect the developmental context and selection pressures acting on subsequent generations.

Nicotine

A natural alkaloid and insecticide produced by several plant species (tobacco and jimson weed). It also functions as a central nervous system stimulant as an analog of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

A receptor polypeptide that responds to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, and also responds to nicotine.

Nitrogen (N)

A common chemical element with the atomic number 7. Most nitrogen on earth exists as inert gas (N2).

Non-coding RNA (ncRNA)

RNA that is not translated into a protein. Important ncRNAs include transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs), as well as small RNAs such as microRNAs, siRNAs, piRNAs, snoRNAs, snRNAs, exRNAs, scaRNAs and the long ncRNAs such as Xist and HOTAIR.

Non-Fiction

Any story purported to tell factual information.

Non-Hormonal Basis of Maternal Care

The finding that care giving behavior can occur in female rats and mice that have not reproduced themselves through repeated exposure to infants.

Non-Invasive Neuroimaging

The use of various techniques, such as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, to image the structure, function, or pharmacology of the nervous system.

Non-seasonal depression

Depression that is not related to changes in the seasons.

Nootropics

So called “smart drugs” or cognitive enhancers that are claimed to improve cognitive function. E.g., Modafinil.

Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)

A hormone and neurotransmitter that mobilizes the brain and body for action.

Novel (disease)

A new strain of a disease that has not been previously identified in a species.

Nuclear Pore Complex Protein and ribonucleoprotein transport channels in the nuclear envelop of eukaryotic cells. Evolved ~ 1.5 billion years ago. While the primary role of NPCs is to regulate nucleo–cytoplasmic transport, recent research suggests that certain NPC proteins have additionally acquired the role of affecting gene expression at the nuclear periphery and in the nucleoplasm in metazoans.
Nucleating sites

Atmospheric areas that generate particulate matter PM2.5 from dissolved ammonia from agricultural nitrogen pollution.

Nucleic acid

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. The overall name for DNA and RNA, which are composed of nucleotides. DNA is double-stranded and more stable while RNA is single-stranded and less stable.

Nucleoporin 98 (Nup98) A protein coding gene that plays a role in the nuclear pore complex assembly and/or maintenance. Associated diseases range from Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Monocytic Leukemia.
Nucleoside

Glycosylamines corresponding to nucleotides lacking a phosphate.

Nucleotide

Molecular building blocks for DNA and RNA Specifically, they consist of three components: a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The type of sugar, either deoxyribose or ribose, determines if the resulting nucleic acid is DNA or RNA.

Number

Exact symbolic quantifier that designates the cardinality of a collection of objects. It is abstract (i.e., it transcends perceptual modalities), relational, and operable. In its most prototypical case it is associated with the familiar counting sequence ‘1, 2, 3, . . . ’

Numeral

A sign for a number, such as the Hindu-Arabic digit ‘5’, the Roman ‘V’, or the French word ‘cinq’, that signify the number five.

Numerosity

A scale of measurement for evaluating the numerousness of stimuli (e.g., a collection of discriminable objects) utilized especially by psychophysicists in the mid-20th century, and by means of which an experimenter establishes the cardinal attribute of physical collections of objects.

Numerousness

A property or attribute of a stimulus (discrete quantities) which can be measured by an investigator in units of numerosity.

Obesity

Excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher. Obesity rates in the US have reached 42%, up 12% in the last 10 years.

Obligate Tool User

Tool use is a necessity for survival. Tool use is an essential part of being human and we are the only known obligate tool users.

Obstetric Dilema

A biological constraint of bipedalism and large fetal brains imposed on the human female pelvis.

Odds Ratio (in GWAS)

The ratio between the odds of individuals having a phenotype associated with a specific allele and the odds of the same phenotype for individuals who do not have that same allele. 

Oldowan (Mode 1)

A stone tool type characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 - 1.7 mya.

Olfactory Bulb (Brain)

A neural structure of the vertebrate forebrain involved in sense of smell.

Oligodendrocytes (Brain)

A type of neuroglia that supports and insulates axons in the central nervous system of some vertebrates.

Omnivore

An organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet of plant, animal, and fungal origin.

Ontogeny

The origin and development of an organism (from fertilization of the egg to the organism’s mature form). Can also refer to the study of an organism’s lifespan.

Operational sex ratio (OSR)

The ratio of fertile males to fertile females that are ready to mate.

Optimism Bias

An almost universally human cognitive bias that seems to cause individuals to believe that they are at less risk of experiencing a negative event and more likely to experience a positive outcome compared to other people.

Optogenetic

A biological technique that involves the use of light to control gene expression and cellular function in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.

Organoid Cell/tissue culture in vitro that aims to mimic organ structure and function.
Out of Africa

A hypothesis proposing the geographic origins of the genus Homo in Africa and migration of anatomically modern humans. These anatomically modern humans would have completely replaced the archaic human populations (Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.) that had previously left Africa. This hypothesis emphasizes the African origin of our species but allows for the possibility of minor local contributions from archaic populations.

Outer Radial Glia

Found in the outer subventricular zone of the neocortex, outer radial glia preferentially express genes related to extracellular matrix formation, migration, and stemness.

Outer Subventricular Zone A uniquely structured germinal zone that generates the expanded primate supragranular layers.
Ovulation

The timepoint of the menstrual cycle involving the release of an egg from an ovary.

Pair bond

The formation of long-lasting bonds between two individuals.

Paired receptors

Related membrane proteins that have similar extracellular appearance but opposite signaling functions and are found in pairs or clusters primarily on immune cells.

Paleolithic

A broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with Stone Age. During the paleolithic, hunting and gathering (foraging) was the primary subsistence method. The period ended with a flourishing of culture, not only in the manufacture of new stone (and bone tools) and other innovations (such spear thrower, bow and arrow, eyed needle, fishing implements), but also the development of splendid cave art paintings and engravings. Subdivisions:

  • Lower Paleolithic: ~3.4 mya - 300 kya.
  • Middle Paleolithic: Consists of use of prepared cores (i.e. Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 - 30 kya.
  • Upper Paleolithic: Coincides with behavioral modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artifacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 - 10 kya.
Pandemic

An epidemic that has spread across regions, including multiple continents or worldwide.

Parallel architecture

A theory of the mental representations (or “data structures”) involved in the language faculty that are organized by phonology, syntax, and semantics.

Paranthropus

A genus of extinct bipedal hominins dating to ~ 2.6 mya to 1.1 mya that lived throughout eastern and south Africa. Their robust cranialdental anatomy suggests an adaptation to a diet of tough vegetation. Possible tool use is indicated by hands adapted for precision grasping. They probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids (Australopithecus) ~2.7 million years ago, hence their alternative name, robust australopithecine, and ongoing debate on genus.

Parasite

An organism that lives on or in a host organism at the expense of the host.

Parasitism

A close relationship between two organisms where one benefits at the expense of the other.

Parental Behavior

Any behavior of a member of a species toward an immature conspecific that increases the likelihood that the immature organism will survive to maturity.

Parental conflict

Evolutionary conflict between the sexes arising from differences in optimal parental investment in offspring across a lifetime.

Parental effort

The portion of reproductive effort in form of parenting (protection, feeding, provisioning).

Parental Investment

The investment of resources (time, energy, provisions) into offspring.

Parental Investment Theory

The correlation between parental investment and mate choice where the greater the parental investment the more selective, and the lesser the investment the greater the access to more mates (Trivers, 1972).

Parietal Lobe (Brain)

One of the major lobes in the human brain, roughly located at the upper back in the skull (“crown”). It processes sensory information such as touch, taste, and temperature, spatial senses and navigation (proprioception), and language processing.

Paternal investment

The parental effort of fathers.

Paternity assessment

The ability of males to assess the likelihood of having sired a particular offspring.

Paternity confidence

A male’s confidence in being the father of one or more offspring.

Paternity uncertainty

Uncertainty about paternity due to female mating behavior.

Pathogen

A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.

Pathogenesis

The biological mechanism (or mechanisms) that leads to a disease state and can also refer to the origin and development of a disease, and whether it is acute, chronic, or recurrent.

Pathogenicity

The absolute ability of an infectious agent to cause disease or damage in a host.

Pathophysiology

Disordered physiological processes associated with disease or injury.

Peer Review (Academic Publishing)

The professional critique by other scholars or scientists from the same field that normally takes place before scholarly or scientific papers are accepted for publication.

Perciption

The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.

Perineum The area around the anus and genitals.
Period synchronization (or menstrual synchrony)

The phenomenon whereby women appear to synchronize their menstrual cycles.

Periovulatory

Around the time of ovulation.

Peripartum depression

Depression that occurs during pregnancy.

Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)

A small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids (mescaline) that is native to Mexico and southwestern Texas.

Phenotype

Observable traits of an organism that result from interactions between genes and environment during development.

Phenotypic flexibility

The range of an individual’s reversible variation in behavior, morphology, physiology, and life-history traits in response to changes in their environment.

Pheromones

Molecules that are produced by one individual and have signal value for another individual of the same species.

Phonology (Linguistics)

The organization of the sounds or signs in language.

Phylogenetic Tree

A branching diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species, or other entities, based on their physical or genetic characteristics.

Phylogeny

Historical relationships of species or loci.

Physiological trade-off

A compromise between different physiological needs of body functions.

Phytanic Acid

A branched chain fatty acid produced during the digestion of chlorophyll, especially in foregut fermenting species (ruminants) that consume plant materials. Humans obtain phytanic acid by consuming dairy products, ruminant animals, and some fish.

Phytanic Acid Metabolism (in humans)

Eating ruminants (red meat and dairy) creates special demands on detoxifying metabolism as phytanic acid (lipids) from plants eaten by ruminants can be toxic to humans.

Pioneer transcription factor

A type of transcription factor that can open and bind to chromatin. They control enhancer activation and are important in the recruitment of other transcription factors and in controlling DNA methylation.

Plasmodium

A genus of single-celled organisms that are obligate parasites of vertebrates and insects. In humans, malaria is caused by multiple species of Plasmodium and transmitted by mosquitos (commonly female Anopheles mosquitos).

Plasticity (brain)

The ability of the brain to change and adapt to new information. These changes can involve the establishment of new synapses or new neurons in some regions.

Pleistocene

A geological epoch from ~2.5 mya to 11.7 kya characterized by a period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archeology. Subdivisions:

  • Early (Lower) Pleistocene: ~2.58 mya - 781 kya.
  • Middle Pleistocene: Emergence of Homo sapiens. 781 - 126 kya.
  • Late (Upper) Pleistocene: 126 - 11.7 kya.
PM2.5

A fine particulate matter (particles or droplets less than 3 microns in width) air pollutant that causes haze, reduces air quality, and can cause short- and long-term negative health effects.

Pneumococcus

A bacterium that infects the lungs and sometimes the blood stream.

Poised Gene

The idea that some genes are more easily expressed because of their chromatin state.

Polyandry

A mating system where females regularly mate with multiple males.

Polygenic

Relating to a trait determined by two or more genes. Most traits of organisms are polygenic.

Polygynandry

A mating system in which males and females mate with multiple partners.

Polygyny

A mating system where males regularly mate with multiple females.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)

A method of copying a specified locus.

Polymorphism

The “many forms,” or genetic variants, of a single gene that exist and are maintained in a population at a frequency of 1% or higher.

Polysialic acid

A homopolymer of sialic acids abundant in the brain and fish eggs and found on certain pathogenic bacteria.

POM121 A gene that encodes for transmembrane nucleoporin, a protein that localizes to the inner nuclear membrane and forms a core component of the nuclear pore complex, which mediates transport to and from the nucleus.
Population

A defined group of similar individuals among whom interbreeding occurs.

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