AP Biology : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

Which of the following may result from damage to the front lobe?

Possible Answers:

Visual impairment

Numbness in the extremities

Impairment of speech

Spastic muscle activity

Auditory impairment

Correct answer:

Impairment of speech

Explanation:

The brain is often divided into four lobes based on anatomy and physiology: the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal lobe. Each lobe controls various aspects of cognition and motor skills. The frontal lobe is associated with reasoning, speech, movement, and emotions. The parietal lobe is associated with orientation and recognition. The occipital lobe is associated with visual processing. The temporal lobe is associated with auditory processing and memory.

Broca's area is a small region of the frontal lobe located in the left hemisphere. This region of the brain is responsible for generating speech and articulation. Damage to this region of the frontal lobe could cause speech impairment. In contrast, Wernicke's area is located in the temporal lobe and is associated with comprehension of speech.

Spastic muscle activity is not related to the brain, but results from injury to motor neurons spanning from the spinal cord to the limbs.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

What occurs at a synapse?

Possible Answers:

Nothing; synapses are layers of protection for neurons

A neuron communicates with its target cell via electrical or chemical stimulation

A neuron releases hormones into the blood stream

Proteins on the axon of one neuron interface with proteins on dendrites of another

Correct answer:

A neuron communicates with its target cell via electrical or chemical stimulation

Explanation:

Synapses are special regions where a neuron releases a signal to its target cell. Most commonly this signal is chemical (neurotransmitters), but it can also be electrical. The synapse is a gap between the neurons, and does not allow for direct contact. Signals are released from the axon of one neuron and must traverse the synaptic cleft before interfacing with receptors on the target cell.

Neurons do not directly release hormones into the blood stream and synapses do not offer protection to neurons.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

Which term is used to describe movement of an organism toward a light source?

Possible Answers:

Negative thermotaxis

Negative chemotaxis

Positive chemotaxis

Positive phototaxis

Negative phototaxis

Correct answer:

Positive phototaxis

Explanation:

Phototaxis is movement (taxis) in response to light (photo). Movement towards a source is positive; movement away from a source is negative. "Positive phototaxis" would be used to describe movement toward a light source.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

Which statement is not true about glia?

Possible Answers:

Glial cells insulate neurons from each other

Glia help clear neurotransmitters from the synaptic cleft

Glial cells supply oxygen and nutrients to neurons

Glial cells receive action potentials from dendrites

Glial cells are not neurons

Correct answer:

Glial cells receive action potentials from dendrites

Explanation:

Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that support neuron activity. Their functions include physical support of neurons, supply oxygen and nutrients, and take up excess neurotransmitters. 

Example Question #5 : Understanding Other Neural Physiology

Signals travel through a neuron as __________, and travel from neuron to neuron as __________.

Possible Answers:

a chemical signal using neurotransmitters . . . an electrical signal using charged proteins

An electrical signal via charged proteins . . . a chemical signal using neurotransmitters

an electrical signal using atomic ions . . . a chemical signal using hormones

a chemical signal using hormones . . . an electrical signal using neurotransmitters

an electrical signal using atomic ions . . . a chemical signal using neurotransmitters

Correct answer:

an electrical signal using atomic ions . . . a chemical signal using neurotransmitters

Explanation:

Neurotransmitters and hormones are both chemical signals, but hormones are used in the endocrine system, released from glands into the blood, while neurotransmitters are released from the axon terminals of neurons to signal other neurons. Signals travel across neurons as electrical signals caused by the movement of large numbers of atomic ions across the membrane via protein channels. Charged proteins would be too large to quickly move through the channels in such large numbers.

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