IQ Glossary

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Neuroscience
A field of study which deals with the structure, development, function, chemistry, pharmacology and pathology of the central or peripheral nervous system. The biological study of the brain is an interdisciplinary field, which involves many levels of study, from the molecular level through the cellular level (individual neurons), the level of relatively small assemblies of neurons like cortical columns, that of larger subystems like that which subserves visual perception, up to large systems like the cerebral cortex or the cerebellum, and at the highest level the nervous system as a whole. At this highest level the field largely merges with cognitive neuroscience, a discipline first populated mostly by cognitive psychologists, currently becoming a dynamic specialty of its own. Thus, the concern of neuroscience includes such diverse topics as the operation of neurotransmitters, how genes contribute to the embryonic development of the nervous system and to learning, the operation of relatively simpler neural structures of other organisms like marine snails, and the structure and functioning of complex neural circuits in perceiving, remembering, and speaking. Closely related and overlapping fields, besides cognitive neuroscience, include neurology, psychopharmacology, aphasiology, neurolinguistics, and several others.

Neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are used to relay, amplify and modulate electrical signals between two neurons: the presynaptic neuron and the postsynaptic neuron.

Normal Curve
The normal distribution, also called Gaussian distribution, is an extremely important probability distribution in many fields, especially in physics and engineering. It is a family of distributions of the same general form, differing in their location and scale parameters: the mean ("average") and standard deviation ("variability"), respectively. The standard normal distribution is the normal distribution with a mean of zero and a standard deviation of one (the green curves in the plots to the right). It is often called the bell curve because the graph of its probability density resembles a bell.