Nerve Cells

Topics: Nervous system, Neuron, Axon Pages: 4 (1286 words) Published: July 26, 2011
PSY1011/1111 Essay cover sheet

Essay Title: How Do Nerve Cells Work and Why is it Important for Psychologists to know this?

Student number: M00267898

Word count (Excluding title and references section):1,062

By submitting this work I acknowledge that I am its author, that all sources consulted in its preparation are referenced appropriately in accordance with the referencing guide, and that I have not copied from any source.

How Do Nerve Cells Work and Why is it Important for Psychologists to know this? Biological psychology hypothesises that the nervous system has the ability to influence the way we see the world around us. So much hinges on the existence of these cells that even different schools can agree upon their existence. A nerve cell, also known as a neuron, is defined as “Any of the impulse conducting cells that constitute the brain, spinal column and nerves, consisting of a nucleated cell body with one or more dendrites and a single axon.” ( the dictionary defines an axon as “the long portion of a neuron that conducts impulses away from the body of the cell. Also called nerve fibre” ( the definition of a dendrite is “also called Dendron. Any of the short branched threadlike extensions of a nerve cell which conduct impulses toward the cell body.” ( discovered in the early 20th century by the Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramón Cajal. He proposed that neurons communicated with each other via specialised junctions, or spaces, between cells. Later this became known as the “neuron doctrine, one of the central tenets of modern neuroscience.” (Encyclopaedia) In the brain there are approximately 100 billion nerve cells and there are nerves running throughout the body, the central nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord and the spinal column.

When trying to understand the relationship between nerves and behaviour one must begin with the nervous system....

References: • Sigmund Freud (1917) ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914-1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, 237-258 [online] available from: accessed: 26-07-2011
• Chiara Cirelli, Christina M. Gutierrez and Giulio Tononi (2004) ‘Extensive and Divergent Effects of Sleep and Wakefulness on Brain Gene Expression’ [online] available from:
Accessed: 26-07-2011
• Unknown (unknown) ‘Nerve Cells and the Nervous System’ available from: accessed: 26-07-2011.
• David. G. Myers. (2010). Psychology (ninth edition) New York: Worth Publishers.
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