Since many of us have come from technical backgrounds, we have been compiling this list of neuroscience-related terms:


Afferent - Conveying towards the center. Alpha motor neurons - large lower motor neurons of the brainstem and spinal cord. They innervate extrafusal muscle fibers of skeletal muscle and are directly responsible for initiating their contraction. Arcuate - forming or resembling an arch. Axodendritic - Related to or being the synapse between the axon of one nerve cell and the dendrite of another.


Capacitance - A measure of the amount of electric charge stored (or separated) for a given electric potential. Caudal - Pertaining to the tail or posterior or hind part of a body (more anatomical terms). Cervical Spine - The vertebrae immediately behind the skull. Collateral Fiber - A lateral branch of an axon. Commissure - A tract of nerve fibers passing from one side to the other of the spinal cord or brain. Cortex - The outermost layer of an organ (i.e. the brain).


Distal - The point on the appendage farthest from where it is attached to the body. Dorsal column nuclei - a pair of nuclei in the brainstem. The name refers collectively to the cuneate nucleus and gracile nucleus, which are present at the junction between the spinal cord and the medulla oblongata. Both nuclei contain secondary neurons of the dorsal column-medial lemniscus pathway, which carries fine touch and proprioceptive information from the body to the brain. Double dissociation - The situation where a lesion at site A produces a disturbance in function X but not Y, and a lesion at site B produces a disturbance in function Y but not X.


Efferent - Conveying away from the center. Empiricist - The view that knowledge arises from experience. Extrafusal muscle fiber - Muscle fibers that are innervated by alpha motor neurons and generate tension by contracting, thereby allowing for skeletal movement.


Fossa - A hollow or depressed area.


Gamma motor neurons - a component of the fusimotor system, the system by which the central nervous system controls muscle spindle sensitivity. Gyrus - A ridge on the cerebral cortex.


Intrafusal muscle fiber - Muscle fibers which are innervated by gamma motor neurons and thus serve as a sensory proprioceptor.


Laminar flow - When a fluid flows in parallel layers, with no disruption between the layers.


Magnocellular parts (M cells) - Cells in the brain concerned primarily with visual perception, in particular these cells are responsible for resolving motion and coarse outlines. Muscle spindle - The function of the muscle spindle is to provide proprioceptive feedback for the movement, position and extension of muscles. Muscle tone - the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles.


Neurite - Any projection from the cell body of a neuron can be referred to as a neurite. This projection can be either an axon or a dendrite. Nativism - The view that certain skills or abilities are 'native' or hard-wired into the brain at birth.


Parsimony - A 'less is better' concept of frugality. Aka, Occam's Razor. Parvocellular parts - The of a nucleus in the brain containing small-bodied, punctate neurons. Piagetian - Relating to, or dealing with Jean Piaget or his theories or methods with respect to child development. Pia mater - The innermost layer of the meninges—the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Potentiate - to increase the strength or degree of activity of something. Proximal - Describes the area where the appendage joins the body. Pyramidal tract - A major pathway of the central nervous system, originating in the sensorimotor areas of the cerebral cortex and generally descending through the brain stem to the spinal cord. The fibers of the pyramidal tract transmit motor impulses that function in the control of voluntary movement.


Reticular - Resembling a net in form, or marked by complexity. Rostral - Pertaining to the 'nose' or anterior or front of the body (more anatomical terms).


Saltatory - Proceeding by leaps rather than by smooth, gradual transitions. Somatosensory system - The somatosensory system is a diverse sensory system comprising the receptors and processing centres to produce the sensory modalities such as touch, temperature, proprioception (body position), and nociception (pain). Somatotopic arrangement - The maintenance of spatial organisation within the CNS (i.e. sensory information on the hand remains next to sensory information on the arm throughout the spinal cord and brain). Spasticity - a disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) in which certain muscles continually receive a message to tighten and contract. Stellate - Arranged or shaped like a star. Sulcus - A depression or fissure in the surface of an organ. Synergist muscles - Muscles moving a joint in the same direction as another muscle.


Transection - A cross section along a long axis. Transfection - The infection of a bacterial cell with viral nucleic acid and the subsequent replication of the virus.


Vasomotor - Relating to the nerves and muscles that cause the blood vessels to constrict or dilate. Vestibular system - is the sensory system that provides the dominant input about movement and equilibrioception.


Xenopus - A genus of carnivorous frog native to Africa.