decorative star graphic

Top of Page


Links:      •  Module Self Test
                •  Module (Print Ready)
                 •  Module Index

Ψ Brain's Building Blocks
- Transmitters -

Ψ  Transmitters (chemical messengers) can be excitatory or inhibitory.

    Neurotransmitters: A special class of transmitters, neurotransmitters are chemical substances that carry impulses from one nerve cell to another; found in the space (synapse) that separates the transmitting neuron's terminal (axon) from the receiving neuron's terminal (dendrite).

       Neurotransmitters have unique chemical keys and chemical locks.
Ψ  Some better understood neurotransmitters are:

 • Serotonin which affects neurons involved in sleep, appetite, sensory perception, temperature regulation, pain suppression, & mood.
 • Norepinephine which affects neurons involved in increased heart rate, & the slowing of intestinal activity during stress, & neurons involved in learning, memory, dreaming, waking from sleep, & emotion. Note: Low levels of serotonin & norepinephrine have been associated with severe depression.
 • Dopamine which affects neurons involved in voluntary movement, learning, memory, emotion, & possibly, response to novelty.
 • Acetylcholine which affects neurons involved in muscle action, cognitive functioning, memory , & emotion.
 • Glutamate functions as the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.
 • GABA functions as the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Alcohol mimics GABA neurons & opens GABA locks. Oops!

Ψ  New (other) Transmitters;
•   Endorphins: some endorphins function as neurotransmitters, but most act primarily by altering the effects of neurotransmitters by limiting or prolonging their effects. The brain's own pain killer.
•   Anandamide: (similar to THC the active ingredient of marijuana). May help in the regulation of emotion.
•   Nitric oxide: (emotional regulator) (a.k.a. laughing gas)

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates