Addiction and neural ageing
Addiction and neural ageing

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Glossary


Glossary for SD805_2
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operant

Term describing behaviour that is freely emitted by an animal and can be reinforced by the experimenter.


operant conditioning

A variety of instrumental conditioning in which an animal emits a behaviour at a time it decides and that behaviour is then reinforced by its consequences. For example, an animal might press a lever in a Skinner box to earn a pellet of food. Not all instrumental conditioning can be described as operant. For instance, where an experimenter puts a rat in a maze and then removes it after its choice, is not described as operant since the timing of behaviour is not under the control of the rat.


operant learning

Learning based upon consequences. Certain classes of behaviour are said to be emitted and, if the consequences are favourable, there is an increase in the tendency to repeat the behaviour.


opiate

A class of drug that includes opium, morphine and heroin.


organ

A distinct structure in the body serving a particular function, e.g. brain or kidney.


organelle

Membrane-bound structure in the cytosol, e.g. mitochondrion, lysosome, chloroplast (in plant cells only).


organic

Term used to describe the majority of compounds that contain carbon. (Some carboncontaining compounds are classified as inorganic, e.g. carbon dioxide, carbonates.)


organ system

A group of organs that all work together, e.g. the cardiovascular system, the urinary system, the digestive system. Also sometimes called body system.


osmosis

The movement of water across a membrane that is freely permeable to water but not to solutes (dissolved substances), from a region of low solute concentration to one where the solute concentration is higher.


osteoporosis

A disease of bones. It is brought about when old bone is lost faster than new bone is gained in the remodelling process.



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