The endocrine system is our body’s chemical communication system. It operates through glands that secrete hormones through our bloodstream. These hormones travel to the specified organ and bind to the receptor, where a desired response is created. The pituitary gland, also known as the master gland👑, is located in our brain and is controlled by the hypothalamus. It's in charge of things such as metabolism, emotion, sleep, and blood pressure. As you can tell, it's one of the most important systems in our body.
Each component of the endocrine system can be located in very different locations:
Endocrine glands (pineal gland, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland) in your brain
Thyroid and parathyroids in your neck
Adrenal glands near your kidney
Pancreas near your stomach
operate identically to neurotransmitters; therefore, our endocrine and nervous system work closely with one another. However, since the messages of the endocrine system travel through our bloodstream, they are slower
than the fast electrochemical messages of the nervous system. They also last longer
than the nervous system, as hormones take a while to dissipate from our bloodstream. Hormones
also play a huge role in human development.
The following are part of the endocrine system:
|Produces melatonin and helps regulate your circadian rhythm
|Controls the pituitary gland and is very significant in our endocrine system. It releases hormones and has a lot to do with the "4 Fs:" Fighting, Fleeing, Feeding, Mating 🍔🏃
|Controls growth and produces/releases hormones such as oxytocin, which promotes pair bonding and social trust.
|For AP Psych, all you should know about this gland is that it affects metabolism.
|They simply regulate the level of calcium in your blood!
|These glands trigger our flight or fight responses. They also release epinephrine (better known as adrenaline) and norepinephrine. This is connected to the automatic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that controls our involuntary responses. During a flight or fight response, the heart rate or blood pressure is affected.
|Regulates the level of blood sugar🍬 and releases a hormone called insulin. It also helps with digestion!
|Testis and Ovaries
|Reproductive organs in the male and female, respectively. They both release sex hormones to promote growth🌱.
💡It is important not to just memorize the functions of each, but to understand what is going on. The FRQs on the AP Psychology Exam are all about defining the term and applying it to a situation, so try and make connections between each of these and how they work together as a whole/system.
Image Courtesy of Open Source Textbook
The following question is from the Advanced Placement YT Channel
. All credit is given to College Board.
Freddy Schmidlap knows he needs to sit down and watch some AP Review videos on Youtube that he missed. But, he is having trouble making himself do so. When he tries, he feels nervous, a bit angry, and, being a teenager, hungry. Explain how the following terms relate to Freddy's situation.
Epigenetics is the study of how environmental factors influence gene expression. Freddy has an identical twin, named Teddy. Freddy is really nervous about reviewing but Teddy, who is also trying to review, has an elevated stress responses. This is because as a child, he suffered traumatic events, which influenced his gene expression and made him have a different level of stress response.
The hypothalamus is a structure that controls the pituitary gland and helps regulate hunger, thirst, flight or fight, and sex. His hypothalamus is releasing a hormone that is increasing his hunger. *This will be 100% more specific once you get deeper in the course. For now, this is what the response could look like.*
The pancreas regulates insulin levels and sugar in the blood. After Freddy eats, his body will secrete insulin and maintain his regular level of blood sugar.
Which of the following glands interact(s) most directly with all of the others to help regulate body processes
Hint: master gland ❗❓
Answer: A. pituitary
The pituitary gland, called the "master gland" produces hormones that activate other glands such as adrenals, parathyroids, thyroid and ovaries.
As you can tell, knowing the EXACT functions and memorizing minute details is not necessary (but it might help you). Mostly, what College Board is looking for is if you can make inferences 🧐 from generalized concepts. Like in the multiple choice question, you didn't necessarily have to know what the pituitary gland did; all you needed to know was that it acted as the "master gland" and you could solve the problem easily.