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Physiological Psychology Introductions: Areas of ...






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  • Figure 1.1: A dorsal view (from above) and a ventral view (from below) of the human brain . The brain has an enormous number of divisions and subareas; the labels point to a few of the main ones on the surface of the brain.
  • Figure 1.2: Neurons, greatly magnified . The brain is composed of individual cells called neurons and glia.
  • Figure 1.12: Brains of several species . The general plan and organization of the brain are similar for all mammals, even though the size varies from species to species.

Physiological Psychology Introductions: Areas of ... Physiological Psychology Introductions: Areas of ... Presentation Transcript

  • Physiological Psychology Introductions: Areas of biopsychology / Mind/body relations
  • Fig. 1-1, p. 2
    • Biological Psychology is the study of the physiological and genetic basis of behavior.
    • Emphasis is placed upon physiological, evolutionary and developmental mechanisms of behavior.
    • Strong emphasis on brain function.
    • Components of biological psychology
      • Many different areas with many different names.
    • Different names
      • Biological Psychology
      • Physiological Psychology
      • Behavioral Neuroscience
    • The biological basis of behavior
    • Biology heavily influence early psychologists
      • Ex. Luigi Galvani – Late 1700’s
      • Ex. Pierre Flourens – Early 1800’s
    • Heavy influence of Psychophysics
      • Weber – Weber’s law
      • Fechner
    • Psychology begins in 1879
      • Wilhelm Wundt
    • William James – championed the role of evolution and biology in understanding psychological processes
    • Donald Hebb – “The Organization of Behavior” (1949)
    • Wilder Penfield
  • Today’s Biopsychology
    • Very eclectic, multidisciplinary field
      • Should not be rigidly defined
      • Key: brain, behavior relations
    • A part of Neuroscience: the study of the nervous system
    • Many parts to neuroscience
      • Neuroanatomy
      • Neurophysiology
      • Neurochemistry
      • Neuropharmacology
      • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Many areas within Biopsychology
    • Mix of “pure” and “applied” research
    • Physiological psychology
      • Scientific study of brain/behavior in controlled experimental settings
      • Generally uses animal subjects
    • Psychopharmacology – study of the effect of drugs on the brain, behavior, and well as interactions
    • Neuropsychology – Generally studies the effects of brain damage in humans
    • Deals with clinical populations
    • Gathers information via case-studies
    • Works towards treatment
    • Cognitive Neuroscience – cross between cognitive psychology and physiological psychology
    • Experimental exploration of human cognition and the physiological processes involved
    • E.g., fMRI analysis of attention
    • E.g., Event-related potentials and dreaming
    • Neurophilosophy - the interdisciplinary study of neuroscience and philosophy
    • Works both ways:
      • Use neuroscience results to understand philosophy – E.g., Dennett
      • Use philosophy as a basis for the understanding of neuroscience
  • Comparative Psychology
    • Study of the role of evolution in brain and behavior
    • Comparison of behaviors of different species of animals with attention to the phylogenetic and ecological context
    • Includes laboratory research as well as the study of animals in their natural environments (ethology)
    • Psychoneuroimmunology – study of the interactions between the brain and the immune system / endocrine system in regulating behavior
    • Examples
      • Illness and stress
      • wound healing is much slower in psychologically stressed adults
      • Placebo effects
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Brain functioning can be explained at a more microscopic level in terms of neuron and glia activity.
    • Understanding the mind and consciousness is key to biopsychology
  • Fig. 1-2, p. 3
  • Levels of explanation
    • All of the sciences strive to uncover “reality”
    • Many different ways of doing that on many different levels.
    • Understanding behavior
      • Psychology
      • Brain
      • Neural chemistry
      • Physics
    • **Important: all levels are needed
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Biological explanations of behavior fall into four categories:
      • Physiological- emphasis on brain and other vital organs.
      • Ontogenetic- describes the development of a structure or behavior.
      • Evolutionary- focuses upon the evolutionary history of a behavior.
      • Functional- describes why a structure or behavior evolved as it did.
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Deep understanding of a particular behavior is tied to being able to explain the behavior from each of these perspectives.
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Biological explanations of behavior raise the issue of the relationship between the mind and the brain also know as the “mind-body” or “mind-brain problem”.
    • The “mind-brain problem” has a variety of explanations.
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Dualism is the belief that there are different kinds of substances and the mind and the body are separate entities.
      • Defended by French philosopher Rene Descartes.
      • Most common belief among nonscientists.
      • Rejected by most neuroscientists.
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Monism is the belief that the universe is only comprised of one type of substance.
    • Forms of monism include:
      • Materialism - everything that exists is physical by nature.
      • Mentalism - only the mind truly exists.
      • Identity position - mental processes are the same as brain processes but simply described in different ways.
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Explanations of the mind-body relationship do not answer some fundamental questions:
      • Why is consciousness a property of brain activity?
      • What kind of brain activity produces consciousness?
      • How does brain activity produce consciousness?
  • The Mind-Brain Relationship
    • Because “consciousness” is not observable, it’s function is often difficult to define and/ or explain.
    • Solipsism - suggests that “I alone” am conscious
      • Difficulty of knowing if others have conscious experiences is known as the “problem of other minds”.
  • The Use of Animals in Research
    • Animal research is an important source of information for biological psychology but remains a highly controversial topic.
    • Animal research varies on the amount of stress and/ or pain that is caused to the animal itself.
  • The Use of Animals in Research
    • Reasons for studying animals include:
      • The underlying mechanisms of behavior are similar across species and often easier to study in nonhuman species.
      • We are interested in animals for their own sake.
      • What we learn about animals sheds light on human evolution.
      • Some experiments cannot use humans because of legal or ethical reasons.
  • Fig. 1-12, p. 23
  • The Use of Animals in Research
    • Opposition to animal research varies:
      • “ Minimalists” favor firm regulation on research and place consideration upon the type of animal used and the amount of stress induced.
      • “ Abolitionists” maintain that all animals have the same rights as humans and any use of animals is unethical.
  • The Use of Animals in Research
    • Justification for research considers the amount of benefit gained compared to the amount of distress caused to the animal.
      • No clear dividing line exists.
    • Colleges and research institutions in the United States are required to have an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
      • Oversees and determine acceptable procedures.