Dr. Giselle L. Gourrier Psychology touches many areas of life including such areas as memory, stress, therapy, perception, learning, and personality, to name a few.
Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Because there is a vast variety of research areas to be studied the field is divided into several subfields. The field of biological psychology, also known as biopsychology, behavioral neuroscience and psychobiology, is interested in how behavior is related to biological processes.The viewpoint of biological psychology is that human behavior is the result of internal physical, chemical, and biological processes.
Biopsychology aims to uncover explanations for behavior through brain activity, the nervous system, physical factors, genetic makeup, the endocrine system, bio-chemistry, and evolution (Robins, Gosling & Craik, 1999). Historical Beginnings Historically, biopsychology can be dated back to the Ancient Greeks. Plato was the first to propose that the brain was the organ of reasoning unlike Aristotle, who believed this was the heart's function.This idea was supported by Claudius Galen, who was the most influential physician of the Roman Empire.
He pioneered the study of anatomy and based on animal observations and vivisection, was able to identify and describe cranial nerves. His research regarding human anatomy included three connected body systems: the brain, the heart, and the liver. Through dissection on animals he was able to make assumptions about human anatomy (some correct, others incorrect) which remained popular for more than 1500 years (Frampton, 2008).These ideas were later challenged and altered by philosophers and psychologists ho were at the forefront of the development of biopsychology.
Theorists of Biopsychology Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, introduced a theory known as dualism that changed the popular view of the time period. He maintained that the mind and body were two separate entities. Descartes discovered that the human body exhibited mechanical and reflexive responses through observations of animal behaviors and live dissection.His discoveries of the control cerebrospinal fluid enacted through the nerves of the body shifted the focus of psychology toward more experimental forms f research to explain behavior (Wickens, 2005). Hans Eysenck was biological theorist who linked aspects of personality to biological processes.
The involvement of neurotransmitters that are responsible for sending and receiving messages from the brain to the rest of the body, were identified as having an effect on movement and learning.Eysenck maintained that introverts, for example, had high cortical arousal, causing the avoidance of stimulation. Conversely, Eysenck believed extroverts had study different transmitters and determine their effect on behavior. Another nfluential theorists of biopsychology was William James, an American psychologists trained in the medical field.
His work included one of the earliest textbooks in the field arguing that psychology should be grounded in the understanding of biology (Shultz, 2004).Major Assumptions of Biopsychology A large amount of the experimental literature in neuroscience comes from the study of non-human species such as rats and monkeys. The notion that human beings share biological similarities with other species creates a relationship with biopsychology and other branches including comparative and evolutionary sychology as well as neuropsychology that mainly focus on the behaviors of those with nervous system disorders. The major underlying assumptions of the biopsychological approach are that the mind and the brain are inextricably linked.To link the brain to behavior one must have an understanding of how the parts of the brain are connected through neuroanatomy as well as how the neurons work through neurophysiology.
The viewpoint of biopsychology is that psychology should be seen as a science, to be studied using the scientific method. Behavior can be largely explained in terms of biology through the study of genes and hormones as umans have evolved over millions of years adapting behaviors to the environment. * Conclusion Biopsychology maintains that all behavior has a root in physiological factors and thus determined by biology.Many human behaviors are based on genetics or biology that has evolved over time in order to adapt to the environment. Biopsychology provides a better comprehension of behavior in humans.
Combining psychology with biology enables researchers to identify how certain environments can interact with biological makeup and influence behaviors. Understanding and testing how parts of the brain ork using different research methods enables psychologists to find data that hopefully will enhance the understanding of one's own mental processes.