1: BIOPSYCHOLOGY AS A NEUROSCIENCE
Testing of how Body & Brain - Suggested that a link exists between the human mind and its physical housing,
worked together the brain
Descartes - The mind controlled body movements while the body supplied the mind with
information about what was happening in the environment.
- Experimentation began on how brain, nerves and muscles might work together.
Doctrine of Specific Nerve
energies/ Localization of Fn
Muller - All the nerves carry the same basic message (electrical impulse), we perceive the
messages of different nerves in different ways.
- A message carried by the optic nerve and auditory nerve produce different
effects because the brain is functionally divided, so different parts receive
different messages from different nerves.
Different Parts of Brain had
different functions - Used phrenology or measurements of the skull size whereby depressions and
Gall & Spurzheim bumps on the skull indicated the size of the underlying area of the brain.
- Size was correlated with personality traits and was used to study murderers, but
was very subjective.
Flourens - Inferred function of a part of the brain by the behaviors that the animal can no
- Broca had a patient who could only say ‘Tan’ due to damage in left frontal lobe
- This was important for production of speech
- In addition to localization, there was lateralization of function, where a function
can be localized to only one side of the brain.
The Organization of Behavior
Hebb - Creation of the first comprehensive theory of how complex phenomena like
thoughts and memories might be produced by brain activity.
2. Biopsychology - Biopsychology is a discipline of neuroscience that tries to discover how various
Discipline & Goals phenomena studied by neurophysiologists, neuropharmacologists,
neuroanatomists, and other neuroscientists relate to one another to produce
psychological phenomena (learning, memory, motivation, perception)
3. Research – Human vs Advantages of Nonhuman Subjects
Nonhuman subjects - Simpler nervous systems
- You can compare many species to understand their biological processes
o Ex. Comparing the behaviour of species that don’t have a cerebral
cortex with those that do
- Fewer ethical constraints
Advantages of Human subjects
- Can follow directions
- Report subjective experiences
- Less expensive
- Have a human brain which is useful when testing language
4. Research – Experiments - Scientists uses experiments to find out causation – what causes what.
Between subjects design
- Different group of subjects is tested under each treatment condition of an
o Ex. 5 subjects are given a reaction time (RT) task that are averaged
among the 5 members
o Another group of 5 are given 5 cups of coffee before doing the same
Within Subjects Design task and scores are averaged
- Same group of subjects are tested under multiple treatment conditions
- Ex. Same subjects are tested twice, once with no coffee and with
Variables coffee the next day. - Independent variables are set or manipulated by the experimenter that produce
different treatment conditions (coffee/no coffee)
- Dependent variables reflect the subject’s behaviour that could be measured and
- In a well-designed experiment, the experimenter can conclude that differences in
dependent variable were caused by independent variable.
- Sometimes, unintended differences between conditions can influence the
- Ex. If someone wasn’t used to having caffeine at all, there might be a
huge difference in their RTs
- A confounded variable or unintended difference can lead to the observed
The Coolridge effect effects on the dependent variable
Lester & Gorzalka - The Coolidge effect is the fact that a copulating male who becomes incapable of
continuing to copulate with one sex partner can often recommence copulating
with a new sex partner
- Subjects in this experiment were hamsters
- Males of most mammalian species become sexually fatigued more readily, thus
attempts to demonstrate this effect in females are often confounded by male
fatigue. (This is the confounding variable)
- To control for it, at the same time a female subject was copulating with one
male, the unfamiliar other male was copulating with another female.
- When both males were given a rest while female copulated with a third male
- Finally, the female was tested with either the familiar male or unfamiliar one.
- Found females displayed lordosis (sexual receptivity position) more vigorously
to unfamiliar males than they did to the familiar males.
5. Research –
Quasiexperimental Design - Examine subjects in real world situations who have self-selected into specific
conditions (ex. Excessive alcohol intake) and have assigned themselves to
- These are subjects who have been exposed to the conditions of interest in the
- The problem with this is that you can’t control for confounding variables
- Ex. Researchers can’t assign humans to control and alcohol group and
expose one group to chronic alcohol exposure to see if alcohol causes
- Alcohol may not be the main cause of brain damage, there could be
differences in education, accidental head injury, diet…
- Study that focus on a single subject and often provide more indepth picture.
o Ex. H.M was amnesic due to temporal lobes were removed to stop
- Problem with generalizability/ extent that results tell us something about general
6. Research – Pure vs - Pure research is motivated by the curiosity of the researcher to find out how
Applied things work and establish building blocks
- Applied research uses building blocks to answer specific questions
7. Divisions of
Physiological Psychology - Explain behaviour by studying physiological processes that control it
- Directly manipulates the brain in controlled experiments (including surgical and
- Subjects always animals