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Lecture 2

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PSY 325
Karen Milligan

Biological Theories Structural Theories Abnormalities in the structure of the brain cause mental disorders People who suffer brain damage or lesions show problems in psychological functioning that are specific to that area of the brain. Cerebral cortex plays a role in higher cognitive thinking Perception, language, consciousness, memory, thinking Temporal lobe – memory, emotion, hearing, and language Frontal lobe – decision-making, problem solving, and planning Parietal lobe – reception and processing of sensory info from body Occipital System – Vision Limbic System Amygdala: 85% of disorders have a cause resulting from a problem in this area Deals with the recognition of emotion, and fear (fight or flight) Lesions in this area can bring about emotionally charged behavior Hippocampus Long term memory formation Certain emotional memories will activate certain impulses in the brain and you begin to associate emotions with memories Emotionally-charged memories will be remembered more readily Hypothalamus Regulating eating, drinking, and sexual behaviors Control center in terms of the body’s functional systems Produces hormones in response to stress (physical or psychological) Biochemical Theories Imbalances in neurotransmitters or hormones or poor functioning of receptors for neurotransmitters causes mental disorders Neurotransmitters are ‘messengers’– they carry impulses from one neuron to another in the brain or other parts of the nervous system Increased or decreased levels of neurotransmitters can cause psychological disorders – generally by way of too many neurotransmitters released into the synaptic gap Amalfunction in receptors can also be a cause for disorder Inefficient enzymes may not break down the neurotransmitter (or even break it down too much) that could also cause an imbalance 4 Main Neurotransmitters Serotonin Too little serotonin causes anxiety and depression Dopamine Schizophrenia, paranoia, and even Parkinson’s Deals with reinforcement and reward Can be affected by alcohol Deals with muscle control (ie Parkinsons) Norepinephrine Deals with excitation Related toADHD and anxiety disorders Cocaine and other stimulants cause an increase in this, hence the stimulating effect of these drugs GABA Deals with inhibitory actions Dampens effect of other neurons All neurotransmitters can interact and the malfunction of one can cause a disruption in the function of another Genetic Theories An accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders Addresses two main question To what extent are behaviors or behavioral tendencies inherited? What are the processes by which genes affect behavior? Genetics only pass down a PREDISPOSITION of a disorder, not the disorder itself. 46 Chromosomes 23 from dad 23 from mom One pair is the sex chromosomes Alterations in the structure or number can result in disorders Structural differences are most common It isn’t the number of genes but the sequencing of genes that appears to be important Treatment Medication Phenothiazines The Ca
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