Lecture 1 Physiological Psychology
PSY290H1F John Yeomans
o Daniela Bellcoso
Friday Review Sessions
o Optional, for discussing brain diseases, etc.
o 50 minutes each
o 20% of final grade
o 3 quizzes, but highest 2 grades are used
Biological Psychology Courses is in 4 half-courses:
o PSY290 [taking it!]: Basic brain mechanisms, anatomy, chemistry, etc. Evolution, genes,
o PSY280 [took it!] : Vision and Audition
o PSY270 [taking it!] : Cognition and imaging (Neuropsychology)
o PSY260 [not taking it] : Learning and memory
Why study the brain?
o Medical reasons
Retardation, psychosis, degeneration: stroke, and trauma are long-term,
expensive disorders (amount to about ½ of all medical costs)
o Genetic reasons:
More genes are expressed in brain (80%) than any other organ
o Psychological reasons:
Basis of all our thoughts and feelings
o Philosophical reasons:
What makes mind work? Why are humans special?
What are Thoughts and Feelings?
o Egypt Beating heart (Moving fluids in blood)
o Hippocrates (400 BC): Air moving through brain
Noticed that there are “fluid cavities” called ventricles, which was thought to
allow thoughts, in the form of fluid/air, to pass through the brain.
o Galen (130) Moving fluids (ventricles and nerves)
Similar conclusion to Hippocrates
Looked at how the ventricles were designed to see if it was a map of thoughts.
o Descartes (1662) Dualism: Mind and body separate
Believed it was the moving fluids, which were bouncing off of the pineal gland
o Helmholtz (19 century) Electricity and physical energy
It was discovered that the brain was run by electricity, not fluids.
He proposed that the brain was made of entirely physical forces, not by way of
ventricles but by way of the neurons.
o 20 century: Electrical and chemical signs of neurons work together
Localization of memories, emotions, and cognitions in brain. From synapses to proteins to genes.
Evolution of the Brain
o Our brains can contain vestigial parts that are no longer useful