PSYC06 - Lecture 1 - Psychophysiology Review
What is psychophysiology?
It is a subfield of psychology that studies the embodiment of the mind. How mental
processes are reflected in or cause bodily responses. How bodily responses affect mental
The fundamental assumption is that the human mind is at least an emergent property (the
way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple
interactions) of the human body and possibly a system of the human body.
Monism – The mind and body are not distinct from each other (they are the same). The mind
is a bodily system like any other.
Substance Dualism (Descartes) – The mind and body are composed of different
Property Dualism – The interaction of the different systems of the body create the
mind. The mind is an emergent property of bodily processes.
Identity Thesis – All mental states are embodied corporeally. The implications are:
Understanding bodily responses can inform our understanding of mental states (and vice
versa). Biological and psychological levels of experience must be integrated for
psychologists to study the mind. Argues against reductionism, determinism, and pure
psychologism. State-of-the-art training in psychology must include training in
neurophysiology without abandoning classic psychology.
The Nervous System (The communication system of the body)
Peripheral Nervous System – Everything outside the brain and spinal cord. Somatic, sensory
Function – It maintains homeostasis. They reflect more extreme forms of experience.
Fundamental peripheral events: Stress, sensation, sex, life.
Components – Nerves, organs, glands, tissues, fluids, neurotransmitters
Somatic Nervous System – Composed of efferent neurons that project out of the
CNS and innervates the skeletal musculature.
Striate muscles – (Skeletal) all are electrically insulated from each
other. This means that action potentials spreading over a cell do not
affect neighbouring cells
Smooth muscles – They are multi-unit and operate similar to striate
cells. They are unitary. This means that action potentials spread to other smooth muscle cells via gap junctions (low-resistance connections) that
permit the spread of electrical current between cells, e.g. hormones.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
Function of ANS – It regulates activity of the visceral organs (aka visceral
Branches of ANS
Sympathetic Nervous System – Mobilizes the body in response to
stress. It is typically associated with task engagement and approach
motivation. Positive relationship with heart rate (sympathetic up – heart
rate up, sympathetic down – heart rate down)
Parasympathetic Nervous System – It is the `rest and digest` nervous