CHAPTER ONE NOTES
Psychology: the scientific study of behavior
Biopsychology: the scientific study of the BIOLOGY of behavior (synonyms;
psychobiology, behavioral biology, behavioral neuroscience).
- Biopsychology did not develop into a major neuroscientific discipline until
the 20 century
Donald Hebb: book “The Organization of Behavior”
- Psychological phenomena are produced by brain activity (e.g. perceptions,
emotions, thoughts, memories).
Neuroscience: the scientific study of the nervous system
BIOPSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH APPROACHES
1) Type of subjects – human and non-human
2) Type of studies – experiments and non-experiments
3) Purpose of research – pure and applied research
1) Type of subjects – human and nonhuman subjects
Advantages over nonhumans: - follow instructions, report experiences,
Advantages over humans: - brains and behavior are simpler (reveals
fundamental brain-behavior interactions), fewer ethical restrictions,
comparative approach (study of biological processes by comparing different
2) Types of studies – experiments and nonexperiments
- They differ on ONE factor: control (manipulation) of variables
Experiment: involves the manipulation of variables
Non-experiment: the researcher does not control the variables of interest
(includes quasi-experimental studies and case studies) EXPERIMENTS
- Researcher compares two or more different conditions of the variable of
interest. If different groups of subjects are tested in each condition, it is called
BETWEEN SUBJECTS. If it’s the same group of subjects its called WITHIN
Independent variable: difference between the conditions
Dependent variable: variable measured by researcher to determine if there
is an effect of different conditions.
There must be no differences between conditions except for the independent
Unintended differences between conditions (confounded variables) could
affect dependent variable
- used because it is not always possible to assign subjects to conditions.
Quasi-experimental studies: studies of groups of subjects exposed to
conditions in the real world. (E.g. from textbook: beer drinkers vs. non-
drinkers). They are not real experiments because potential confounded
variables have not been controlled.
Case studies: studies that focus on a single individual.
- usually more in depth than other approaches but may not be generalizable.
Generalizability: the degree to which results can be applied to other cases.
Coolidge Effect: 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 (Lester and Gorzalka experiment).
Lordosis: the arched-back, tail diverted posture of female rodent sexual
3. Purpose of Research: Pure or Applied
Pure research: conducted for the purpose of acquiring new knowledge. Applied research: intended to solve a specific issue. i.e. bring about some
direct benefit to humankind.
DIVISIONS OF BIOPSYCHOLOGY
- Biopsychology is an integrated discipline. There are 6 research approaches
recognized as major divisions: Physiological psychology,