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PSYCH 261 - Week 1 Textbook Notes (Modules 1.1 - 1.3)

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University of Waterloo
Daniel Smilek

Module 11 The Biological Approach to BehaviourGottfried Leibniz Why is there something rather than nothingUniverse has four fundamental forces gravity electromagnetism nuclear forces strong and weakString theory was meant to prove that this is the only possible way that the universe could beDavid Chalmer proposed the hard problem Given this universe composed of matter and energy why is there such a thing as consciousnessWhat is the relationship between mental experiences and brain activity mindbody problem or mindbrain problemConsciousness should be viewed as a fundamental property of matterOccurs only in certain types of nervous systemsBiological Psychology the study of physiological evolutionary developmental mechanisms of behavior and experienceWe think and act the way that we do because of certain brain mechanisms that are a result of evolutionadaptationnatural selectionNeuroscience is relevant to behavior but includes more detail about anatomy and chemistryNeurons convey messages to one another to the muscles to the glandsGlia cells are the support cells for the neurons dont convey messages themselves but maintain microenvironmentBiological Explanations of BehaviourPhysiological Explanation relates behavior to brain and organ activity o Deals with chemical reactions and other biological machineryOntogenetic Explanation describes how a structure or behavior develops including the influence of genes nutrition experiences and their interactionsEvolutionary Explanation reconstructs evolutionary history of the structure or behavior o Characteristic features of an animal are almost always modifications of a feature found in ancestral species o Ex hair erection makes frightened animals look larger and more intimidating but isnt useful in humansFunctional Explanation describes why a structure or behavior evolved the way that it did o Genetic drift random accidents allow a gene to spread through a small isolated population o Genes that are prevalent in large populations presumably provided some advantage in the past functional explanation identifies why these were evolutionarily selected for
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