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PSYB64H3 (200)
Chapter

PSYB64 textbook notes for the entire year


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB64H3
Professor
Janelle Leboutillier

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PSYB64
Chapter 1: Biological Psychology: Scope and Outlook:
What is Biological Psychology?
-biological psychology: the study of the biological bases of psychological processes and behaviour
-aka behavioural neuroscience: the field of study concerned with the ways in which nervous sys
activity manifests in behaviour
-neuroscience: the study of the nervous sys
Five Viewpoints Explore the Biology of Behaviour:
-1. Describing behaviour
-2. Studying the evolution of behaviour
-3. Observing the development of behaviour and its biological charac over the life span
-4. Studying biological mechanisms of behaviour
-5. Studying the applications of biological psychology
-TABLE 1.1 pg 5
Behaviour can be Described According to Different Criteria
-can be described in terms of detailed acts or processes or in terms of results or functions
-description must be precise and reveal the essential features of the behaviour, using accurately defined
terms and units
We Compare Species to Learn How the Brain and Behaviour Have Evolved:
-2 emphases
-the continuity of behaviour and biological processes among species because common ancestry
-species specific differences in behaviour and biology that have evolved as adaptations to diff
envir
-conserved: in the context of evo, referring to a trait that is passed on from a common ancestor to 2 or
more descendant species
The Body and Behaviour Develop Over the Life Span
-ontogeny: the process by which an indiv changes in the course of its lifetime that is, grows up and
grows old
-observing the way in which a particular behaviour changes during ontogeny may give us clues to its
functions and mechanisms
Biological Mechanisms Underlie all Behaviour:
-the history of a species tells us the evolutionary determinants of its behaviour
-we regard the organism as a machine made up of neurons: the basic unit of the nervous sys
-main aim in biological psychology is to examine body mechanisms that make particular behaviours
possible
Research can be Applies to Human Problems:
-a major goal of biological psychology is to use research findings to improve the health and well being of
humans and other animals
Three Approaches Relate Brain and Behaviour
-somatic intervention: an approach to finding relations b/w body variables and behavioural variables
that involves manipulating body structure or function and looking for a resultant change in behaviour

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-it is the inde variable and the behavioural affect is the depen variable
-PG 7 BOX 1.1: We Are All Alike, We Are All Different
-ex of somatic intervention:
-administering a hormone in some animals but not others and comparing their behaviour
-a part of the brain being electrically stimulated
-connection b/w 2 parts of the nervous sys is cut
-behavioural intervention: an approach to finding relations b/w body variables and behavioural
variables that involves intervening in the behaviour of an organisms and looking for resultant changes in
body structure or function
-behaviour is the inde variable and the change in the body is the depen variable
-ex of behavioural intervention:
-putting 2 adults of opposite sex together may lead to increased hormone secretions
-correlation: the covariation of 2 measures:
-no causal relationship!
-shows that 2 variables are linked
-the relationship b/w the brain and body are reciprocal
Neural Plasticity: Behaviour Can Change the Brain:
-the brains of an English speaking child and French speaking child are different
-experience has been shown to affect the number or size of neurons or number and size of connections
b/w neurons
-neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to change in response to experience or the envir
-dendritic spines change shape in seconds
Biological and Social Psychology are Related:
-other indiv can have an effect on the physical structure of your brain!; ie going to class and learning
something alters you brain
-experiment by Cooke:
-took male rats just weaned from their mothers and put them either in a cage alone or in one
with other males to play with and found that the region in the brain that processes odour was smaller in
the lone male rat -> social experience affects the brain structure
-experiment where ppl were asked to put their hand in hot water
-those who were led to believe the water was Very hot, had more activation in the brain than
did other subjects -> it affected the magnitude of the brain response even though the stimulus was the
same
-in most cases biological and social factors continuously interact to affect each other
-biological psychology’s fascination with neural plasticity sets it apart from other neurosciences
Biological Psychologists use Several Levels of Analysis:
-levels of analysis: the scope of experimental approaches.
-ie looking at molecules, nerve cells, brain regions, social environments
-reductionism: the scientific strategy of breaking a sys down into increasingly smaller parts in order to
understand it
-in all fields diff prob are carried to diff levels of analysis
Neuroscience Contributes to our Understanding of Psychiatric Disorders:

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-1/5 ppl around the world suffer from a psychiatric disorder
-mental disorders are both socially and individually costly
-WHO estimates that 15% of all disease burden is due to mental disorders
Animal Research Makes Vital Contributions:
-93% of mammals used in research are lab reared rodents
-researchers have an obligation to minimize discomfort of their animal subjects
The History of Research on the Brain and Behaviour Begins in Antiquity:
-only recently have scientists recognized the central role of the brain in controlling behaviour, the past
emphasis have been on the heart
-ie the heart is where Aristotle located mental capacities
-Hippocrates was one of the first to identify the brain as the centre of mental capacities
-the Greek physician Herophilus advanced our knowledge of the nervous sys by dissecting bodies of
animals and ppl
-Galen reported behavioural changes caused by injuries in gladiators
Renaissance Scientists Began to Understand Brain Anatomy:
-Da Vinci laid the foundations for anatomical drawings which included portions of the nerves and the
brain
-renaissance anatomists saw that the brain had an extraordinary shape
-Renee Descartes proposed the concept of spinal reflexes and a neural pathway for them
-he suggested that that the 2 come into contact in the pineal gland in the brain which he
selected because is a single structure (not located symmetrically in 2 hemis) and he believed it only
existed in humans
-notion of dualism: the notion, promoted by Descartes, that the mind is subject only to spiritual
interactions, while the body is subject only to material interactions -> biological psychologists reject this
idea and say that all processes in the mind can be understood as physical processes
The Concept of Localization of Function Arose in the 19th Century:
-by the end of the 1600s Thomas Willis convinced educated ppl in the Western world that the brain is
the organ that coordinates and controls behaviour
-phrenology: the belief that bumps on the skull reflect enlargements of the brain regions responsible for
certain behavioural faculties, was a popular view at this time and elaborated on the idea of Willis
-Paul Broca in the 1860s argued that language ability was not a property of the entire brain but rather
localized in a restricted brain region
-broca’s area
-a theme emerging in this era was the search for distinguishing differences among brain regions on the
basis of structure and the effort to relate diff kinds of behaviour to diff brain regions
-1890 William Jame’s signalled the beginnings of a modern approach to biological psychology who saw
things such as consciousness as being a property of the nervous sys
-Box 1.2: Is Bigger Better? The Case of the Brain and Intelligence
-Galton attempted to find a correlation b/w head size and intelligence...but he should have been
looking at brain size
-with the invention of non invasive techniques to visualize the brain and better IQ tests, it was
possible to see the relationship b/w brain size and intelligence
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