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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto St. George

Biopsychology Chapter 1  What is Biopsychology?  Neurons: cells that receive and transmit electrochemical signals  Neuroscience: the scientific study of the nervous system  4 Major Themes of This Book:  Creative thinking  Clinical implications  The evolutionary perspective  Neuroplasticity  Biopsychology: the scientific study of behaviour  Psychology: The scientific study of all overt activities of an organism as well as the underlying internal processes that are related (memory, learning, motivation, perception, emotion, etc.)  Hebb’s theory:  Wrote The Organization of Behaviour in 1949  First comprehensive theory of how complex psychological phenomena (memory, learning, motivation, perception, emotion, etc.)might be produced by brain activity  It discredited the view that psychological functioning is too complex to have its roots in the physiology/chemistry of the brain  Based his theory on experiments involving both humans and laboratory animals, on clinical cases studies, and on logical arguments developed from his own insightful observations of daily life  Types of Research  Nonhuman subjects have 3 disadvantages to human subjects  Rats are most common, but mice, dogs, cats, and nonhuman primates are also used  Their brains and behaviours are more simple than those of humans  Can study biological processes by comparing different species. I.e. comparative approach  For example comparing species that have a cerebral cortex to ones that don’t  Lastly, it is possible to conduct research on them when it’s not possible to study on humans for ethical reasons  Experiments  Between-subjects design: A different group of subjects is tested under each condition  Within-subjects design: The same group of subjects is tested under each condition  Variables  Independent variable: The difference between subjects that were administered a certain treatment and those who were not  Dependent variable: The variable measured by the experimenter to assess the effect of the IV (independent variable)  Any differences in the DV (dependent variable) between the conditions must
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