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Chapter 1

Psychology 46-256 Chapter 1: Notes on Biopsychology as a Neuroscience

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Chapter 1: Biopsychology as a Neuroscience  Human brain weights 1.3kg  Neurons  cells that receive and transmit electrochemical signals  Neuroscience  the scientific study of the nervous system  Does the brain have the capacity to understand something as complex as itself?  The Case of Jimmie G. (the Man Frozen in Time) o Good looking, friendly 49-year-old; intelligent with superior abilities in math and science o Used past tense when talking about his school days; present tense when talking about his early experience in the navy o Man believed he was 19; become confused when asked to describe what he saw in mirror (himself) o Forgot everything that was said or shown to him within a few seconds o Could not remember anything in his early 20s, and not going to remember anything for the rest of his life  Four major themes of the book: o Thinking creatively  thinking in productive, unconventional ways o Clinical implications  pertaining to illness or treatment o Evolutionary perspective  the approach that focuses on the environmental pressures that likely led to the evolution of the characteristics (ex. of bran and behaviour)  Comparative approach  trying to understand biological phenomena by comparing them in different species o Neuroplasticity  adult brain is not a static network of neurons; but a plastic (changeable) organ that continuously grows and changes in response to person's genes and experiences What is Biopsychology?  Biopsychology  the scientific study of the biology of behaviour; psychology is the scientific study of behaviour  Has long history, but biopsychology did not develop into a major discipline until the 20th century  "The Organization of Behaviour" (1949, D. O. Hebb)  developed the first theory of how complex psychological phenomena (ex. perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and memories) might be produced by brain activity o Based his theory on experiments on human and animals, case studies, and observations Relation between Biopsychology and other Disciplines of Neuroscience  Neuroanatomy  the study of the structure of the nervous system  Neurochemistry  the study of the chemical bases of neural activity  Neuroendocrinology  the study of interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system  Neuropathology  the study of nervous system disorders  Neuropharmacology  The study of the effects of drugs on neural activity  Neurophysiology  the study of the functions and activities of the nervous system Types of Research (3 Major Biopsychological Approaches)  Can involve either human or nonhuman subjects (rats are most common) o 3 advantages using animals: Brains and behaviour of nonhuman subjects are simpler than of human subjects (more likely to reveal fundamental brain-behaviour interactions Insights frequently arise from comparative approach  study of biological processes by comparing different species (ex. comparing those without a cerebral cortex) Possible to conduct research on lab animals that isn't possible with human subjects (ethical reasons; fewer ethical constraints on animals)  Involves both experiments and nonexperimental studies (ex. quasiexperimental studies and case studies) o Experiment  method used by scientists to study causation  Between-subjects design  different group of subjects tested under each condition  Within-subjects design  to test the same group of subjects under each cond
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