Breedlove, S.M., Watson, N.V. & Rosenzweig, M.R. (2007). Biological Psychology. An Introduction to Behavioral, Cognitive, and Clinical Neuroscience. (Fifth Edition).
Five viewpoints explore the biology of behavior:
- Describing behavior.
- Studying the evolution of behavior.
- Observing the development of behavior and its biological characteristics over the life span.
- Studying the biological mechanism of behavior
- Studying applications of biological psychology – for example its applications to dysfunctions of human behavior.
There are three kinds of behavior:
- Sexual behavior
- Learning and memory
- Language and communication
Darwin: continuity and differences.
- Spices share conserved characteristics because the features first arose in a shared ancestor.
Spieces specific behaviors:
- Different spices have envolved some specific ways of dealing with their environments.
- Is the process by which you change in the course of life time.
- Observing the way in which a particular behavior changes during ontogeny may give a clues to its functions ad mechanism.
Biology underlies all behavior:
To understand the underlying of mechanism of behavior we must regard the organism as a machine made up of billions of nerve cells – neurons. For ex. we want to know how the body grows to produce the capacity of sexual behavior. Or: we want to know the sequence of electrical and biochemical processes that occur when we learn something.
Three approaches to understand the relationship between the brain and behavior:
1) Somatic interventions – the independent variable àalter a structure or function of the brain or body to see how this changes behavior.
- A hormone is administered to some animals, but not to others – various behaviors of the two groups or later compared.
- A part of the brain is stimulated electrically, and behavioral effects are observed.
2) Behavioral (psychological) interventions – the independent variable àThe scientists intervene in the behavior of an organism and look for resulting changes in body structure or function.
- putting two adults of opposite sex together may lead to increased secretion of hormones
- Exposing a person or animal to a visual stimulus provokes changes in electrical activity and blood flow in parts of the brain.
To find the extent to which a given body measure varies with a given behavioral measure.
- Are people with bigger brains more intelligent than others?
- Are individual differences in sexual behavior correlated with levels of certain hormones in the individual?
- Is the severity of schizophrenia correlated to the magnitude of changes in the brain structure?
Neural plasticity: Behavior van change the brain:
Neural plasticity à the ability of the brain – both in development and in adulthood – to be changed by the environment and by experience.
Plasticity à a structure weak enough to yield toad influence, but strong enough to yield all at once.
Parts of neurons known as dendritic spines appear to be in constant motion, changing shape in the course of seconds.
Other individuals have an effect on the physical structure of your brain.
The mechanism of learning and memory is important for understanding social behavior (because most aspects of social behavior are learned).
The socially induced psychological expectations affected the magnitude of the brain response (someone told you that the water was going to be very hot).
The level of testosterone in a man’s circulation affects his dominance behavior and aggression. Winning something raises the level of testosterone.
Biological psychologists use several levels of analysis
Levels of analysis range from social interactions to the brain, continuing to successively less-complex units until we arrive at single nerve cells and their simpler, molecular constituents.
Neuroscience contributes to our understanding of psychiatric disorders.
Helps to understand brain disorders and devise treatments strategies.
Information from the left and right sides of the body are integrated by pathways that connect the two sides of the brain. But what happens if these connections are severed? Can we then observe two different types of consciousness?
The brain sides have functional differences.
Laboratory and clinical approaches complement each other.
- Basic research and clinical practice influence each other.
Two brains in one head:
- Information from the right and the left sides of the body is integrated by pathways that connect the two sides of the brain.
- There are functional differences between the cerebral hemispheres of human brains.