Biological Psychology Paper Assignment

Biological Psychology Paper Assignment Words: 1140

Running Head: Biological Psychology Paper Biological Psychology Paper Biological Psychology Paper Biological psychology is a vital part of psychology; without it psychology would not be considered a science, rather it may still be considered an art. Biological psychology has an extensive history, and each step has brought us closer to the reality that the brain is our main power source, and how much it affects our behavior. There have been many scientists and theorists that have contributed to the field of biological psychology, each having their own beneficial impact.

As stated, biological psychology is vital to psychology, as well as other fields in psychology and neuroscience. Biological psychology seems to bring to mind many assumptions when it is thought of, and we will evaluate those assumptions as well as the subjects afore mentioned. Definition and Historical Development Biological psychology is defined as being “the study of the brain and how it causes or relates to behaviour” (Wickens, 2005, p. 3); it is often referred to as biopsychology or psychobiology. The past of biological psychology has been a colorful and descriptive past, thanks to the many theorists and scientists in the field.

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The ancient Greeks were one of the first to propose that the brain was related to the mind. “Plato (429 ??? 348 BC) proposed that the brain was the organ of reasoning” (Wickens, 2005, p. 4). An important physician during the Roman Empire was Galen (AD 130 ??? 200); he was “one of the first writers to propose a theory of brain functions based on the ventricles” (Wickens, 2005, p. 4). Galen believed that the heart was important to the body because it “contained the vital spirit that gave the spark of life to the person.

This vital spirit was also seen as providing the ‘substance’ of the mind, and it was transported to a large group of blood vessels at the base of the brain called the rete mirabile (‘wonderufl net’)” (Wickens, 2005, p. 4). IN the 4th century AD, Nemesius, stated that the “lateral ventricles were the site of sensory and mental impressions, the third ventricle was the site or reason and the fourth ventricle was the site of memory” (Wickens, 2005, p. 5). This theory of Nemesius’ was not challenged for 1500 years! Rene Descartes (1596 ??? 1650), believed that the ind and body were completely separate; he also proposed the idea that the pineal gland was where the mind and body worked together; “but, perhaps most important, Descartes’ work provides a great impetus for experimental research, and not least because some of his ideas could be tested” (Wickens, 2005, p. 6). Italian Luigi Galvani experimented with frogs legs and came to the conclusion that “nerves are capable of conducting electricity and their ‘invisible spirit’ must be electrical in nature” (Wickens, 2005, p. 7).

In 1875, anatomist Camillo Golgi “discovered a new stain that allowed individual nerve cells to be observed” (Wickens, 2005, p. 8). This method had a huge impact on the field of biological psychology because it allowed scientists to view a variety of cells in the brain. Ramon y Cajel (1852 ??? 1934) used this technique and he ended up describing “the neural anatomy of almost every part of the brain”; “he was one of the first to understand how information might travel throughout the neural circuits of the brain” (Wickens, 2005, p. 8). Cajel also discovered that the neurons were individual units.

In 1865 Gregor Mendel was the first to propose “the idea that transmissible units were the means by which inheritance occurred” (Wickens, 2005, p. 368). In 1846, Rudolf Virchow, “was the first to show this type of cell in the brain, which he called ‘nevroglie’ (nerve glue) because they appeared to stick the neurons together” (Wickens, 2005, p. 24). “By the turn of the century the study of neuroanatomy had become an established discipline” (Wickens, 2005, p. 12). Otto Loewi helped explain and discover that “neurons communicate with each other, across the synapse, by releasing chemical transmitters” (Wickens, 2005, p. 2). This discovery was a rather pivotal moment for biological science; it aided the discovery that there is the “possibility of modifying brain function (and behaviour) by the use of drugs that affect the action of neurotransmitters” (Wickens, 2005, p. 14). In 1936 John Z. Young found a neuron in a squid that was “large enough to allow the insertion of a stimulating or recording electrode”; mostly everything known about neurons has been discovered by using this research about the giant squid (Wickens, 2005).

Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley made many discoveries using Youngs’ discovery; they “were able to show that the electrical pulse was caused by sudden movements of ions across the neural membrane” (Wickens, 2005, p. 19). In the 1950’s it was found that scientists could trace the chemical pathways in our brain; cells in the adrenal gland would light up when “treated with formaline and exposed to ultraviolet light” (Wickens, 2005, p. 39). With this technique, Dahlstrom and Fuxe distinguished “between noradrenaline (NA) and dopamine (DA)” in 1964 (Wickens, 2005, p. 0). As the above paragraphs prove, the history of biological psychology is long and varied, and the studies are still continuing! Fields Related to Biological Psychology As stated, biological psychology has made the way for psychology, by researching the brain, and making many important discoveries. Biological psychology is also related to “biochemistry, molecular biology, endocrinology, pharmacology and psychiatry” (Wickens, 2005, p. 3); other fields that biopsychology relate to are anatomy, physiology, and neurochemistry.

Since the brain is the powerhouse of our body and mind, you can relate any science based on the human body, to the field of biological psychology. The brain is what tells our body how to act, and react, so having the study of the brain is the most important place to start when it comes to studying the human body, as well as having a basic understanding of the human mind. Assumptions of the Biopsychological Approach When someone hears biological psychology, they might assume that it is what completely explains behavior; when in fact it partially helps to explain our behavior, but many other factors produce our behavior as well.

Many think that …every thought, feeling and behaviour must have a physical or neural basis in the brain. In fact, this is the same as saying that the mind is the product of the brain’s electrical and neurochemical activity. Although there are some philosophical grounds for criticising this viewpoint (Gregory 1981) it must nevertheless be the case that mind and brain are inextricably linked, and this is the main assumption on which biological psychology is based” (Wickens, 2005, p. ). Biological psychology has a past of over 2000 years (Wickens, 2005); it is a vital part of the study of psychology. In order to understand the relationship of the body and mind, we must understand the brain. Biopsychology is related to so many fields, especially those related to the study of the human body, and mind. Without biopsychology we would not have the understanding that we do about our brain and how it affects our behavior. .

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