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Biological Psychology

Kirstyn Mixa PSY/340 November 19, 2010 Brigitte Crowell Biological Psychology As a study, psychology has many branches within itself. Each thought of psychology throughout history has brought about another school of psychology. Psychology or philosophy enthusiasts and scholars alike have taken interests in not only understanding the themes of psychology but have contributed to the creation of another branch. So, of course, somewhere along the line was the dawning of a new era of psychology: biological psychology.

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In the following composition the reader will learn the meaning of biological psychology and its significance, history of this branch, pioneers of the sect, relationships bio-psy has with other branches of psychology and neuroscience(s), and the assumptions generated through practicing biological psychology. Biological Psychology Definition of Biological Psychology Biological psychology, often referred to as biopsychology, is the branch of psychology which studies the relationship between the human brain and human behavior(s), (Wickens, A. P. 005); it is the field of psychology which studies the physical basis of psychological phenomena. In the formal study of biological psychology, there was said to be a strict and codependent relationship between genetics and the outcome of a person’s personality, (Richardson, R. D. 2006). Pioneers such as Charles Darwin, William James, and William Sheldon have been credited with defining biopsychology as a formal study. History of Biological Psychology Biological psychology, which is also known as behavioral neuroscience, got its start in the later part of the 19th century, (Kowalski, R. & Western, D. 2009).

A psychology enthusiast by the name of William James became interested in biology after reading Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species. James questioned Darwin’s theories and tested each presumption. The performance of doing so resulted in the formal school of biological psychology. James studied the possibility of a psyche that dealt with our perception of life as well as with movement, (Richardson, R. D. 2006). The audience should keep in mind though, not any one person can assume all responsibility for creating any branch of psychology as that would mean to ignore the stigmas that had influenced these men along the way, (Goodwin, C.

J. 2008). Theorists on the Forefront of Biological Psychology Charles Darwin As has been noted above, Charles Darwin published a very controversial book in 1859 which proposed the theory of evolution. Darwin presentation of such a theory entailed stating the human brain was progressing over time. This book also claimed that with evolution, behaviors also changed over time. This publication was a major stepping stone for other philosophers and psychologists to produce more thoughts on this subject; after all, psychology is based off of questioning theories which have already been set in place.

William James As mentioned earlier, William James has been credited with being known as the “father of behavioral neuroscience,” (Goodwin, C. J. 2008). James had already made his mark in psychology after writing many publications focusing on the new social science of psychology. He wrote of religion in psychology and the sense of mysticism, and also of pragmatism, (Richardson, R. D. 2006). It was not until after Darwin’s publication on the theory of evolution that James took on biology as his next focal point in his psychological works.

Even after studying the relationships between the brain and behavior, James still claimed humans, whether or not we are an intelligent species, are all ignorant at times, (James, W. 1983). Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud is one of the more famous pioneers of psychology. From psychologists focusing on biology before him, Freud was able to form psychoanalysis which spotlighted the functioning of the brain and how different stimuli affect different parts of the brain therefore impacting the behaviors of people.

Psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious mind and on human psychological functioning and behavior. He also presented a theory to the world of psychology concerning the id, ego, and superego. This theory illustrates clearly how the brain is related to a person’s behavior. Relationships Associated with Biological Psychology The first relationships held with this school of psychology that come to mind are behavioral psychology and cognitive psychology. Focusing solely on behavior was a result of the school of behavioral neuroscience.

Behaviorism and cognitive psychology were being studied almost simultaneously; some say cognitive psychology was a result of denying the theories associated with behaviorism while others claim behavioral psychology was a result of the studies of cog-psy. John B. Watson, the founder of behaviorism, stated that there must be physical/external evidence for an investigation to hold validity, (Wolman, B. B. 1989). The term behavioral psychology seems deceiving since biological psychology is also known as behavioral neuroscience and the views of these two schools contradict each other on many occasions.

Cognitive psychology rejected behaviorism and brought back many of the theories associated with biopsychology. Unlike behaviorism and similar to biopsychology, cog-psy does not need physical evidence in order to be considered valid. Cognitive psychology and biopsychology share the use of neuroscience and the concentration of actions and reactions of the human body. Assumptions of a Biological Approach to Psychology Biological approaches to psychology aides many clinicians these days in the diagnoses of mental disorders.

For example, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) can be diagnosed by a physician but holds most validity with the help of a psychologist- a biological psychologist. Another theory deduced from using a biological approach to psychology is that “it runs in the family. ” Biological psychology has made a tremendous influence on the medical world in aiding in the treatment of mental disorders. It was psychologists that determined schizophrenia is more likely to arise in children whose fathers were older than 50 at time of impregnation, (Bhattacharya, S. 2004). Conclusion At this point, the composition should have conveyed to the audience iological psychology’s history, the people that made it happen, and where you can find traces of this branch of psychology. There should be nothing left to question about the general idea of behavioral neuroscience. This school of psychology will continue to be recognized for its tremendous influences on the formal social science of psychology because of the publications, investigations, and theories birthed because of the original question: Is there a relationship between the brain and behavior? If so, what is that relationship exactly?

References Wickens, A. P. (2005). Foundations of Biopsychology (2nd ed. ). New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall. Richardson, R. D. (2006). William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co. Kowalski, R. & Western, D. (2009). Psychology (5th ed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Wolman, B. B. (1989). Dictionary of Behavioral Science. New York, NY: Academic Press Inc. James, W. (1983). Talks to Teachers on Psychology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bhattacharya, S. (2004-10-24). Mental Health: Father’s age linked to schizophrenia risk. Message posted to http://www. newscientist. com


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