082908 - WHAT IS BIOPSYCHOLOGY In biological psychology...

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WHAT IS BIOPSYCHOLOGY? In biological psychology: focus on CNS Neuroscience: study of the nervous system Behavioral neuroscience: another name for biological psychology 5 key approaches: 1) Describing behavior : philosopher (dissecting bodies was off-limits) observe people and make hypotheses based on behavior What sort of organs cause certain behaviors Many early philosophers thought that the heart was responsible for wisdom/knowledge, controlled everything Much later: behavior and brain relationships; brain causing all these things and not the heart In the 60s, behavior gaining speed; lab rats. Now, rigid when talking about behavior; specific Observing and describing behavior leads to a lot of research 2) Studying evolution of behavior : Humans: 1 of the main differences that we see is that we have a huge cerebral cortex that is much larger than all other mammals; huge frontal cortex (unique about humans) and something of interest to study why did this evolve? What is the purpose of this big cerebral cortex? Hormones: really conserved across the species; fish, rats, gerbils, humans all have some form of testosterone; look at rats: what happens to these rats when testosterone is injected? I bet that would also be similar in humans b/c humans also have testosterone, so it is a way of making generalizations; in our evolutionary history, this component was important (probably still important) things conserved over time must be important 3) Observing the development of behavior over the lifespan : can be done in animals/humans Brain structure, hormonal secretion patterns, bone structure all change over the lifespan and how that changes behavior For ex: In hamsters, fighting patterns change as they age; once they reach puberty, you start to see a reduction in certain types of attacks and increase in other types of attacks, so this different behavior tells us that there is something different going on in the brain and then we can look in and look at the structures of the brain and look at the neurotransmitters in the brain and see what causes these differences and what it means for their development Same w/ humans: ADD/ADHD common in young males, but becomes less common in older people; what goes on in older people that disrupts ADD/ADHD behavior (related to frontal cortex activity), as you age it becomes more and more developed, responsible for your rational and thought- planned behavior that makes you less irrational 4) Studying biological mechanisms of behavior : looks at how things happen For ex : abuse in childhood, often leads to problems later in life (depression, anxiety, etc); abuse seems to be related to these problems Why? How? What researchers look at: mechanisms that would cause these results; what’s happening when someone is abused that causes negative results later on in life? Recent study: childhood sexual abuse and the release of cortisol which is a stress hormone; abused children have way lower levels of cortisol in
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082908 - WHAT IS BIOPSYCHOLOGY In biological psychology...

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