1. What is biological psychology?
Biopsychology is the scientific study of the biology of behavior—see Dewsbury (1991). Some refer to this field as psychobiology, behavioral biology, or behavioral neuroscience; but I prefer the term biopsychology because it denotes a biological approach to the study of psychology rather than a psychological approach to the study of biology (Pinel, 2009). Another interesting definition came from Linda Walsh who is a professor of psychology at the University of Norther Iowa. She simply stated Bio-psychologists study the biological events - genetic, neural, endocrine- that underlies each and every one of our thoughts, feelings, and actions (Walsh, 2011).
2. What is the historical development of biological psychology?
The history of biological psychology can be traced back as far as Avicenna (980-1037 CE) Avicenna was a physician who recognized in the treatment of illness involving emotions and is attributed to creating a method in which there is a correlation between heart rate and inner feelings. This discipline continued through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. William James (1890) states that an understanding of psychology is something that should include an understanding in biology (New World Encylopedia , 2007).
3. Name one to three important theorists associated with biological psychology.
Three important theorist that can be associated with biological psychology are Avicenna as described above was instrumental in stating that mood disorders occur when there is a change in breath. When one is happy there is an increase in breathing thus increasing the amount of moisture causing the brain to lose control over rational matters, which lead to mental disorders. Another theorist associated with biological psychology is Rene’ Descartes. He was first to clearly identify the mind has a consciousness and is self-aware leaving the brain to be a tool for intelligence. Descartes also elaborated on a theory in which the pneumatics of bodily fluids could explain reflexes and other motor behavior. Edward Osborne Wilson has been noted for his work unifying sciences of physics and rules of basic biology. Wilson often admitted he could be wrong and challenged those around him to prove him wrong. (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2004)
4. Describe the relationship between biological psychology and other fields in psychology and neuroscience.
Biological psychology is defined as the scientific study of the biological bases of behavior and mental states. Both neuroscience and biological study both the nervous system by using things like MEG’s and fMRI’s. One may have a hard time saying neuroscience and biological psychology are one in the same. I have heard them interchanged since I wanted to become a psychologist.
Another process that could be directly linked to biological psychology could be neuropsychology. Neuropsychology is a division of the science that attempts to understand the way structure and function of the brain relate to behavior and psychological processes.
5. Describe the major underlying assumptions of a biopsychological approach.
Anyone can suffer from a mental illness if they are subjected to enough trauma. Mental illness can be created along a range of severity beginning with borderline issues to psychosis. There can be a mixture of harmful environments to psychic conflict to cause a mental illness. There is a boundary between insanity and normality.