September Fourth, 2010
Dr. Giselle L. Gourrier
Psychology touches many areas of life including such areas as memory, stress, therapy, perception, learning, and personality, to name a few. Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. Because there is a vast variety of research areas to be studied the field is divided into several subfields. The field of biological psychology, also known as biopsychology, behavioral neuroscience and psychobiology, is interested in how behavior is related to biological processes. The viewpoint of biological psychology is that human behavior is the result of internal physical, chemical, and biological processes. Biopsychology aims to uncover explanations for behavior through brain activity, the nervous system, physical factors, genetic makeup, the endocrine system, bio-chemistry, and evolution (Robins, Gosling & Craik, 1999). Historical Beginnings
Historically, biopsychology can be dated back to the Ancient Greeks. Plato was the first to propose that the brain was the organ of reasoning unlike Aristotle, who believed this was the heart’s function. This idea was supported by Claudius Galen, who was the most influential physician of the Roman Empire. He pioneered the study of anatomy and based on animal observations and vivisection, was able to identify and describe cranial nerves. His research regarding human anatomy included three connected body systems: the brain, the heart, and the liver. Through dissection on animals he was able to make assumptions about human anatomy (some correct, others incorrect) which remained popular for more than 1500 years (Frampton, 2008). These ideas were later challenged and altered by philosophers and psychologists who were at the forefront of the development of biopsychology. Theorists of Biopsychology
Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, introduced a theory known as dualism that changed...
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