Biological Perspective Overview


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Biological Perspective : 

Biological Perspective Comparative Method Physiology Investigation of Inheritance (Genetics) 3 ways this perspective is relevant to the study of Psychology:

Comparative Method : 

Comparative Method Different species of animal can be studied and compared Animal species comparisons can help in the search to understand human behaviour

Physiology of Psychology : 

Physiology of Psychology Central Nervous System The Brain Evolution of the Brain How the nervous system and hormones work How the brain functions How changes in structure and / or function can affect behavior.

Investigation of Inheritance : 

Investigation of Inheritance What an animal inherits from its parents, mechanisms of inheritance (Genetics). *For example, we might want to know whether high intelligence is inherited from one generation to the next.

Historical Perspective of The Biological Approach:Theorist to Know : 

Historical Perspective of The Biological Approach:Theorist to Know Pierre – Paul Broca Father of Biological Psychology Roger Sperry Split Brain Phineas P. Gage Great Great Uncle Of Fred Gage Link *Rejuvenating nerve Cells Tiffany Field Touch Therapy William T. Greenaugh Enriched Environment – Increased Achievement

Paul Broca : 

Paul Broca M. Leborgne, famously referred to as " Tan ", died from gangrene on Broca's surgical ward. Tan was a speechless and hemiplegic patient. Broca performed a detailed post-mortem examination on Tan's brain, and found a superficial lesion in the left frontal lobe. To support his findings, a similar post-mortem examination done a few weeks later confirmed that there was a similar lesion in this person also. This section in the brain, referred to as the left inferior frontal gyrus of the brain was then determined to be the center for speech, today called Broca's area. This was one of the first discoveries of a separation of function between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It was also one of the first indications that specific brain functions exist in particular locales in the brain, and that there is a connection between the anatomy of the brain and what the brain does ( Sagan, 1979 ).

Slide 7: 

The outcome of the Sperry and Gazzaniga Split Brain Research is that the right and left hemispheres are specialized in different tasks. Left: analytical and verbal Right: space perception tasks and music *The right can only produce rudimentary words, but it contributes to the contributes emotional context to language.

Slide 8: 

Work on Alzheimer’s Disease Spinal cord repair IN 1998 discovered that the human brain produces new nerve cells in adulthood. *Conducted studies that show, physical exercise accelerates the rate at which these cells reproduce. Fred Gage - From the Salk institute in La Jolla

Tiffany Field: Touch Therapy : 

Tiffany Field: Touch Therapy 1. Facilitates weight gain in preterm infants2. Enhances attentiveness3. Alleviates depressive symptoms4. Reduces pain5. Reduces stress hormones6. Improves immune function

William T. Greenaugh: Nurture Enhances Nature : 

William T. Greenaugh: Nurture Enhances Nature "Bright rats/dull rats" research. Rats that were placed in a stimulating environment during infancy learned maze routines more quickly than rats that were sensory deprived. Currently studying the effects of Exercise on Learning

Physiology of Psychology : 

Physiology of Psychology

Slide 12: 

FRONTAL LOBE Located in front of the central sulcus. Concerned with reasoning, planning, parts of speech and movement (motor cortex), emotions, and problem-solving. PARIETAL LOBE Located behind the central sulcus. Concerned with perception of stimuli related to touch, pressure, temperature and pain. TEMPORAL LOBE Located below the lateral fissure. Concerned with perception and recognition of auditory stimuli (hearing) and memory (hippocampus). OCCIPITAL LOBE Located at the back of the brain, behind the parietal lobe and temporal lobe. Concerned with many aspects of vision.     Hear IT!

Functions of the Cerebral Cortex : 

Functions of the Cerebral Cortex

Chemical Messengers : 

Chemical Messengers Neurotransmitters: Versitile Couriers Endorphins: The Brain’s Natural Opiates Hormones: Long-Distance Messengers

Neurotransmitters : 

Neurotransmitters Serotonin: affects neurons involved in sleep, appetite, sensory perception, temperature regulation, pain suppression, and mood Dopamine: affects neurons involved in voluntary movement, learning, memory, and emotion Acetylcholine: affects neurons involved in muscle action, cognitive functioning, memory, an emotion Norepinephrine: affects neurons involved in increased heart rate and the slowing of intestinal activity during stress, and neurons involved in learning, memory, dreaming, waking from sleep, and emotion GABA: functions as the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain Glutamate: functions as an important exitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and plays a critical role in long-term memory

Endorphins : 

Endorphins Makes Pain bearable in stressful situations May be linked to pleasures of social contact *A child’s initial motive for seeking affection and cuddling – that, in effect, a child attached to a parent is a child addicted to love.

Hormones : 

Hormones Adrenaline (Epinephrine) : Activate the Sympathetic nervous system, which in turn increases your arousal level and prepares you for action. *Pupils dilate, heart beats faster, breathing speeds up, blood-sugar levels rise, providing your body with more energy. Melatonin: pineal gland Biological and Circadian rhythms. ( Hypothalamus) Seems to directly promote sleep. Sex hormones (Androgens – testosterone) Males (Estrogens – progesterone)

Contributions and Limitations of the Biological Perspective : 

Contributions and Limitations of the Biological Perspective Rejection of Extreme Environmentalism An Appreciation for the Role of Physical Health in Psychological Functioning A More Accurate Understanding of some Mental and Emotional Disorders Biological Reductionism Premature Conclusions Unwarranted Inferences About Cause and Effect Biological Politics + -

Rejection of Extreme Environmentalism : 

Rejection of Extreme Environmentalism Eugenics to the extreme: - Nazi Germany and the Super Race. - Social Darwinism (Holocaust, extermination of 12 millionJews, Gypsies, homosexuals, mentally ill, and physically disabled) *Fear of associating Biological Psychology to Racism. To uphold the optimistic Western belief in equality… The Popularity of Behaviorism Biological perspective has gained momentum in recent years. Rejecting any association with the extremes of the WWII era. Psychology (studying human behavior must include Physiology, Genetics, and the comparative study of animals.)

Appreciation for the Role of Physical Health in Psychological Functioning : 

Appreciation for the Role of Physical Health in Psychological Functioning Health Psychology Tiffany Fields, Fred Gage Biological findings impact our understanding of Health, as well social issues (such as effects of poverty, toxins, and malnutrition) *How they may effect behavior and level of intellegence.

A More Accurate Understanding of Some Mental and Emotional Disorders : 

A More Accurate Understanding of Some Mental and Emotional Disorders Recent advances in Biology and Biopsychology have shown that disorders that were thought to be purely psychological or the result of aging actually involve genetic, neurological, or biochemical abnormalities. Senility: formerly regarded as inevitable to aging… found that cause is medications, harmful combinations of meds, and over – the – counter drugs (antihistamines and sleeping pills). Alzheimer’s studies discovered protein damages nerve endings and the chromosome 19 may increase chance of late onset Alzheimer’s. The Human Genome Project: Biological Research brings hope that genetic therapies will offer ways of preventing or treating mental disorders, including depression, antisocial personality disorder, and schizophrenia.

Biological Reductionism * an oversimplification of complex personal and social problems solely in terms of a few physiological mechanisms. : 

Biological Reductionism * an oversimplification of complex personal and social problems solely in terms of a few physiological mechanisms. All perspectives can fall prey to reductionism, but in today’s “media hype” world, the nature of this perspective has people looking for quick fixes and easy answers – a pill, hormone injection, or brain tissue transplant… * Example: comparing moods of men and women… commonly miss – held that PMS is a proven reason for women’s mood swings. There is very little conclusive data presented to support this belief. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MEDIA FOCUS.

Premature Conclusions : 

Premature Conclusions Public acceptance of sudden dramatic scientific breakthroughs. *remember that (despite what Mr. Ritter says) science (including the human sciences) is a painstaking process. Theory Building… Today’s Media often overstates the breakthrough biological finding. Examples: A gene was reported for bipolar disorder (manic depression); the finding was not replicated. A gene reported for a kind of alcoholism, not replicated. A gene for chronic worrying, not replicated.

Unwarranted Inferences About Cause and Effect : 

Unwarranted Inferences About Cause and Effect Is Biology effecting the behavior? Is the behavior effect Physiology? Or both? * Greenough: Rats that were in enriched environment developed heavier cortexes than rats in a dull environment.

Biological Politics : 

Biological Politics Finding can be misused or misinterpreted depending on what political spin is necessary. Examples: Liberals and egalitarians would fear research on possible links to genes and criminal violence that would promote racism, stigmatize poor people, and pull resources away from social programs. Conservatives would play down studies that show biological origins of homosexuality to win over the religious fundamentalist who would argue that it is a learnable behavior that can be changed.

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