Complete Psychology


Section 2 Psychobiology

Chapter 6 Introduction to psychobiology and genetics
This chapter consists of three broad sections. The first is an introduction to the psychobiological perspective and its diversity. The second examines the scientific nature of animal experiments and the use of animals in research within the UK. The third section focuses on evolution and genetics. The process of evolution suggested by Darwin explained how the process of natural selection influences subsequent generations; Mendelian genetics helped clarify how this process occurs and modern molecular biology has narrowed the focus to individual genes on chromosomes.

Chapter 7 The brain, neurons and nervous systems
In this chapter, you will be introduced to the nervous system and its numerous divisions. The focus will then move to the brain, looking first at large structures and then at small units of activity. In the second part of the chapter, you will be introduced to neural communication and how the action of drugs can influence this process. Finally, we look at the action of hormones as communicators within the body.

Chapter 8 Animal learning and cognition
In the first two sections of this chapter, we will address the two dominant theories of learning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. The application of associative learning theories illustrates how experience can influence biological responses. In the third section of this chapter, we will look at cognitive learning. In the final section, the possible underlying neural mechanisms of learning are addressed.

Chapter 9 Motivation, brain reward mechanisms and behaviour
Why do we eat, drink and sometimes be merry? This chapter addresses the biological basis of three highly motivated behaviours. The first section addresses the possible neural mechanisms underlying addiction. The actions of two illegal drugs, cocaine and amphetamine, and the legal drug nicotine are explored. The actions of these and other drugs are placed within the context of the general theories of addiction. 
Eating is a behaviour that has generated a great deal of interest, especially because of the increasing prevalence of eating disorders. The brain mechanisms involved in eating are investigated, with particular emphasis on the hypothalamus.        
Drinking is an essential behaviour and its neural substrates are described. The motivation to drink is important for our survival and, again, the brain is central to this behaviour.

Chapter 10 Emotion and sleep
Our emotions make life a colourful experience. This chapter investigates the neural mechanisms that underlie our emotions - for example, the amygdala and fear. It also investigates the neural mechanisms of sleep.

Chapter 11 Perceptual systems and motor control
In this chapter, you will be introduced to the mechanics of the sensory systems, such as the eye, the ear and the nose. The route a perceptual signal takes once it has been detected by the senses is further described, with all culminating in the cortex. In the second part of the chapter, we will look at motor control and response output.