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The Science of Psychology
The Biological Perspective
Sensation & Perception
Motivation and Emotion
Testing and Intelligence
Treatment of Psychological Disorders
2013-14 Example Starters
When I was a kid...
In the future...
At a concert...
In a world...
If you were raised by wolves...
At a restaurant...
Basically I got in trouble because...
One does not simply...
If you were alone in the world...
When the zombies come...
When you're driving...
When I have kids...
We could test this out...
If we didn't have this...
In a rap battle...
I could use my knowledge of this to predict that...
While studying for my test...
_______ is related to _______ because...
When you are playing call of duty...
Biology, natural selection, and adaptation
Heightened human abilities
The Ninja and His Nemesis
Nature v Nurture
Gina and Tina: Separated Twins
How are genes and behavior linked?
Just like fish, who are born with a knack for swimming, humans are born with abilities as well. Each of us has the ability to handle certain situations by basing decisions off of what exists in our native manner. Words that refer to abilities you are born with are
or natural abilities. At birth, the human brain is already "programmed" for language, social interaction, self-preservation, and many other functions. We can see this in the interaction between babies and their caregivers. The scientific answer rests on the concept of evolution, which is the process where succeeding generations of organisms change as they adapt to changing environments, as a result of natural selection.
Evolution and Natural Selection:
introduced the idea of
, focusing mostly on organisms who best adapt to their environment over a span of time. Darwin noticed that variations among birds allowed some to survive better. Darwin later called this
, also known as "survival of the fittest", is the idea that individuals that are best suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than those that do not fit their environment as well. The individuals better suited to their environment live longer than those that aren't as suited to their environment, leaving more opportunity to pass on their favorable traits to future generations. The genes that express the favorable traits eventually come to dominate the population's gene pool. This inheritance helps explain certain psychological phenomenons/behaviors in humans, such as phobias. Most phobias are of something that was a danger warning to our ancestors, such as snakes or blood. The ancestors that had this "phobia", or simply a recognition of its danger, survived more and longer, reproduced more, and thus came to have a larger influence on the gene pool of evolving humans.
Neurons and Nerves: Building the Network
There are two main communication systems in the body, the
; the brain coordinates them both.
has to do with hormones and hormonal glands that pass through the bloodstream. The
has to do with neurons and the signals that shoot through and between neurons.
The basic building blocks of the nervous system are
. There are
. Neurons are made up of
(in that order).
Terminal buttons are the ending fragments of a neuron that deliver
, or the synaptic gap, to the next neuron's dendrites. These dendrites then fire an electrical signal from the
, through the axon, then to its terminal buttons to reach the next neuron. When the
occurs (meaning the nerve fires) its either completely or not at all, this is called the
all or nothing principle
. When the neurons aren't firing they are demonstrating
nsmitters are strikingly similar to hormones, and many hormones act as neurotransmitters. Drugs can alter the transfer of neurotransmitters.
mimic or enhance the effect of neurotransmitters, while
inhibit these functions.
The Central Nervous System: The "Central Processing Unit"
When neurons adapt to physical change or behavioral patterns because of any experiences, they form new connections. This is called
. The nervous system is divided into two main systems: the
central nervous system
peripheral nervous system
. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the
peripheral nervous system
is the rest of the nervous system that relays information to and from the brain/spinal cord at the rest of the body. The peripheral nervous system is divided into two main components; the
somatic nervous system
autonomic nervous system
. The somatic nervous system has functions similar to those of neurons themselves; sensory (afferent) and motor (efferent). The autonomic nervous system performs "automatically." Its subdivisions are the
(arousing) and the
(calming). The endocrine system is the system of hormones and regulators in the body.
are the chemical messengers used by the endocrine system. Hormones are produced in
. Many drugs can affect the functions of these hormones and neurotransmitters.
The Structures of the Brain
The brain is composed of many specialized modules that work together to create mind and behavior. In order to understand how the brain functions, scientists have developed several methods of studying the brain. The different tests are
Check out this 3D model of the brain!
The human brain has three layers; the first being the
The brain stem links the spine to the rest of the body; thus, it is an important part of the body's nerve pathways. The brain stem also connects different parts of the brain. The
is located in the lower part of the brain stem. The
is found above the medulla. The brain stem and
control most of our basic functions. At the center of the brain stem is the
, which is a bundle of nerve cells that keeps the brain awake and alert. The
is located at the top of the brain stem. Nerve fibers are sent here from the reticular formation. The
is the second layer of the brain. The Limbic System is wrapped around the thalamus and assists in emotion and memories. Inside the
. The brain has no power to act on its own, and therefore, must rely on neural and endocrine communication networks to carry messages to muscles, organs, and glands throughout the body.
The thinnest, most outer layer of the brain is the
,which has several parts to it. These include the
, and the
connects the two sides of the brain by a thick bundle of fibers. The brain consists of two hemispheres: the
. Both of the hemispheres work together to produce thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Each side of the brain controls and regulates different thought processes. Because each hemisphere has different thought processes, each brain hemisphere has a tendency to exert control over different functions, such as language or perception of spatial relationships. When each hemisphere has dominance over certain behaviors, especially on the opposite side of the body, it is known as
Some SIMPLE ways to Remember What the Parts of the Brain Do:
Medulla = The medulla, as stated above, is in charge of involuntary functions like breathing, heart beat, blood pressure, etc.
Pons = Pillows (sleep) and Network (connection of the brain stem to the cerebellum).
Reticular Formation = Ready and focused (brain awake and alert).
Hippocampus = Hippos have good memories and you go to campus to learn! Hippocampus is responsible for memory and learning.
Hypothalamus = Like hunger ... H for hunger... and Hypo like hypoglycemia which is about low blood sugar.
Amygdala = A is for anger, and the other A is for afraid. Amy got angry because she didn't like getting scared. It regulates anger, fear, and memory.
Frontal Lobes =
of all the ways we try to
in life. Frontal lobes control thinking and movement. Also language and personality.
Parietal Lobes = Feeling, touch, and body sensation.
Occipital Lobes = (looks like optic, which deals with eyes/vision) optical because it is home to the visual cortex.
Temporal Lobes = Hearing, think of temporal along your temples near your ears, or tempo like the beat of music.
Cerebellum = Think of a ballerina because the cerebellum controls your coordination and balance. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinated movements.
Corpus Callosum = Think of a chain or something that connects one thing to another. The Corpus Callosum relays information from one hemisphere of the brain to the other; Callosum Connects.
Thalamus = Relays information coming in from the senses to the part of the brain that interprets that info.
Broca's Area = Speech Production. Lacrosse players SAY "bros". BROca's Area involves speech.
Wernicke's area= Speech recognition.
Here are some good review things from a Blendspace created by Ms. Woods.
Quick Look bulleted notes of Biopsych from the textbook
Biopsycholo-G by Mr. Wray:
help on how to format text
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