"BIOPSYCHOLOGY” : An intervention into the biological basis of behavior
In the field of psychology, we look for the basis of behaviour which includes the social interventions, the biological basis, the cultural perspective, the cognitive behavioural perspective, the psychological perspective and the evolutionary perspective. However, in biopsychology, the prime focus is on how the brain influences one’s behaviour. In this we talk about the biology of the brain is related to the psychology of behaviour. In this article we will go through various topics related to biopsychology which include its meaning and definition the origin of biopsychology then Biopsychology's relation to other disciplines of neuroscience along with that the major divisions of biopsychology which include physiological psychology, psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, psychophysiology, cognitive neuroscience
comparative psychology, and the process of work conduction by biopsychologists and the characteristics of biopsychological research which can human or nonhuman, experimental and Nonexperimental, and pure and applied research and at the end the career opportunities in the field of biopsychology
Biopsychology is the scientific study of behaviour. This field is also referred to as behavioural biology, behavioural neuroscience or psychobiology. It has a biological approach to the study of behaviours rather than a psychological approach to the study of behaviours. A biopsychologist tries to look over what biological processes are working for the generation of our cognition, learning, emotions and motivation etc.
Origin of Biopsychology
The study of the biological basis of behaviour has a long history in itself. Until the 20th century, this field did not grow into a major neuroscientific discipline in itself. The book named as “The Organization of Behaviour'' by D.O.Hebb played an important role in the origin of biopsychology. Hebb’s eclectic approach in his book has become a hallmark in the study of biopsychology.
Biopsychology when compared to other disciplines like biology, physics, chemistry and psychology has a new origin but rapidly growing in nature.
Biopsychology in relation to other disciplines of neuroscience
Biopsychologists are important members of the team of neuroscientists. Biopsychology is highly related to various other disciplines of neuroscience. Their expertise in behavioural orientation makes them an important part of the field of research in the field of neuroscience. Biopsychology is an interrelated discipline and it draws knowledge from various other neuroscientific disciplines and applies it to the study of behaviours. Biopsychology is related to fields like neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neuroendocrinology, neuropathology, neuropharmacology and neurophysiology etc.
Major Divisions of Biopsychology
It is that division of biopsychology that studies the neural mechanisms of behaviour through the manipulation and recording of the brain in controlled experiments. The subject of physiological psychology is animals. The major aim of the research is to develop theories that aim at neural control of behaviour.
This field of biopsychology focuses on the manipulation of neural activity and behaviour by using drugs. The purpose of many psychopharmacologist experiments is to develop therapeutic drugs or to reduce drug abuse. Psychopharmacologists study the effects of drugs on various organisms inside the laboratory.
Neuropsychology is the study of the biological effects of brain damage in human patients. Neuropsychology is the most applied field of biopsychology. The neuropsychological assessment of human patients even when a part of a program of pure research, is always done with an eye toward benefiting them in some way.
Psychophysiology is the division of biopsychology that studies the relationship between psychological processes and physical activity in human beings. In this field, the measure of brain activity is done through an electroencephalogram. There are various other methods that are being used including the measure of muscle tension, eye movement and pupil dilation.
This one is the youngest division of biopsychology. In this one study about the bases of cognition. In cognitive neuroscience, the study is mostly done on human beings. The major method of cognitive neuroscience involves functional brain imaging.
It is that field of biopsychology that deals directly with the biology of behaviour rather than studying the neural mechanism of behaviour. In comparative psychology, one compares the behaviour of different species which helps them to understand the change in evolution, genetics and adaptiveness. While some study in comparative psychology is done in the laboratory some are done by using ethological research.
Process of work conduction by biopsychologists
Most of the biopsychological issues are solved by a single experiment or by a single series of experiments that are being conducted. The scientific method is used by biopsychologists in which important conclusions are drawn by using careful observations. However, it's not possible always to observe every phenomenon and hence in that case biopsychologist uses the scientific inference method which is an empirical method that involves the study of the unobservable.
Characteristics of Biopsychological Research
Human or Nonhuman
In biopsychology, both humans and nonhumans are an important aspect of biopsychological research. However in comparison to nonhuman subjects human subjects hold various types of advantages this involves human subjects can follow the instructions that are being given to them during the experiment(s), they are able to report their subjective experience and the cost of human labs are often cheaper when compared to animal testing labs, then animals are needed to be taken more care of. The need for studying the nonhuman brain is that there is a significant difference between the brains of human and nonhuman species on the basis of size and cortical development. And it is this difference between the brains which is more quantitative in nature rather than qualitative which helps in understanding many principles of the human brain more clearly.
Experiments and Nonexperiments
Experiment can be defined as a scientific method of studying used by biopsychologists in which they try to find out what causes what. In this, the experimenter tries to find out the relation between dependent and independent variables. Sometimes it is found that the observable effects on the dependent variable are not caused by the independent variable but that is caused by another type of variable known as a confounding variable. However experimental methods cannot always be used for answering the various questions of biopsychology. Due to this biopsychologists sometimes even conduct quasi-experimental studies i.e; studies of groups of subjects who have been exposed to the conditions of interest in the real world. In this the confounding variables are not controlled.
Case studies are also used by biopsychologists. The focus of a case study is on a single subject or case due to which we are able to get a much deeper insight into the subject. However case studies suffer from a disadvantage which is generalization as human beings have individual differences and in that case not all the case studies can be generalized to the general population.
Pure and Applied Research
Research in biopsychology can either be pure or applied. Pure research is done because of the curiosity of the researcher. And applied research is done in order to bring out something which is beneficial for human mankind. However pure research is found to be more beneficial than applied research. And it is also possible that a research project has components of both pure research as well as applied research.
Career Opportunities In The Field Of Biopsychology
Neuroscientist- A neuroscientist studies the anatomy, biochemistry and physiology of the nervous system.
Behavioural Neuroscientists- They study how the functioning of the brain and body affects our behaviour.
Cognitive Neuroscientists- They study people's cognition, knowledge, thinking process and problem-solving skills by using brain research and various types of brain scans.
Neuropsychologists- Conduct behavioural tests to determine how damage in the brain causes various disabilities and abilities in people and also how this damage affects the behaviour of a person.
Psychophysiologists- They study and measure various bodily functions and how these bodily functions differ from one person in one situation to another.
Neurochemists- They study and investigate the chemical reactions that go inside the brain.
Comparative Psychologists- Their study and research involve comparing the behaviours of different species of organisms and then trying to relate them to their way of life.
Evolutionary Psychologist- Relates behaviours to the functions that they have served and therefore the presumed selective pressure that caused them to evolve.
Biopsychology is one of the important fields of psychology. It is the various types of research that have happened in this field that have helped the researchers to know how the biology of the brain and body is affecting the behaviour of an organism. However, it is a new yet emerging field of psychology and holds a lot of potential in itself. And if someone wants to make a career in this fascinating field of biopsychology they surely can but they should be curious, hard-working and should be committed to the field in order to prosper in it because even though it is a very interesting field to go in it is also one of toughest and challenging in itself.