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PSY 101U

:
Introduction to Psychology
Psy Lecturer: Dr. Afroditi Papaioannou-Spiroulia
E-mail: a.papaioannou@cityu.gr
Lecture 3
Source of basic material:
Dr. A. Papaioannou-Spiroulia

BASIC POINTS:
• Basic issue: Why different approaches/perspectives?
• The Biological Approach
On the Origin of the Species; Darwin, evolution and Psychology
General introduction
Why different approaches/perspectives?
Psychology and Behavior:
Given the richness and complexity of behavior, psychologists have
involved different approaches to understand it.
Ideally, we would have one simple set of principle in order to explain
every aspect of human being/experience. At present… NO such
theory has been developed… or at least which has met with broad
acceptance.
In effect, we have many and different approaches on Psychology.
DIFFERENT APPROACHES/PERSPECTIVES
ON PSYCHOLOGY
 In Psychology, each approach represents a distinct
framework for the study of behavior.
 Important note! If we understand how these frameworks
arose, and how they differ, we can:
 better evaluate the significance of each approach
 make sense of the field as a whole.
And, this…
 is science
 means that we become/develop as modern psychologists
characterized by critical thinking!
DIFFERENT APPROACHES/PERSPECTIVES
ON PSYCHOLOGY
 Scientists (e.g. psychologists) formulate theories based on
the information they’ve gathered from research.
 The development and the evaluation of a theory depends not
only or simply on the available data, but also on social and
personal factors. This…
 supports the idea of how we perceive the world and
 the existence of so many perspectives on Psychology, as well.
Contemporary Psychology:
Psychology’s 3 main “levels” of analysis
BASIC PERSPECTIVES/APPROACHES:
• BIOLOGICAL APPROACH
• BEHAVIORIST APPROACH
• COGNITIVE APPROACH
• PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH
• HUMANISTIC APPROACH
• PERSPECTIVES ON DEVELOPMENT
• PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
• PERSPECTIVES ON ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR […]
PERSPECTIVES ON PSYCHOLOGY
HARD CORE OF THE BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:
• Is based on the assumption of materialism, which asserts that all
behavior has a physiological basis.
• The two primary concerns of the biological approach are:
 the workings of the nervous system (see neurons)
 the role of heredity in behavior (see genes).
• The most challenging question(s) in this field: What’s the relationship
between the mind and the brain? Which is the nature of consciousness?
• Focus on the effects of the body on the mind (e.g. the effects of
psychoactive drugs, the use of electrical stimulation of the brain, the
effects of the split brain).
 These are the issues we’ll cover today from/for a biological perspective.
THE BIOLOGICAL APPROACH
GENES
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&ust=1382187755905256]
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
– genes
Q: Our genes predispose our biology; does this
mean they determine our behaviors?
‘Nature’ = Genes = Biology = Physiology = DNA…
Genes
• biochemical units of heredity that make up the chromosomes
• segments of DNA capable of synthesizing a protein
• building blocks of our physical and behavioral development.
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
– chromosomes,DNA
Chromosomes
• threadlike structures made of DNA that contain the genes
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
• complex molecule containing the genetic information that
makes up the chromosomes
• has two strands-forming a “double helix” –
held together by bonds between pairs of nucleotides
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
– genes locationandcomposition
Nucleus Chromosome Gene
Cell DNA
Genes: Our Biological Blueprint
– predispositionofourbiology
Genes…
- do predispose our biology, by the time they
provide our biological blueprint through
chromosomes-proteins-DNA
- do help to explain our behavior
- don’t determine our behavior
Evolutionary Psychology:
scientists, basicprinciple
Q: How do evolutionary psychologists use natural
selection to explain behavior tendencies?
Evolutionary Psychology
• the study of the evolution of behavior and mind, using
the principles of natural selection
Natural selection
• the principle that, among the range of inherited trait
variations, those that lead to increased reproduction and
survival will most likely be passed on to succeeding
generations.
Evolutionary Psychology:
mutation and gender
Mutation
• random error in gene replication that leads to a change in
the sequence of nucleotides
• the source of all genetic diversity
Gender
• the characteristics, whether biologically or socially
influenced, by which people define male and female
Basic study
• How natural selection has shaped our universal behavior
tendencies?
Evolutionary Psychology:
naturalselectionasananswer-key
Evolutionary psychologists…
- study how natural selection has shaped our universal behavior
tendencies
- support the idea that if organisms vary and if only the most
‘mature’ survive, then nature must select their tendencies
- this could explain gender differences in sexuality
Critics: they make hindsight explanations.
Behavior Genetics: Predicting Individual Differences

scientists,environment
Q: How do behavioral geneticists explain individual
differences?
‘Nurture’ = Environment = experience = culture…
Behavior Genetics
• study of the relative power and limits of genetic and
environmental influences on behavior
Environment
• every non-genetic influence, from prenatal nutrition to the
people and things around us.
Behavior Genetics: Predicting Individual
Differences –
studies
Behavior Genetics base on studies with:
• twins (identical, fraternal)
• adoption
• temperament (a person’s characteristic emotional activity
and intensity)
Interaction
• the effect of one factor (such as ENVIRONMENT) depends on
another factor (such as HEREDITY)
• nature-nurture interaction.
Behavior Genetics: Predicting Individual
Differences –
studieswithtwins
Identical twins
• develop from a single
fertilized egg, that splits in
two, creating two genetically
identical organisms
Fraternal twins
• develop from separate eggs
• genetically no closer than
brothers and sisters, but they
share the fetal environment.
Identical
twins
Fraternal
twins
Same
sex only
Same or
opposite sex
Behavior Genetics:
Predicting Individual Differences
Behavioral geneticists…
- study how genetic and environmental factors influence our
development
- based on studies related with twins, adoption and
temperament try to identify the extent to which various traits
and behaviors are inherited
- based on scientific data about inheritance, support the idea
that both nature and nurture influence our developing
personality.
Environmental influence:
placentaandprenatalnutrition
Two placental arrangements in identical twins
Environmental influence:
experienceandbraindevelopment
Experience affects brain development
Impoverished
environment
Rat brain
cell
Rat brain
cell
Enriched
environment
Environmental influence
Q: To what extent are our lives shaped by parental
nurture, prenatal nutrition, early stimulation,
and peer influences?
The entire above factors do shape us, but it’s very hard to
determine the exact extent of them to us, by the time, for
example, parental nurture matters, but it’s not the sole
determinant of who we are or become
- Environmental factors are pervasive as genetic ones
- All of them interact and influence us.
NEURONS
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neuron.html&ei=OjJhUo-FEbTU4QTY7YEw&psig=AFQjCNF4hnGo-
Oy3WTkZkO7Yb49VzrQqFw&ust=1382187962323846://www.google.gr/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=iXPLF0zib
_JgdM&tbnid=JF899ivYC144LM:&ved=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.virtualmedicalcentre.com%2Fhealth-
investigation%2Fgenetic-testing-for-hereditary-
diseases%2F62&ei=azFhUpmZNImItQbUzIHwBQ&psig=AFQjCNEV37b1oRTOV2iWCFlvdorVHL5Kkg&ust=1382187755905256]
Biological Psychology
Biological Psychology
• branch of Psychology concerned with the links between
Biology and behavior
• some biological psychologists call themselves behavioral
neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, behavior geneticists,
physiological psychologists, or biopsychologists.
Q: Why do psychologists study Biology?
A first step in understanding our behavior and mental processes
is to examine the biological roots of how we think, we feel, and
act in everyday living and practice.
Neurons and Neural Communication:
neuron, dendrite
Neuron
• a nerve cell
• the basic building block of the nervous system.
 Dendrite
• the bushy, branching extensions of a neuron
• receive messages and conduct impulses toward the cell
body.
Neurons and Neural Communication:
axon, myelin
Axon
• the extension of a neuron, ending in branching terminal fibers,
through which messages are sent to other neurons or to muscles
or glands.
Myelin
• a layer of fatty tissue segmentally encasing the fibers of many
neurons
• enables vastly greater transmission speed of neural impulses as
the impulse hops from node to node.
Neurons and Neural Communication:
action potential, threshold
Action Potential
• a neural impulse; a brief electrical charge that travels down an axon
• generated by the movement of positively charged atoms in and out of
channels in the axon’s membrane.
Threshold
• the level of stimulation required to trigger a neural impulse.
Neural Communication
Neurons and Neural Communication:
neurons and information transmitted
Q: What are neurons? How do neurons transmit
information?
Neurons are nerve cells and transmit information:
neuron receives signals through dendrites – combines signals in cell
body – threshold – transmits electrochemical impulse down axon –
message passes to neurons/muscles/glands.
Neural Communication:
synapse
Synapse
• junction between the axon tip of the sending neuron and the
dendrite or cell body of the receiving neuron
• tiny gap at this junction is called the synaptic gap or cleft.
Neural Communication:
neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters
• chemical messengers that traverse the synaptic gaps between
neurons
• messages: excitatory or inhibitory
• when released by the sending neuron, neurotransmitters travel
across the synapse and bind to receptor sites on the receiving
neuron, thereby influencing whether the neuron will generate a
neural impulse.
Neural Communication:
neurotransmitters
Q: How do nerve cells communicate?
An electrical impulse down sending neuron’s axon – electrical signals
release neurotransmitters – molecules pass on their messages
(excitatory or inhibitory) as they traverse synapse – reach receiving
neuron.
Neural Communication:
basic neurotransmitters and their functions
Neural Communication:
neurotransmitters and influence of human behavior
 Endorphins
“morphine within” natural, opiate like neurotransmitters
linked to pain control and to pleasure.
Neural Communication:
neurotransmitters and influence of human behavior
Q: How do neurotransmitters influence human
behavior?
 Neurotransmitters do influence our behavior.
For example, endorphins are neurotransmitters which make us
feel good. Based on them, and on other neurotransmitters too,
we can understand how drugs affect our brain chemistry.
Actually, drugs and other chemicals can alter neurotransmission,
by the time them can mimic particular neurotransmitters
(‘agonists’), while other can block them (‘antagonists’).
Neural Communication:
neurotransmitters and influence of human behavior
Neuro-
transmitter
molecule
Receiving cell
membrane
Receptor site on
receiving neuron
Agonist mimics
neurotransmitter
Antagonist
blocks
neurotransmitter
Nervous System:
major divisions and their functions
Nervous System
• the body’s speedy, electrochemical communication system
• consists of all the nerve cells of the peripheral and central
nervous systems.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
• the brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
• the sensory and motor neurons that connect the central nervous
system (CNS) to the rest of the body.
Nervous System:
major divisions
CNS
(Central Nervous System)
brain + spinal cord
NERVOUS SYSTEM
Autonomic nervous system
controls self-regulated actions of
internal organs and glands (heart)
Skeletal/somatic nervous system
controls voluntary movements of
skeletal muscles
Sympathetic division
(arousing)
Parasympathetic division
(calming)
PNS
(Peripheral Nervous System)
sensory + motor neurons
Brain:
scientific study methods
Scientists have studied our brain through lesioning, CT (computed
tomography), EEG (electroencephalography), MEG
(magnetoencephalography), PET (positron emission tomography), fMRI
(functional magnetic resonance imaging) etc.
Lesion
• tissue destruction
• a brain lesion is a
naturally or
experimentally
caused
destruction of
brain tissue.
Brain:
scientific study methods
EEG
• an amplified recording
of the waves of
electrical activity that
sweep across the
brain’s surface
• these waves are
measured by
electrodes placed on
the scalp.
Brain:
scientific study methods
CT (computed tomography) Scan
• a series of x-ray photographs taken from different angles and
combined by computer into a composite representation of a slice
through the body; also called CAT scan.
PET (positron emission tomography) Scan
• a visual display of brain activity that detects where a radioactive form
of glucose goes while the brain performs a given task.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
• a technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce
computer-generated images that distinguish among different types of
soft tissue; allows us to see structures within the brain.
Brain:
scientific study methods: PET, MRI
Brain:
cerebral cortex: primary functions
fMRI scan shows the visual cortex activated as the subject looks at
faces.
Brain:
cerebral cortex: primary functions
Brain:
cerebral cortex: higher functions
More intelligent animals have increased “uncommitted” or
association areas of the cerebral cortex.
Brain organization:
specialization and integration
Brain activity when hearing, seeing, and speaking words.
Brain re-organization:
plasticity
Q: Is the brain capable of re-organizing itself if
damaged?
Re-organization = Plasticity
Plasticity
• the brain’s capacity for modification, as evident in brain re-
organization following damage (especially in children) and in
experiments on the effects of experience on brain development
• brain is less plastic as we grow
• ‘healthy’ hemisphere helps the ‘damaged’ one
• nearby neurons compensate for damaged one (patient with
minor stroke).
Brain re-organization:
splitordividedbrain
Q: What is a split brain? What does a split brain
reveal about brain functioning?
A split brain (εγκέφαλος με διατομή μεσολοβίου) is one whose
corpus callosum has been severed.
Corpus callosum (μεσολόβιο ή τυλώδες σώμα)
• large band of neural fibers
• connects the two brain hemispheres
• carries messages between the hemispheres.
Brain re-organization:
splitordividedbrain
Experiments on split brains have refined our knowledge of each
hemisphere’s special functions
• for most people, LH is the most verbal and RH excels in visual
perception and the recognition of emotion.
Corpus callosum
 Studies of mean/typical/healthy people with intact brains confirm
that each hemisphere makes unique contributions to the
integrated function of the brain.
Brain re-organization:
splitordividedbrain
Split brain
TOPICS OF INTEREST:
• Based on Lecture 3: Focus on the biological approach on
Psychology.
• Next, we’ll focus on the behaviorist approach on Psychology.
PLANNIND Lecture 4
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the-different-area-s-of-the-brain-part-of-a-medical-blueprint.jpg]
ANY QUESTIONS?
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ZaqM&tbnid=RcKEWbm16NCR_M:&ved=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.realizedworth.com%2F%3Fattachment_id%3D2817&ei=pTZh
UseeFuK64ASy04HgDA&psig=AFQjCNH5CS-20gPzGjWlysex2odTv0JoRw&ust=1382189093414876]
FOR ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS
DON’T HESITATE TO ASK ME IN CLASS
OR CONTACT ME VIA E-MAIL
(a.papaioannou@cityu.gr)
-Always Cc Student Support, as well (student.support@cityu.gr).
Once again… ANY QUESTIONS, THOUGHTS, IDEAS…?