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Relations between biological and social psychology

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Biological psychology has been a major part of modern psychology from the start.
    1. Relations betweem biological and social psychology.
    2. Bodily syste,s basic to behavior.
  3. The nervous system.
  4. The endocrine system.
  5. The immune system.
  6. Conclusion.

Psychology is both a social and a biological science. The relevance of the biological approach for many fields of psychology is demonstrated by the fact that biological bases of behavior are mentioned in most of the following chapters. The field that studies biological aspects of psychology and biological contributions to psychology has been given several names. Originally it was called ?physiological psychology' when ?physiology' was used to designate what we now call biomedical sciences. As specialized fields broke off from physiology ? including biochemistry, immunology, and neurochemistry genetics and endocrinology ? the designation ?physiology' became too narrow, so the more inclusive term ?biological psychology' became more appropriate. Other terms sometimes used for this field include ?physiology and behavior' and ?behavioral neuroscience'. The development of neuroscience as an integrated but multidisciplinary field in the last quarter of the twentieth century benefited biological psychology (behavioral neuroscience). Through the progress of neuroscience, biological psychology strengthened its ties and interactions with neighboring sciences and advanced its program of research and applications. Biological psychology is concerned with both similarities and differences among individuals.

[...] For studying and understanding many kinds of behavior, biological and social perspectives offer complementary avenues. In other cases, biological and social factors continuously interact and affect each other. We will give examples of both kinds. A major field of biological psychology is investigating the biological mechanisms of learning and memory storage how these processes occur, where in the nervous system they occur, how and why different kinds of learning vary over the life span. Biological research complements social and cognitive research on learning and memory. [...]


[...] Activity of the endocrine system is under hierarchical control, which provides one example of interactions between the endocrine and the neural systems. Neurons in certain nuclei of the hypothalamus secrete various releasing hormones into the median eminence, whence they are sent by the portal vein system to stimulate the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland to secrete different tropic hormones. These in turn regulate the activity of the adrenal glands, the gonads and the thyroid gland. Steroid hormones secreted by the peripheral endocrine glands or the pituitary enter the CNS and bind to receptors in the hypothalamus or elsewhere in the brain to exert an inhibitory feedback control on the secretion of various releasing or tropic hormones. [...]


[...] All these structures are largely covered by the cerebral cortex, which is most developed in the human being; it can be further divided into the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes in each hemisphere. While the two sides of the central nervous system are grossly symmetrical, functional and structural asymmetries are demonstrated in the cerebral cortex and other brain loci. Cells in the cerebral cortex group into layers while those in other structures group into aggregations called nuclei. Different subdivisions are involved in different functions, as is discussed in related chapters. [...]

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