Psychobiology

Psychobiology:

In psychology, biological psychology, also known as psychobiology & biopsychology, is the application of principles of biology to the study of mental processes and behavior. A psychobiologist, for case, may compare the imprinting behavior in goslings to the early attachment behavior in human infants and construct theory around these two phenomena. Biological psychologists might often be interested in measuring some biological variable, for example an anatomical, physiological, or genetic variable, in an attempt to associate it quantitatively or qualitatively to a psychological or behavioral variable, and therefore contribute to evidence based practice.

History:

The study of biological psychology dates back to Avicenna (980-1037 A.D.), a Persian psychologist and physician who in The Canon of Medicine, identified physiological psychology in the treatment of illnesses including emotions, and developed a system for relating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings, that is seen as an anticipation of the word association test. Avicenna also provide psychological explanations for certain somatic illnesses, and he always linked the physical and psychological illnesses together. He defined that humidity inside the head might contribute to mood disorders, and he identified that this occurs when the amount of breath changes: happiness enhanced the breath, which leads to increased moisture inside the brain, however if this moisture goes beyond its restriction, the brain would lose control on its rationality and lead to mental disorders.

Biological psychology as a scientific discipline later on emerged through a variety of scientific & philosophical traditions in the 18th & 19th centuries. In philosophy, men like Rene Descartes proposed physical models to described animal & human behavior. Descartes, for instance, suggested that the pineal gland, a midline unpaired configuration in the brain of several organisms, was the point of contact between mind & body. Descartes also described on a theory wherein the pneumatics of bodily fluids could describe reflexes and other motor behavior. This theory was motivated via moving statues in a garden in Paris.

Other philosophers also helped in give birth to psychology. One of earliest textbooks within the new field, The Principles of Psychology by William James (1890), argues that the scientific learn of psychology must be grounded in an understanding of biology:

James, such as various early psychologists, had significant training in physiology. The emergence of psychology and biological both psychology as legitimate sciences may be traced from the emergence of physiology from anatomy, specifically neuroanatomy. On living organisms Physiologists conducted experiments, a practice which was distrusted by the dominant anatomists of the 18th & 19th centuries. The influential work of Charles Bell, Claude Bernard, and William Harvey helped to convince the scientific community which reliable data could be getting from living subjects.

The term "psychobiology" has been utilized in a variety of contexts, however was likely first used in its modern sense by Knight Dunlap in his book An Outline of Psychobiology (1914). Dunlap also founded the journal Psychobiology. In the announcement of journal, Dunlap writes that the journal will publish research “.bearing onto interconnection of mental and physiological functions", which described the field of biological psychology even in its modern sense. Physiological psychology is another idiom frequently utilized synonymously with biological psychology, though some of the authors would make physiological psychology a subfield of biological psychology, within an appropriately more narrow definition.

Research methods:

The unique characteristic of a biological psychology experiment is that either the independent variable of the experiment is biological, or some of the dependent variable is biological. In other terms, the nervous system of the organism under study is temporarily or permanently altered, or some of the  aspect of the nervous system is measured (usually to be associated to a behavioral variable).

Disabling or decreasing neural function:

Lesions - A classic method wherein a brain-region of interest is enabled. Lesions may be placed with comparatively high accuracy thanks to a variety of brain 'atlases' that provide a map of brain regions in 3-dimensional stereotactic coordinates.

•    Electrolytic lesions - Neural tissue is diminished through the application of electrical shock trauma.
•    Chemical lesions - Neural tissue is cracked through the infusion of a neurotoxin.
•    Temporary lesions - Neural tissue is disabled temporarily by cooling or by the use of anesthetics like tetrodotoxin.
•   Transcranial magnetic stimulation – Usually a new technique utilized with human subjects wherein a magnetic coil applied to scalp causes unsystematic electrical activity in close to cortical neurons that can be analyzed experimentally as a functional lesion.

Psychopharmacological manipulations - A chemical receptor antagonist enduces neural activity through interfering along with neurotransmission. Antagonists may be delivered systemically (like by intravenous injection) or locally (intracebrally) throughout a surgical process.

Enhancing neural function:

Electrical Stimulation - A classic method wherein neural activity is increased by application of small electrical current (too small to cause importance cell death).

Psychopharmacological manipulations - A chemical receptor agonist facilitates neural activity via increasing or replacing endogenous neurotransmitters. Agonists may be delivered systemically (like by intravenous injection) or locally (intracebrally) throughout a surgical procedure.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation - In some of the cases (for instance, studies of motor cortex), this method can be analyzed as having a stimulatory effect (instead of as a functional lesion) .

Measuring neural activity:

Single unit recording - The measurement of electrical activity of one neuron, frequently in the context of an ongoing behavioral (psychological) task.

Multielectrode recording - The employ of a bundle of fine electrodes to record the concurrent activity of up to hundreds of neurons.
fMRI - Functional magnetic resonance imaging, a method most often applied on human subjects, wherein changes in cerebral blood flow may be detected in an MRI apparatus and are taken to denote relative activity of larger scale brain regions (that means on the order of hundreds of thousands of neurons).

Electroencephalography - Or EEG; and the derivative technique of event-related potentials, in which scalp electrodes monitor the average activity of neurons in the cortex (again, used most frequently with human subjects).

Functional neuroanatomy - A more complicated counterpart of phrenology. The expression of some of the anatomical marker is taken to reflect neural activity. For instance, the expression of instant early genes is thought to be caused via vigorous neural activity. Likewise, the injection of 2-deoxyglucose prior to some behavioral task might be followed by anatomical localization of that chemical; this is taken up by neurons which are electrically active.

Genetic manipulations:

QTL mapping - In some behavior the effects of a gene can be inferred statistically by studying inbred strains of some species, most commonly mice. The recent sequencing of genome of several species, most particularly mice, has facilitated this technique.

Selective breeding - Organisms, frequently mice, may be bred selectively among inbred strains to build a recombinant congenic strain. It might be done to isolate an experimentally interesting stretch of DNA derived from one strain on background genome of another strain to let stronger inferences regarding the role of that stretch of DNA.

Genetic engineering - The genome might also be experimentally-manipulated; for instance, knockout mice can be engineered to lack a specific gene, or a gene might be expressed in a strain which does not do so (the 'knock in') normally. Advanced techniques may also let the expression or suppression of a gene to take place by injection of some regulating chemical.

Topic areas in biological psychology:

Generally, biological psychologists study the similar issues as academic psychologists, though restricted by the requirement to use nonhuman species. Consequently, the bulk of literature in biological psychology deals along with mental processes and behaviors which are shared across mammalian species, such as following:

•    Motivated behavior (hunger, thirst, sex)
•    Sensation and perception
•    Learning and memory
•    Control of movement
•    Sleep and biological rhythms
•    Emotion

However, along with increasing technical sophistication and the development of more accurate noninvasive technique which can be applied to human subjects, biological psychologists are starting to contribute to other classical topic areas of psychology, such as following:

•    Language
•    Reasoning & decision making
•    Consciousness

Biological psychology has also had history of contributing in understanding of medical disorders, by including those that fall under the purview of clinical psychology and psychopathology (also termed as abnormal psychology). Though animal models for all of the mental illnesses do not exist, the field has contributed significant therapeutic data on a variety of conditions, including following:

A) Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of central nervous system that frequently impairs the sufferer's motor speech and skills.

B) Huntington's disease, a uncommon inherited neurological disorder whose most apparent symptoms are abnormal body movements and a lack of coordination. It also influences a number of mental abilities & some of the aspects of personality.

C) Alzheimer's Disease, a neurodegenerative disease that, in its mostly common form, is found in people greater than the age of 65 and is characterized via progressive cognitive deterioration, together with declining activities of everyday living and by behavioral changes or neuropsychiatric symptoms.

D) Clinical depression, a common psychiatric disorder, characterized via loss of interest in usual activities, a persistent lowering of mood and decreased ability to experience pleasure.

E) Schizophrenia, a psychiatric diagnosis which describes a mental sickness characterized by impairments in perception or expression of reality, most generally manifesting such as auditory hallucinations, bizarre or paranoid delusions or disorganized thinking and speech in the context of important social or occupational dysfunction.

F) Autism, a brain development disorder which impairs social interaction & communication, and causes limited and repetitive behavior, all of the starting before a child is three years old.

G) Anxiety, a physiological state characterized via, somatic, cognitive emotional and behavioral components. These components join to develop the feelings which are typically recognized as apprehension, fear or worry.

H) Drug abuse, by including alcoholism.

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