18 August 2016

What Is Psychobiology?

How do the mind, the body, and the brain work together? What are the biological explanations for human behavior? These are the kind of questions that scientists who study psychobiology ask. Psychobiology, also known as biological psychology, is a sub-field of biology and psychology that deals with the interaction between the biological - things like hormones, neurotransmitters, and cells- and the social, or the way we act in our world. Please read: Cabang-cabang Ilmu Biologi (Indonesian)

What Is Psychobiology?

Psychobiologists study the evolutionary and physiological mechanisms that are responsible for human behavior and try to understand how the brain functions in order to understand why humans behave the way we do. Psychobiologists believe that biology is largely responsible for human action. 

A Brief History of Psychobiology 

Psychobiology has its earliest origins in philosophy. The study of the mind was the domain of philosophers long before scientists began to study it. The most pressing question the early philosophers asked was, 'Is the mind the same as the brain?'

At first, philosophers believed that the mind and the brain were separate, which is known as dualism. The theory of dualism suggested that the mind and the brain are made of di†erent materials. The brain is physical matter and the mind is non-physical, or independent of the material world. However, as scientists began to study the brain in the early 19th century, the theory of monism emerged. This theory argues that the mind and the brain are the same thing. 

Early Scientific Discoveries 

Very early on, we did not know much about how the brain works or how it might be related to our behavior. Some of the earliest scientists began to make important discoveries about the theory of monism. The experiments they conducted showed that physical processes are extremely important to understanding behavior. 

The Italian scientist Camillo Golgi made an important contribution when he discovered that the substance silver nitrate would cause nerve cells to appear black, or stained, under a microscope.This allowed scientists to study cells in greater detail. Today, we know these nerve cells S u p p ort Register for a free trial Are you a student or a teacher? as neurons, and they are responsible for transmitting information from our brains. 

Scientists soon discovered individual components of neurons, called axons and dendrites. We know today that axons carry electrical signals away from the body of the neuron and dendrites receive electrical signals from other cells. In other words, this is how your brain tells parts of your body what to do. When you decide to get up from a chair you're sitting in, the electrical signals sent from your brain to the nerve cells in other parts of your body are responsible for your ability to complete this action. 

The Brain and the Nervous System 

Today, psychobiologists devote much of their time to studying the brain, which is part of the central nervous system.


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