Biopsychology I - BPS108

Learn about the Mind/Body Connection

Discover how a person's physiology can affect their state of mind

Develop another perspective for counselling, managing or interacting otherwise, with people

Mind over body is not always possible. The body also influences the mind and much of what we consider basic human behaviour.

Course Structure:

There are eight lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction
    Types of external and internal stimuli, mind-body debate, introduction to the nervous system.
  2. The senses
    Sensory input, sensory perception, description of the major senses.
  3. The Nervous System
    Description of the neurons, the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, including the autonomic nervous system.
  4. The Endocrine System
    Effect of hormones on behaviour and physiology, association of endocrine system and nervous system, connection between external and internal stimuli.
  5. Stress
    Types of stressors, physical affects of stress, personality & stress.
  6. Emotions
    Homeostasis, eating disorders, physiological responses to emotions, theories of emotion.
  7. Consciousness
    Degrees of consciousness, awareness & attention, altered states of consciousness.

Duration:  100 hours

Comment from one of our Psychology Students:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found ACS to be wonderful in all aspects"   D. Kenyon, ACS Biopsychology student

"A lot of the subject matter relates directly to my area of work, so it is helping me to understand it a lot more. I enjoy working in my own time, and being able to take my time." - Lynn


Aims
  • Describe the nature & scope of biopsychology
  • Explain how different people can perceive the same stimulus in different ways, due to biological differences between them.
  • Explain how the condition and functioning of the nervous system can affect the psychology of an individual.
  • Explain how the condition and functioning of the endocrine system can affect the psychology of an individual.
  • Describe the relationship between psychological stress and the physical response of the body.
  • Discuss the relationship between emotions and the physical nature of the body.
  • Discuss the relationship between consciousness and the physical nature of the body.
  • Discuss the relationship between consciousness and the physical nature of the body.

 

Examples of what you may do in this course

  • What is meant by the mind/body debate?  Briefly summarize the theories that have been used to try to understand this debate.
  • What methods of study are used in biopsychology
    What is meant by the mind/body debate?  Briefly summarize the theories that have been used to try to understand this debate.
  • What methods of study are used in biopsychology
    Explain the functioning of sensory and motor neurons.
  • Explain the functioning of the cerebellum, the hypothalamus and the thalamus.
  • Which brain structures are present in the limbic system, and what are their main functions?
  • What are neurotransmitters?  Describe how dopamine, norepinephrine & epinephrine act as neurotransmitters.
  • Briefly describe the effect of three psychoactive drugs on the CNS.
  • Explain how the autonomic nervous system works in terms of its sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions.  Why is it important to have a sympathetic nervous system? 

 

Example of Course Notes -
Excessive stress for an extended period at first will cause unpleasant feelings, but in due course, it can cause physical damage to the body, fatigue, and in extreme situations, ultimately death. Excessive stress that causes physical damage has been called dystress (by Syle). The Greek prefix “dys” means bad. Dystress literally means “bad stress”. Some stress is both inevitable, and in some respects, desirable. Dystress (or distress), however, is not desirable.

There are damaging effects to the human body caused by constant stress. Changes in the physiological processes that alter resistance to disease (e.g. blood chemistry changes) and pathological changes (e.g. organ system break down and ulcers) are both manifestations of stress. The body’s defence mechanisms may be affected both directly and indirectly (by promoting behaviours that weaken these mechanisms or that lead to exposure to pathogens).

Modern humans with their new technology, do less physical work, stimulate themselves when tired (television, food, alcohol), and eat when they are not hungry, etc. This actually goes against all natural feelings "signals from the brain". Humans are actually depriving themselves, and this is a major psychosocial cause of stress. Another psychosocial cause of stress is "adaption" overload where people are being faced by constant or rapid change whether it be social, cultural, technological, etc.

There are also biological causes of stress such as poor nutrition, and the effects of pollutants, drugs (e.g. alcohol, prescription and non‑ prescription drugs, tobacco, etc.) and loud noise on the body.

There are damaging effects to human bodies caused by such stress. These include reduced resistance to disease; pathological changes such as the development of ulcers, heart problems, etc. and emotional problems such as depression or aggressive behaviour.

It has been found that people under stress tend to drink more alcohol, eat less, exercise less, and smoke more (O’Leary, 1992) People under stress are more likely to suffer from headaches, depression, and other health problems such as sore throats, influenza and backaches (Cohen et. al., 1991).

   

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