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General Psychology Biopsychology. Palahang H, Ph.D. The Department of Psychiatry The University of Medical Science. Biological Psychology: Core Concepts. At the individual level, Genetic Codes play a role in the unique individual characteristics

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General psychology biopsychology

General Psychology Biopsychology

Palahang H, Ph.D.

The Department of Psychiatry

The University of Medical Science


Biological psychology core concepts
Biological Psychology: Core Concepts

  • At the individual level, Genetic Codes play a role in the unique individual characteristics

  • Genotype—unique genetic code inherited by the individual from biological parents


Biological psychology core concepts1
Biological Psychology: Core Concepts

  • Phenotype—expression of the genotype in physical and psychological characteristics

    • Impacted by biological and environmental forces

      • Biological forces: disease, toxins, injury

      • Environmental forces: access to health care, access to stimulation from the environment


The individual chromosomes genes and inherited dna
The Individual: Chromosomes, Genes, and Inherited DNA

  • Why are some people shorter than others?

  • Why are some children born with Down’s syndrome?


The individual chromosomes genes and inherited dna1
The Individual: Chromosomes, Genes, and Inherited DNA

  • Chromosomes—

    • the structure that carries the genetic material (DNA)

    • 23 pairs— half contributed by the biological mother and half by the biological father

  • Chromosomes are made up of genes—with specific DNA codes.

    • Each gene is responsible for some characteristic of the organism


The individual chromosomes genes and inherited dna2
The Individual: Chromosomes, Genes, and Inherited DNA

  • One pair of chromosomes determines our biological sex

    • The biological mother contributes the X

    • The biological father contributes either another X or a Y chromosome.

      • XX= female (more female fetuses survive than males)

      • XY=male


The individual chromosomes genes and inherited dna3
The Individual: Chromosomes, Genes, and Inherited DNA

  • Relationship between genotype and characteristics and behaviors is complex;

    • Inheriting a genotype linked to some psychopathology does not mean individuals will experience that pathology (e.g. schizophrenia).

    • Impact of the pathology is frequently minimized by alterations in the environment (e.g. corrective lenses).




Brain structures and functions
Brain Structures and Functions

  • Brain stem

    • First to evolve

    • Life-sustaining systems: breathing, pulse rate

    • Similar to brains of reptiles

  • Cerebellum

    • Coordination of “automatic” movements (walking, dancing)

    • Processing other temporal stimuli (e.g. music)


Brain structures and functions1
Brain Structures and Functions

Limbic system

  • Emotion, memories, desires

  • Functions to help us remember highly emotional experiences

  • Contains the hypothalamus—control center for many functions

  • Cerebral cortex

    • Last to evolve

    • Linked to higher mental processes

    • Different areas or “lobes” control different functions



  • Frontal lobe
    Frontal Lobe

    • “Executive functions”—Planning, controlling, recognize future outcomes from current actions etc.,

    • Broca’s area of the frontal lobe—production of complex language

    • Motor functions—controls voluntary muscle groups

    • Alcohol likely decreases the functioning of this part of the brain related to impulse control (Amen, 1999)


    Parietal lobe
    Parietal Lobe

    • Receives input from senses

    • Distributes sensory information to other parts of the brain

    • Supports selective attention to particular sensory information

    • With parietal lobe damage, attention may be disrupted (Vecera & Flevaris, 2004)


    Occipital lobe
    Occipital Lobe

    • Visual information—color, brightness, motion, etc.,

    • Specialized areas for human face recognition


    Temporal lobe
    Temporal Lobe

    • Left temporal lobe (Werneke’s area) language comprehension, naming, etc.

    • Auditory sense is processed


    Peripheral nervous system
    Peripheral Nervous System

    • Somatic Nervous System—links with senses and voluntary muscles

      • Sensory NervousSystem—brings information FROM the senses to the central nervous system

      • Motor NervousSystem—carries information from the central nervous system TO the muscles for action


    Peripheral nervous system1
    Peripheral Nervous System

    • Autonomic Nervous System—links internal glands and organs

      • Sympathetic Division—arouses our systems when the need arises (e.g. anxiety producing stimulus, sexual arousal)

      • Parasympathetic Division—inhibits our systems or reduces the arousal


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