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Lesson Three: Brain and Behavior

The Basics of Biopsychology

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Lesson Three: Brain and Behavior

Welcome to lesson three of the free Psychology 101 course! So far in this series, you have explored the fundamentals of what psychology is and how psychologists research the human mind and behavior. This lesson focuses on the biological processes that play a role in how we think, feel, react and behave.

Every year, millions of people are affected by disorders of the brain and nervous system including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, stroke and traumatic brain injuries. These illnesses and injuries highlight the importance of the biological bases for our behavior. In this week's lesson, we'll explore some of the basics of biological psychology.

Syllabus for this week:

  • What is biopsychology?
  • What is a neuron?
  • The structure of a neuron
  • The nervous and endocrine systems
  • The brain

Click the links below to read the articles and resources related to each topic in this lesson. Don't worry, there is no homework to complete! Each lesson in this course is entirely self-directed, which means that it is up to you to read and learn the materials. Good luck with today's lesson!

The Basics

The area of psychology that seeks to understand how the brain affects behavior is known as biopsychology, although you may also hear this subject referred to as psychobiology or behavioral neuroscience. Click the following link to learn more about some of the basics of biopsychology.

The Neuron

Neurons are the basic building blocks of life. These highly specialized cells are responsible for receiving and transmitting information from one part of the body to another. In this article, you'll learn more about how neurons function. Click the link to start learning more about neurons.

Neuron Anatomy

In order to better understand how a neuron works to transmit information throughout the body, it is essential to know the different parts of a neuron. Learn about the structure of a neuron and how neural signals are transmitted in this overview of neuron anatomy.

Neurotransmitters

You've seen how a cell is structured and how nerve impulses are propagated down the cell, but how does this information travel from one cell to the next? Learn more these chemical messengers that transmit signals from one cell to the next in this overview of neurotransmitters.

Communication Systems

Neurons make up only a small part of the human body's complex communication system. The nervous system is composed of two main parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Additionally, the endocrine system plays an important role in communication. Learn more about these two important systems and the impact they have on the brain, the body and behavior in this article on the nervous and endocrine systems.

The Brain

Technological advances in recent years have allowed scientists to study the human brain in ways that were not possible in the past. Learn more about the different parts of the brain and the functions that each area serves in this tour of the human brain.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations, you've reached the end of lesson three! This lesson covers just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the brain and behavior, but understanding this information establishes a solid foundation for future study. If you feel that you have fully studied the information in this lesson, then feel free to move on to lesson four. If you are still struggling to understand or remember the material in today's lesson, I recommend coming back to review the information in a few days before you continue on to the next lesson.

Are you struggling with these lessons? Be sure to check out our great selection of psychology study tips, advice on how to take good psychology notes and some excellent strategies to help you study for psychology exams.

Sign-Up for the Psychology 101 E-Course

Do you want to also receive these lessons in your email inbox? Consider subscribing to the Psychology 101 E-course. Each lesson in this free e-course will arrive via email each week. Be sure to check out the Psychology 101 e-course FAQ page to learn answers to some of the most common questions about the class.

For even more psychology articles and resources, don't forget to subscribe to the weekly About.com Psychology Newsletter!

Next: Lesson 4

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