Intro to Biological Psychology

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  • 0:55 Biopsychology
  • 1:29 Nervous System
  • 1:47 Endocrine System
  • 2:39 Neuroplasticity
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Polly Peterson
What are the biological factors that affect our behavior? In this lesson, you'll take a look at biological psychology, which looks at the interplay between biological processes and mental states.

When we think about making choices, we think about things happening in the mind: ideas that influence how we think. But, your brain, nerves and hormones also affect your behavior and how you feel. We can understand more about the human condition when we recognize how biology affects behavior.

Your brain, nerves and hormones are responsible for your thoughts, feelings and actions. When you get hungry, remember your favorite place to eat, smell food cooking and take a big bite - biological processes are involved.

Biopsychologists study the lines of communication between your brain, glands and muscles. They look at the intersection between biology and psychology, between brain activity and mental states. Think of the brain as a computer, biopsychologists are the technicians who discover how the hardware affects how smoothly the software runs.

An important contribution of biopsychology is finding biological causes of why we think, feel and act the way we do. Two biological systems that affect your behavior are your nervous system and your endocrine system. Your nervous system is an interconnected network of nerve cells (called neurons) that allow you to sense the things going on around you so you can react. Your brain tells you that you're hungry, but your nervous system tells your brain when you see food, and it even helps digest the food. Your endocrine system, meanwhile, includes your hormone-producing glands and helps your body turn the food into energy. Biopsychologists and behavioral neuroscientists study the effects of biological processes like hunger, eating and digestion.

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