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Ch 2: Biological Bases of Behavior

About This Chapter

Are some behaviors hard-wired in our brains? Do we have a conscious choice for every action we take? Or are some responses automatic? Play this series of videos to find out answers to these questions and more.

Watch the Intro to Biological Psychology lesson to find out how your brain, nerves and hormones influence your actions and moods. Your physical self shapes your mental states, which in turn affect your behavior.

Psychology 101: Intro to Biological Psychology

If your mind is 'software,' then neurons are the hardware that you run on. This video lesson covers the basic biological unit that forms our brains and nervous systems. Neurons are nerve cells that make up your brain and also run through all parts of your body, passing messages back and forth. Knowing how they work is fundamental to understanding, physically, how we think.

Your nervous system passes messages back and forth using neurotransmitters. Many psychoactive drugs, from alcohol to the most advanced pharmaceuticals, affect the brain by changing the way neurotransmitters act. This lesson covers the basic information on how neurotransmitters function and their role in the nervous system.

Many of the great leaps forward in modern psychology were made possible by our developing understanding of the underlying structures of the nervous system. Your nervous system is made up of your brain and bundles of neurons throughout your body that are used for both perceiving and initiating action.

The core of the nervous system is the brain, but the brain is made up of many parts. This lesson covers the basic anatomy of the brain; it both gives the names for the parts and discusses their basic functions. This lesson on the parts of the brain introduces the sections and gives a few tricks for memorizing their names.

One of the most amazing things about the brain is its capacity to change, or its neuroplasticity. Similar to the way that your muscles get larger when you use them, your brain also develops from use. This video covers the ways this happens, and also the ways that the brain will work to reestablish functionality if something damages it.

The endocrine system is one of the main ways that the brain communicates with the rest of the body. The brain regulates a lot more than just our daily thoughts. It also controls such complex processes as growth, digestion and a host of others. When we understand this system, we are one step closer to seeing how marvelously complex the body is, and one step closer to understanding how we think.

7 Lessons in Chapter 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
Intro to Biological Psychology

1. Intro to Biological Psychology

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.

Neurons

2. Neurons

What are the parts of a neuron? You'll watch Neuron Garciaparra work up a sweat as he throws baseballs to demonstrate the structures and functions of the billions of neurons that reside in your body.

Neurotransmitters

3. Neurotransmitters

How do our bodies communicate with our brains and vice versa? In this video, you'll see how neurons and neurotransmitters can be likened to billions of tiny baseball players engaged in a non-stop game of catch.

Nervous System

4. Nervous System

What happens in your nervous system when you react to stimuli? Did you know that the brain is sometimes uninvolved with reflexes? Find out the answer to these questions, and more, in this lesson on the human nervous system.

Parts of the Brain

5. Parts of the Brain

Is there a way to easily remember the many parts of the brain? Don't be afraid of all these complex terms; this lesson outlines some easy and fun phrases to help you memorize the brain's anatomy. Let's take a look.

Neuroplasticity

6. Neuroplasticity

Is your brain preprogrammed and unchangeable or adaptive and malleable? As you watch this video, you'll explore how the brain, a more resilient and resourceful machine than any computer, responds to damage and new experiences.

Endocrine System

7. Endocrine System

Our hormones play a big part in how we feel and behave throughout the day. Hormones also affect important bodily functions. What other functions do our hormones regulate? Find out in this lesson on the endocrine system!

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