Login
Copyright

Psychobiology: Definition & History

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Response Latency: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Psychobiology?
  • 0:48 A Brief History
  • 2:29 The Brain & Nervous System
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ryan Hultzman
This lesson covers the definition and history of psychobiology, or the study of the way biological processes influence behavior. You will also learn some of the most important discoveries to influence psychobiology.

What Is Psychobiology?

How do the mind, the body, and the brain work together? What are the biological explanations for human behavior? These are the kind of questions that scientists who study psychobiology ask. Psychobiology, also known as biological psychology, is a sub-field of biology and psychology that deals with the interaction between the biological (things like hormones, neurotransmitters, and cells) and the social, or the way we act in our world.

Psychobiologists study the evolutionary and physiological mechanisms that are responsible for human behavior and try to understand how the brain functions in order to understand why humans behave the way we do. Psychobiologists believe that biology is largely responsible for human action and behavior.

A Brief History

Psychobiology has its earliest origins in philosophy. The study of the mind was the domain of philosophers long before scientists began to study it. The most pressing question the early philosophers asked was, 'Is the mind the same as the brain?'

At first, philosophers believed that the mind and the brain were separate, which is known as dualism. The theory of dualism suggested that the mind and the brain are made of different materials. The brain is physical matter and the mind is non-physical, or independent of the material world. However, as scientists began to study the brain in the early 19th century, the theory of monism emerged. This theory argues that the mind and the brain are the same thing.

Very early on, philosophers did not know much about how the brain works or how it might be related to behavior. However, some of the earliest scientists began to make important discoveries about the theory of monism. The experiments they conducted showed that physical processes are extremely important to understanding behavior.

The Italian scientist Camillo Golgi made an important contribution when he discovered that the substance silver nitrate would cause nerve cells to appear black, or stained, under a microscope. This allowed scientists to study cells in greater detail. Today we call these particular nerve cells neurons, and they are responsible for transmitting information from our brains.

Scientists then discovered individual components of neurons, called axons and dendrites. Axons carry electrical signals away from the body of the neuron and dendrites receive electrical signals from other cells. In other words, this is how your brain tells parts of your body what to do. When you decide to get up from a chair you're sitting in, the electrical signals sent from your brain to the nerve cells in other parts of your body are responsible for your ability to complete this action.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support