Biopsychology is a hybrid discipline of biology and psychology. Both sciences study the organisms and animals including human beings. It, however, denotes biological approach to the study of psychology rather than a psychological approach to the study of biology. Some refer this field as Psychobiology, Behavioral Biology and Behavioral neuroscience.
Biopsychology is the scientific study of the biology of behavior. The behavior may be expressed overtly and covertly, i.e. responses, mental processes, experience and all other internal processes. The basic goal of the psychology is to describe, explain, predict and control behavior & experience.
There are several perspectives and approaches followed to achieve goals: Behavioristic, Psychodynamic, Humansitic, Cognitive, Biological, Evolutionary and Sociocultural.
The biological perspective of psychology—guides the psychologists for the causes of behavior in the functioning of genes, the brain, the neurons system and the endocrine system. An organism’s behavior is explained in terms of underline physical structure and biochemical processes. That way electrochemical activities within and between neurons are the causes, whereas behavior and experience are the effects.
The biological perspective in psychology is as old as psychology itself. The founding father and fore father of psychology were physiologists: Muller, Fechner, Helmholtz, Wundt.
- O. Hebb can be considered to be the founder of Biopsychology with his publication in 1949—The Organization of Behavior. He developed the comprehensive theory of how complex psychological phenomenon such as perception, emotions, thoughts and memories, might be produced by brain activity. He based his theory on experiments on human and laboratory animals, on clinical case studies, and logical arguments from his own insightful observations of daily life. This eclectic approach has become the hallmark of biopsychological inquiry.
Biopsychology is an integrative discipline. It drawn knowledge from various branches of knowledge: Physiological Psychology, Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychology, Psychophysiology and Cognitive Neuroscience.
Paradoxically, biopsychology may prove to be brain ultimate challenge, that is, studying the brain by brain itself. The behaviour itself may change the brain process and structures. For example, stress perception chronically degenerate Hippocampus and amygdala. Learning and practice may facilitate the synaptogenesis and sprouting.
The knowledge and methods of biopsychology are being applied in the treatment of neurological, psychiatric and physical diseases. It is finding usage in the forensic area. Cognitive neuroscience is creating wonders in the area of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics.
Professor of Psychology,
Faculty of Behavioral Science,
SGT University, Gurugram (Haryana)