Biopsychology. Psychobiology. Physiological Psychology. Biological Psychology. All lovely words to describe a combination of biology and psychology – a science that offers insights into the workings of the human brain. Fascinating, right?
But it’s not just an interesting science combo – biopsychology plays an integral part in understanding ‘normal’ brain functioning. It offers insights into how brain diseases and injury can influence our feelings, behaviours and thoughts.
It also allows researchers and those who have done biopsychology courses to come up with new ways of treating potential health problems, including diseases like Parkinson’s, which currently affects around 40,000 Australians. It’s an exciting science, and we’re excited too – because we are now launching our Certificate of Biopsychology!
- Explore the nervous system, including external and internal stimuli.
- Gain further insights into the mind-body debate.
- Study the senses, including sensory input and perception.
- Learn about the nervous system, including neurons, and the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems.
- Discover more about the endocrine system, including the effect of hormones on behaviour and physiology.
- Explore the types of stressors and how stress affects the personality and physical body.
- Study emotions including theories, homeostasis and physiological responses like eating disorders.
- Learn about consciousness including the degrees, awareness and attention and altered states of consciousness.
- Explore advanced biopsychology concepts like evolution, genetics and experience.
- Learn about the research methods in biopsychology, including behavioural genetics and psychophysiological measures.
- Study the models of memory, Korsakoff’s syndrome and the types of amnesia.
- Examine language in terms of the brain, apraxia, diphasia and the theories of Broca and Wernicke.
- Explore brain damage in terms of the causes and types including epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Learn about brain damage recovery, including the stages and the area of neuroplasticity.
- Study the effects of drugs on the brain in terms of steroid, barbiturates and illegal drug addiction.
Why Study This Course?
The average annual psychologist salary in Australia is currently around $77,000, and the future growth of jobs in this area is considered to be very strong.
This specialty psychology course may be studied by itself or as part of a certificate or higher-level course, either as a career move or for professional development purposes. It suits:
- Health practitioners
- Health professionals
- Fitness and sports professionals
- Those working in research, teaching or health and biological science professions
History of Biopsychology
While it might seem like a relatively recent development, the roots of biopsychology date back thousands of years to the time of the early philosophers, however, it’s worth noting that it’s only in recent history that we have come to understand the location of the mind!
Philosopher Aristotle, for example, believed our thoughts and feelings arose from the heart. Greek thinkers like Hippocrates and later Plato suggested the brain was where the mind resides and that it served as the source of all thought and action. Later on, thinkers like René Descartes and Leonardo da Vinci introduced theories about how the nervous system operated. And while all of these early theories were essentially proven wrong, they did establish an important idea – that external stimulation could lead to muscle responses.
The concept that certain parts of the brain were responsible for certain functions also played an important role in the development of future brain research – like the famous case of Phineas Gage. Gage was a railroad worker who suffered a devastating brain injury – a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe. Astoundingly he lived to tell the tale and survived for another 12 years!
Cases like this had an important influence on our understanding of how damage to certain parts of the brain can impact behaviour and functioning. Since those early influences, researchers have continued to make important discoveries about how the brain works. Research on neurons, neurotransmitters, evolution and the localisation of brain function, have all advanced our understanding of how biological processes impact thoughts, emotions and behaviours.
10 Amazing Facts About The Brain
- Your brain has about 100 billion neurons – that’s about as many stars as you’d find in the Milky Way!
- Our brains continue to produce new neurons throughout our lifespan.
- While humans can’t regenerate central nervous system nerves, worms can!
- Not all brain cells are the same – there are all shapes and sizes, and different types do different jobs.
- Because of something called neuroplasticity, the brain is constantly changing in response to experience.
- Signals in your neurons can travel at the same speed as a Formula 1 car (around 360 km/h)!
- The left/right-brain dominance is a myth – no one side of the brain is used more than the other.
- The brain is the most energy-intensive part of our body, using 20 per cent of our energy even though it makes up just three per cent of our weight.
- The brain is mostly water – that’s why sometimes if you’re dehydrated you feel dizzy or light-headed.
- Your brain is hyper-efficient, running on just 20 watts of power as opposed to a computer, which needs 65 to 250 watts. So, switch off that computer and switch on your brain!