Category Archives: Biopsychology

Articles on how emotions, thoughts and behavior are affected by the brain, the nervous system and neurotransmitters in human and non-human animals.

Psych 101 – Introduction to Psychology – Lecture 4

As we continue to explore the biological basis of human behaviour, the focus shifts to the topic of sensation. In this lecture we examine the roles of stimuli and receptors, define key terms such as absolute threshold, sensory adaptation and just noticeable difference (JND), look at detailed structures of our major sense organs and discuss the different ways in which we experience the world through our senses.

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Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Guys?

why do good girls like bad guysIt is a phenomenon that has baffled mothers, fathers and the classic “nice guys” throughout human history, but perhaps no one expresses the paradox quite as eloquently as acclaimed rapper Earl Simmons, better known to his fans as DMX – “Why do good girls like bad guys? Knowin’ that bad guys tell mad lies…”

Indeed, it is a truly profound question, one for which there is no simple answer. Nevertheless, researchers have uncovered one factor which appears to play a major role in this phenomenon – ovulation! Various studies (e.g. Gangestad, Simpson, Cousins, Garver-Apgar, & Christensen, 2004, cited in Durante, Griskevicius, Simpson, Cantu & Li, 2012; Thornhill & Gangestad, 2008, cited in Durante et al., 2012) have found that ovulating women have an increased desire for the prototypical sexy cads – men who are attractive, dominant and who live on the edge – even though these men may not be interested in a long term relationship. Continue reading

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Psych 101 – Introduction to Psychology – Lecture 3

This lecture covers the biology and physiology of the nervous system, with emphasis on the brain. The basic structure and function of the neuron is discussed, in addition to concepts such as action potentials and neuroplasticity. The presentation also highlights the major divisions of the nervous system and describes the functions of important brain structures and regions. This lecture essentially provides a brief look at the biological basis of human behaviour, and highlights the marvelous complexity and efficiency of the nervous system.

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The Human Mind: One of the Best Treatments for Cancer?

positivity aids recoveryIn recent years, the word cancer has been on almost everyone’s minds and lips. No longer is the ‘Big C’ a mysterious condition afflicting a small percentage of persons. It has become a leading cause of death worldwide and one of mankind’s biggest health fears. With the number of reported cases increasing and the death toll rising, researchers are still scampering to find a cure for this dreaded disease. Chemotherapy, radiation, herbal remedies and surgeries offer patients some measure of hope and relief. But after many grueling hours of treatment, numerous trips to the doctor’s office, and thousands of dollars spent on medication, many patients are still left battling for their lives. So what else can they do? Where else can they look? The answer might be closer than you think. In our haste to find a miracle cure for cancer, we often overlook one of the most powerful treatments for this disease – the human mind. Continue reading

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Mental Illness Linked To Increased Chronic Physical Conditions

medical checkupA study compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has found that adults who have experienced mental illness in the previous year were more likely to suffer from certain physical illnesses than those who maintained good mental health. Conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes had increased rates of occurrence in individuals who experienced mental disorders or major depressive episodes in the past year.

Of those who reported any kind of mental illness, 21.9% had high blood pressure compared to 18.3% of persons who reported no mental health problems. Asthma also increased significantly from 10.6% (with good mental health) to 15.7% (with poor mental health). Continue reading

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Split Brain Behavioral Experiments

Meet Joe. After suffering from years of epilepsy, Joe underwent brain surgery to have his corpus callosum severed. The corpus callosum, also referred to as the colossal commissure, is a thick band of 200-250 million nerve fibers at the longitudinal fissure that facilitates  interhemispheric communication in the brain. By having this band severed, Joe prevented the spread of epileptic seizure from one hemisphere to the other.

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